Thanks to a campaign by the local LGBTI community, the Cook Islands will allow Rocketman to screen there.
Neighbouring South Pacific Island country Samoa recently banned the Elton John biopic. Egypt also banned the film, while Russia heavily censored scenes featuring gay sex.
But after hearing rumors the Cook Islands’s Chief Censor might follow suit, the LGBTI community mobilized into action.
The Te Tiare Association (TTA) a LGBTI advocacy group, led a campaign to allow Rocketman to screen.
TTA’s president, Regina Potini, told Gay Star News screening Rocketman was important for young LGBTI people to see their stories on screen, but also to help their fight to decriminalize homosexuality in the Cook Islands.
‘I myself have not seen the movie, but I’ll definitely make the effort to do so,’ Potini said.
‘I’ve read reviews on this film, it is a very sad, uplifting and extremely educational movement for all LGBTQ+ youth or the community on how important life is in general, and also for the community to take it seriously that LGBTQ+ lives do matter
‘This is very important that we seek for the community’s to support our submission of decriminalization of the gay Act here in the Cook Islands.’
The chief censor had not explicitly said it planned to ban Rocketman. But TTA reached out saying a ban would be unconstitutional.
‘It is the opinion of Te Tiare that a prohibition of this film/work of art will impinge on this Fundamental Right guaranteed under the Cook Islands Constitution,’ the TTA wrote in its letter to the censor.
Potini said he felt relieved when the chief censor confirmed it gave Rocketman the green light – and an R rating.
‘I was happy when I received the formal letter of approval, I know the public now is very much interested in watching this film,’ he said.
Cook Islands is a tiny nation made up of 15 islands and a population of 21,000 people. It’s main religious faith is Christianity and the country is currently looking overhaul it’s outdated crime laws.
The LGBTI community is vigorously campaigning to overturn the laws banning homosexuality in the overhaul.