Last week, a 22 year-old gay Egyptian Moroccan medical intern who blogs anonymously under the name Ice Queer gave an interview to the excellent website Gay Middle East. This week, Michelangelo Signorile interviewed him using a vocal scrambler to help protect his identity. It turns out that on normal days, when hundreds of thousands of people aren't demanding freedom, Tahrir Square is a somewhat skeezy gay cruising area -- not sure if Anderson Cooper mentioned that. Some highlights of Dan Littauer's Q&A:
GME: Can you be out and gay in Egypt?
IQ: It depends on your personality, your social class, your friends and your family. For me, I'm openly gay to my parents and all of my close straight friends.
GME: How do people meet each other?
IQ: Mostly through dating website on the internet but you can also meet guys in private house gay parties and gatherings.
GME: Tell us about the legal situation… We understand that although there are no direct laws prohibiting same sex acts, we understand that other laws are enacted, like Public Order & Public Morals (as in the infamous case of Cairo52), and quite a few cases of people arrested through speaking with agents on chat rooms and gay dating websites… Can you elaborate on that?
IQ: Exactly, there is no direct laws prohibiting same sex acts or relationship but they usually affiliate it with Debauchery, Public Morals & Order.
The thing is that most of policemen play around a lot with words and the bugs in Egyptian law, they usually trap suspects by using words like debauchery when they ask them whether they practice same-sex sex or not, so they make suspects admit that they practice "debauchery" even though the suspect may only meant that he practice same-sex sex.
Also the emergency law gives the ability to policemen to check ur apartment without a warranty if they wanted.
GME: Any specific changes, relating to these two issues mentioned above, that Egyptian lesbian, gay, and transgender people hoping to see?
IQ: We're hoping that Egypt would become a real Secular country one day, that's when people learn to accept their differences then they would start accept people who r sexually different than they are.
(Illustration from Ice Queer's FB page.)