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Egypt’s fading LGBT movement

Revolutionary optimism retreats as Islamic parties take power.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

13th November 2013 07:38

Alessia Valenza

Muslim Brotherhood leaders have become hesitant to speak directly about LGBT issues in recent months along with the rest of Egyptian society. But Mohammed Badie, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, made his views on LGBT issues clear last year. According to an article in Africa Online, he said, "The West has allowed gay marriage under the pretext of democracy, which we will never allow in Egypt. And we will not allow under the pretext of national unity that a Muslim woman would get married to a Christian man which violates the Islamic law.”

This kind of populist political rhetoric directed against gays might be the reason a sense of caution now pervades Cairo that was absent in the revolution’s early days. Some activists who had been vocal on LGBT rights would not meet for interviews. It seemed that a window was perhaps closing on the immediate openness about LGBT issues in the early days of the revolution now overwhelmed by general chaos in the country.
But one man, a 30-year-old English language teacher, remained defiantly open about his sexuality.

“I’m out and I don’t give a shit,” he said during an interview that took place on a boathouse in the middle of the Nile at a going away party for a gay American leaving Cairo. But after appearing in this GlobalPost article and making it widely known that he is gay, the man was fired from his job and felt compelled to leave Cairo and apply for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). [Editor’s note: His name has been removed to prevent further repercussions.]

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