Homosexuality is highly taboo in Egypt among Muslims and minority Christians alike
Homosexuality is highly taboo in Egypt among Muslims and minority Christians alike, but it is not explicitly prohibited by law.
Egypt regularly arrests gay men, with large police raids on private parties or locations such as public baths, restaurants and bars. In practice, they prosecute individuals under such charges as “immorality” and “debauchery.”
Most Egyptians see homosexuality as a practice that goes against nature and religion and insist that it’s a social disease exported by a decadent West. At home, most homosexuals keep their sexual orientation a secret known only to close friends, fearing social stigma.
Local fiction and films with homosexual characters are rare and typically accompanied by their share of controversy. Scenes involving sex or displays of affection between same-sex couples in foreign movies are censored.
The media, particularly celebrity hosts of TV talk shows, routinely feed on stories about the arrest of homosexuals, taking the high moral ground and inciting authorities to do more to “cleanse” the streets.
Egypt should stop devoting state resources to hunting down people for their sexual orientation and instead focus on improving its rights record, said Human Rights Watch, alluding to the ongoing crackdown by authorities on Islamists and secular pro-democracy activists while slapping draconian restrictions on street demonstrations and freedom of speech.
“Whether they were waving a rainbow flag, chatting on a dating app, or minding their own business in the streets, all these debauchery arrest victims should be immediately released,” Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson said.
“The Egyptian government, by rounding people up based on their presumed sexual orientation, is showing flagrant disregard for their rights.”