Today, HRC Global released a Global Spotlight on Egypt highlighting the persecution and harassment of LGBTQ people in Egypt by both the state and society.
The overall situation facing LGBTQ Egyptians today is grim as social, cultural, political and religious attitudes towards them are uniformly hostile. Successive governments and the media have hounded LGBTQ people since the early 2000’s during the regime of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak.
While there was a brief lull in persecution between 2011 and 2013 during the Arab Spring and its immediate aftermath, the persecution has resumed with renewed ferocity under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who seized power in a July 2013 military coup. LGBTQ Egyptians have been hunted down by the regime as part of an ongoing wider crackdown by Egyptian authorities on civil society activists and organizations.
This report was released to mark the two-year anniversary of the infamous raid on a downtown Cairo hammam, or bathhouse, where television journalist Mona Iraqi photographed and filmed half naked men as police arrested them.
Iraqi posted an incendiary Facebook post shortly after the raid in which she labeled the bathhouse as the “biggest den for group perversion” and a “den for spreading AIDS in Egypt.” Twenty-six men were slapped with “debauchery” charges by the government before eventually being acquitted in January 2015. Iraqi faced sharp criticism from Egyptian activists and international observers for her involvement in the raid.
This Spotlight is the fourth in a series of articles that have drawn attention to a variety of issues affecting LGBTQ people around the world. The three previous Spotlights were on China, Uganda and Brazil. HRC is committed to supporting LGBTQ activists in Egypt and elsewhere. Read more about our work here.