Gay Pride for Egypt?
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‘.