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Digital Subscriptions > Curve > SUMMER 2019 > FORBIDDEN LOVE

FORBIDDEN LOVE

The lesbians of Brunei struggle under Sharia law.

Chloe Govan

In Brunei, celebrating Christmas is considered a more serious offence than sex traficking. The truth about lesbian life in this country is that you could be sentenced to death, depending on who you choose to love.

A woman collapses to the ground, blood seeping out of her lacerated wounds and soaking through her clothing.

A baying crowd gathers around to witness her public punishment, holding up their phones with glee to video her in excruciating pain. When the attack is over, she is dragged by the wrist to a damp, dirty prison cell that could be her home for the next 10 years. Her only crime? Falling in love with another woman.

It might seem like a sadistic scene from a horror movie, but this medieval deterrent is potentially a real-life consequence for a woman daring to make her lesbian identity public in the sultanate of Brunei. Plus, if rumors are to be believed, the maximum sentence for females could eventually be upgraded to the death penalty.

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About Curve

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, but it also marks the anniversary of something else: almost 30 years of publishing Curve magazine. I couldn’t be prouder to be the editor-in-chief of the world’s best-known lesbian magazine, but the person who needs to take the credit for Curve’s very existence is Frances “Franco” Stevens. I’m very excited to share with readers the news that a new documentary is being made about Franco and her dream to run a lesbian magazine that would reflect our community in all its truth and diversity. I’m also happy to report that I met with the film’s director and producer (Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow) and they got me on camera to tell my story of what the magazine means to me; I am but one of many women featured in this film, and there are countless more whose lives have been enriched by Franco’s vision. I’ll be doing everything I can to support this project, which is titled Ahead of the Curve. Maybe you’d like to contribute, too. If you feel like chipping in a few dollars on Kickstarter or even just supporting the project on social media—follow #CurveMagMovie and #AheadOfTheCurve. This documentary is made by an entirely female-identified crew dedicated to lesbian visibility, one of our most powerful tools to combat discrimination. So in the spirit of lesbian trailblazers like Franco, Happy Stonewall 50, and Happy WorldPride!