‘Inxeba’ banned because gay sex will cause “tension in society”

The Film & Publication Board Appeals Tribunal (FPBAT) has confirmed that homophobia is behind why it gave Inxeba (The Wound) an adult-only rating, effectively banning it.

On Friday, the tribunal finally released the justifications for its decision last week to change the film’s original rating of 16LS to X18 (usually reserved for pornographic material), outraging the LGBTQ community.

Shockingly, despite Inxeba being one of the most internationally acclaimed and awarded South African films ever produced, the tribunal said it did not find any “artistic value throughout the film”.

The tribunal’s decision followed an appeal by Contralesa Gauteng and The Man and Boy Foundation who claimed that the film is an attack on Xhosa culture through its depiction of sacred initiation circumcision ceremonies and the inclusion of sexual activity in this context.

In the document, the FPBAT also confirmed that among its primary objections was that the film included gay sex scenes.

Despite these scenes being tamer than heterosexual ones in many other films that did not receive X18 ratings, the tribunal declared that they were “explicit” and “harmful, distressing and pre-exposing the 16 year old child… to adult experiences”.

Absurdly, it went on to argue that one anal sex scene that is included in the film (which is not explicit) could “increase tensions in society” and therefore should not be shown.

Other elements that were objectionable to the tribunal were that:

  • The act of intercourse is performed by the same adults that the initiates are entrusted to by their parents and society at a venue regarded as sacred by the tradition.
  • The use of a single tool to circumcise all the initiates by the caregivers undermines the work that the government has/is doing in the initiation space by regulating healthy practices.
  • The deliberate omission of condom use by the caregivers during a heated intercourse has an adverse effect on the minor viewers. Children learn by imitating.

“Children of 16 year may know what is right and what is wrong yet that does not exonerate them from imitation,” said the tribunal. “It is also the responsibility of the FPB to protect them still from exposure to adult experience prematurely.”

The tribunal decided that, “The cumulative impact of the themes in the film are too strong and the sexual related activities do not justify a rating of 16LS.”

It therefore ordered that, “The film Inxeba is assigned a classification X18″ and “is removed from public circulation with immediate effect”.

The implication of the document is that homosexual sex is far more offensive, disturbing and harmful to 16-year-olds than heterosexual sex and is pornographic by its very nature.

The Film & Publication Board (FPB) has insisted that the Appeals Tribunal is an independent body over which it has no control.

In a tweet, it said that it is studying the tribunal’s decision. “A meeting of the FPB Council is scheduled to sit on Monday 26 February 2018 to deliberate on this matter. A formal statement articulating the position of the FPB Council will be released after that meeting.”

Mambaonline has called for the Appeals Tribunal to resign over the unconstitutional abuse of its powers.

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