Gay Tunisian in France Fears Being Deported to a Hostile Country


According to Tętu, a Tunisian man is at risk of being deported from France, despite his civil partnership with a Frenchman.

24 year old Ashraf met Olivier in 2009 and they got a civil partnership last summer (France’s parliament rejected a gay marriage bill in July).

He arrived on a student visa in 2007 but when the visa expired, he became undocumented, which appears to be the reason why his residency claim has not yet been accepted.

Ashraf says:

“I wanted to escape Tunisia, land of my childhood. The country where my family, once my homosexuality was revealed, chose to cut all relations with me. To abandon me. The same country where intimidation and violence made my life unbearable. The same country where four bearded men tried one night to make me give up my sexual orientation, holding a knife to my throat.”

For a young gay North African, France is a “homo Eldorado” he says, as seen on television and on the Internet: “I just came for a normal life in France …”

But there is a vast distance between his naive dream and reality. His lawyer points out that even though he is in a recognized relationship with a Frenchmen there is no automatic right for him to stay. But because he is in a civil partnership, this would put him at risk if returned to his home country.

In Tunisia homosexuality is punishable with three years imprisonment. The victory of an Islamist party in Tunisia’s elections has left Ashraf ‘every day, scared,’ afraid that he will be stopped for an identity check, then forcibly returned to Tunisia.

Writing of the rise of the Islamists, Tarek, Tunisia Editor of the Gay Middle East website, said that although Islamists are telling the international media one thing — we won’t touch the gays — the reality on the ground is very different.

“LGBT people’s suffering in Tunisia started a long time before the election but I fear its results may make things worse,” he wrote.

Tarek and others have reported that Tunisian gays have gone even further underground as increasingly confident Islamists strong arm others into their way of life.


Related stories:

Americans Should Know About Muslim Debate on Sexuality

Tunisian Islamists Offer Reassurance to Gays, Women, Drinkers

Gay Marriage in Germany and France?


Photo of Ashraf and Olivier from Tętu


Scott L.
Scott L.4 years ago


I have no idea what you mean by "following" you. It's a public website, on an Internet which is still largely public. Since you offer gratuitous comments about my sex life below, apparently on the presumption that you know something about it and that it's relevant here, one might well ask who's stalking whom.

Since the story on Ashraf's case originated with Tetu, not Gay Middle East, nothing I say about Gay Middle East can be taken as referring to it. As for "Tarek," given Gay Middle East's record of deception, I think the question of whether he exists, or whether he's quoted correctly, can be assumed to be an open one.

The point is, if you want to describe the Tunisian situation, you might try looking for a more reliable source. One option would be to communicate with queer Tunisians directly. There are people I'm in pretty steady touch with, and there's no reason you couldn't be too. It's far better than recycling second-hand rumors from a website that serious activists in the region have denounced as tainted.

John Duqesa
Past Member 4 years ago

Yes. I'd already read that, as well as some articles on EI and elsewhere about the same question. It seems a thorough piece of research and substantiates my unease when people use this tainted source.

Scott L.
Scott L.4 years ago

My apologies: the link for the Middle Eastern activists' statement is

John Duqesa
Past Member 4 years ago

Paul C

I have given you a detailed response in a personal message which was in reply to your personal message to me.

Is Ashraf "real", you say. More evidence of sloppy thinking and English. What on earth do you mean? Do you mean "does he exist"? Do you mean "did he say what he is reported as having said"? Do you mean "is what he allegedly said true"?

As for Tarek, I have already answered.

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Paul canning
Paul canning4 years ago

@Scott L.

Why are you following me onto care2 and questioning - I assume - whether the Tunisian I quote is real?

Never mind the platform. Is he real or is he not real?

That is the point.

If I quoted any other source would you be here talking about them? Of course not.

So you want to silence this Tunisian's voice in what is obviously some sort of war between you and GME? Is that why you are here? On what basis?

If this gay Tunisian has issues tell me about that - not about his platform. Question what he says, not where.

Same goes for you John R. Are you calling Tarek a liar?

Scott L.
Scott L.4 years ago

Alas, Paul is getting all mixed up about the facts again. It's easy: there are so many troublesome facts out there, and math, as we all know from Barbie, is hard.

The web page Paul claims is a "response" to the serious charges against isn't one at all. You can tell this from those odd little things called "dates." It was published on June 19. On June 23, which is four days *later* -- you can check this with a simple thing called a "calendar," Paul -- most of the major LGBT activists in the Middle East released a statement documenting GME's lies, and asking for an explanation. You can find this statement, and that thing called a "date" at the top, at It makes interesting reading for those who care about the ethics and politics of international activism.

Gay Middle East has never responded to that statement, because they can't: it's true. The website basically shut down after that, in appropriate shame, but still revives occasionally to serve folks like Paul with misinformation.

The world ain't all black and white, but facts tend to be either true or false, with only a limited gray area in between. I can tell you which side of that divide Gay Middle East falls on, as can most people working seriously on sexuality issues in the region. It's a pity Paul doesn't listen to those folks, and doesn't care.

Paul canning
Paul canning4 years ago

So, I am followed around, like by a puppy, by @Scott L. I am flattered Scott, believe me, but then I know in my heart of hearts, and also by reputation, that I am definitely not your type ... y'know? Opposites attract? Sadly not in this case ..

Here's, for the record (ahem) is the rebuttal to his comment

@John D. you may grow to learn that life is not always as B+w as peeps like @Scott L.have led you to believe it is.

Scott L.
Scott L.4 years ago

Paul Canning has this peculiar way of getting *extremely* defensive whenever anybody calls ths highly tainted website Gay Middle East to account. But here are the facts about the website:
a) They lied repeatedly about the fact that the website was founded in Israel, and that its chief editor was an Israeli citizen, until research by LGBT activists in the region finally proved it. (See, for instance,
b) They lied not only to their readers but, much more importantly, to the LGBT people in Arab/Muslim countries whom they enlisted to serve as "editors" and "correspondens" -- to none of whom they were forthright about their provenance.
c) In doing so, they deliberately put the dedicated folks who worked with them in deep danger. As anybody who knows the region is aware, passing information to Israelis can get you charged with espionage in most countries -- including Egypt, which has formally had a peace with Israel for 30 years. Being gay and passing information to Israel is a double whammy. I've tried to document this simple fact to Paul with any number of examples, and he blindly ignores it.
Blind is the operant word. Gay Middle East lied to, and endangered, the people it claimed to "give voice to" and defend. It has no credibility among activists in the region, and should simply be ignored by people outside it. And folks like Paul who continue to defend it are themselves indifferent to the safety of

John Duqesa
Past Member 4 years ago


It appears you are incapable of reading the plain English of my posts and then responding to them in an appropriate manner. Instead, you prefer to put words in my mouth that I haven't said and make false assertions about my position and comments. Do try to keep up, don't be sloppy, just address what I actually said, not what you wanted me to have said. Then we might be able to have meaningful communication.