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[Perspectives] A transgender love story in the shadows of Uganda

In 2014, 27-year-old Cleopatra Kambugu had her picture and personal information printed on the front page of the Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper in an exposé about LGBTQI people living in the country. Cleo, Uganda’s first transgender woman to openly transition, was forced into hiding to avoid attacks and possible arrest. She lost her job and was abandoned by friends and family who feared for their safety. A year earlier, Swedish film-maker Johnny von Wallström had started to document Cleo’s life. The Pearl of Africa is a radical love story about Cleo and her fiancé Nelson Kasaija, living and loving in one of the most transphobic places in the world.