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Gay Pride for Egypt?

Gay Pride for Egypt?

A group in Egypt established a Facebook page calling for a ‘National Gay Day’ on January 1. The page called for LGBT people to gather in Cairo’s famous Tahrir Square on that day.

It said:

We are a group of gay Egyptian youth. We were in Tahrir and we took part in the revolution. We see that each of us has the right to have a life of respect in public. We are part of Egypt’s revolution and we won’t allow anyone to question our loyalty.

We have the right to come out in society and to protect ourselves and protect our society from oppressing homosexuals because a society that doesn’t accept the other is a sick one.

The group also posted a YouTube video which plays a written message from a gay Egyptian who says that he is just another citizen who contributes to the society and respects all, and expects to be treated the same in his own country.

The page quickly attracted wider attention and a series of derogatory comments (as well as some support).

On Twitter one user posted:

@MiSrBtfHam: I demand you all to report this page. Freedom doesn’t mean homosexuals rule the revolution. Those who will defend them should burn.

To these, the Page’s admin responded:

To those who are shocked of how many of us exist in Egypt: we have lived with you for a long time but you forced us to live hiding. Stop you terror attempts; we do not allow you to question our patriotism.

Gay Egyptian blogger Nilesby wrote:

Is this national day of gays in Egypt a good idea? Is shocking people this way going to support our cause, or harm it? Is the time ever ‘right’? I think that there is never a good time for anything, so do not respond to me saying it is not the time for it. But I do think there are times that are more appropriate than others. There are also ways more appropriate than others. How to measure this ‘appropriateness’? I have no idea.

One of my dearest tweeps drew a very suitable comparison. Remember the march in Tahrir square for International Women’s Day last March? Women, who are mothers, sisters, daughters, breadwinners and much much more, were harassed mercilessly during this march. If women received that kind of harassment, I do not want to imagine what a National Day for Homosexuals will be like. But I do know that, just because the women and women rights supporters were harassed, does not mean one should stop protesting or fighting for their rights.

Guardian journalist Brian Whittaker is cautious on his blog, writing:

Without non-LGBT support there’s a danger of being isolated and crushed – and it’s doubtful whether such support exists in Egypt.

A few years ago, when working on Unspeakable Love, my book about gay and lesbian life in the Middle East, I asked an Egyptian activist: “If the was one thing you could do that would make the biggest difference for gay people in Egypt, what would it be?”

His answer surprised me: “I would sort out the psychiatrists.”

He went on to explain that there is no psychiatrist in Egypt who is willing to stand up and say in public that homosexuality is not an illness. Many of them also treat it as such and even claim to “cure” it.

It does seem to me that tackling practical issues such as this this could be one of the keys. If a few respected medical professionals in Egypt can be persuaded to refute the “illness” idea, then attitudes among the public will begin to change and we shall start to see some progress.

As of the time of writing, the Facebook page has disappeared. However, another is still live. This one is called ‘A Gay Pride March for Egypt in 2020‘.

 

Related stories:

Egypt: Plight of Bloggers Continues at Military Courts

Tahrir Vets Encourage OWS: Care2 Members Respond

Free Egyptian Blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah

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19 comments

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4:53AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

Donna is probably right.

4:53AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

A revolution?

1:58PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

I have never been optimistic that Egypt will emerge from this Arab Burp any closer to democracy and rights, except for the right to do as the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Sharia and commands people to do. I suspect strongly that the MB will be significantly worse than Mubarak ever was.

Having said that I still WISH and HOPE for Egypt to become a democracy and grant rights to its women (who by the way have a 90% FGM rate, the 10% not being mutilated likely coming from the Christian Copt community), LGBTs, Muslim apostates and its Christians..

I am glad to see these gay Egyptians stand proudly for their rights in their online communications. I hope that they are protected from harm. If they try to come out under the Muslim Brotherhood sharia rule, these gays will suffer greatly as many other gays do in Muslim countries, often losing their lives by savage beatings, hangings and being buried and crushed by a wall of stones.

It will be a veritable SHOCKER if the highly funded and organized Muslim Brotherhood loses the election. In a sense, we are all in for darker days if they win. Perhaps having tasted a bit of freedom and openness during the protests, gays, women and Christians will feel encouraged and be able to get the support of those who first protested in Tahrir Square, when the Muslim Brotherhood strategically veered clear. We can certainly hope.


4:44AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Egypt has made a valiant leap.....out of the frying pan into the fire. It is not headed for a "stable democracy", but totalitarian rule by Islamic fundamentalists. So the future is likely to be more oppressive than the past. Aren't we seeing it already?

I will keep these brave Egyptian LGBT people in my prayers, as I do the Copts. I shudder to think what the death toll will be at and after this event. People will no doubt lose their lives that day, and once they come out by attending the event, others are open to being honor killed by their own families, or arrested and punished for being gay.

Mohammed was clear, and all Islamic sects agree, that gays should be executed. They don't all agree on how. I have to believe there are some decent individuals in Islam who see that is wrong or crazy, but they would be insane to speak out. To criticize anything the prophet said means a death sentence. The ideology of Islam is incredibly intolerant, lets hope enough individual Muslims are brave enough to do what's right despite the dangers.

May G-d bless the Egyptian LGBTs and keep them safe.

2:12AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Thanks.

5:54AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

I think the major barrier between acceptance of all people regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, nationality, and social position is the terrorist called RELIGION! Love is love, people are people; religion destroys EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. We are one human family. We will never be more or less than each other. There are many levels of human growth and development that cause us to act differently but no one deserves less human rights than another. We must all face responsibility for our actions and offer the gifts we brought to the earth as a way to make it a better place. The sooner all cultures realize this truth, the more peaceful our planet will be. Respect for all life is important!

5:49AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

I think the major barrier between acceptance of all people regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, nationality, and social position is the terrorist called RELIGION! Love is love, people are people; religion destroys EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. We are one human family. We will never be more or less than each other. There are many levels of human growth and development that cause us to act differently but no one deserves less human rights than another. We must all face responsibility for our actions and offer the gifts we brought to the earth as a way to make it a better place. The sooner all cultures realize this truth, the more peaceful our planet will be. Respect for all life is important!

1:29AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Impressed!

3:12PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

All that suffering to get rid of Mubarak and now the Islamists have taken over Egypt. I wish the very best for the LGBT community of Egypt and that every Egyptian will get their freedom.

7:27AM PST on Nov 19, 2011

Wow! Scary. Very brave people & deserving of as much respect as anyone else. Why is it that religion gets so many special rights & such reverence when it is religion that is the source of so much discrimination & hate, especially against gay people & women? Islam is the worst as it commands the killing of LGBT people, among others, & 10 Islamic majority countries oblige - the rest just persecute & imprison them.

All the best to these oppressed & persecuted people. But then, the Coptic Christians are being ethnically cleansed, burned out, churches destroyed & they are being driven out of Egypt by the Islamist fanatics. What hope then do the LGBT people have if they come out in public if the Copts were beaten & murdered when they held a peaceful rally protesting their persecutions & deaths at the hands of the Islamists?

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