‘Violates public decency’
‘Insulting public morals’
Listed above are various phrases used to describe a video that went viral of an alleged same-sex marriage on the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt. Eight men have been sentenced to three years in jail and possible probation once the sentence has been completed. Check out the video here, which displays two men briefly kissing, a ring exchange, and a celebratory eruption from the crowd.
Although gay-marriage is illegal in Egypt, homosexuality is not explicitly prohibited. Therefore, homosexual acts are charged as decency charges and not “homosexuality charges”. According to Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew, the new President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a main force behind the crackdown against homosexuals. President Sisi, who is ex-military, was elected last year. In the various articles I found of homosexuals arrested for their sexuality, I only found articles pertaining to men. I wonder if homosexual men are being sought after more by authorities than women?
To broaden the search, Egyptian authorities and cops have started going undercover. They do so by using social media and apps such as Grindr, which is specifically designed for men seeking other men. Once men are “caught” and detained for ‘violating public decency’ or a charge similar to this, they are required to take a forensic anal examination. This test supposedly proves if they have had sex with another man or not.
Seven of the eight men arrested were tested and passed the anal test. The eighth man did not show up. Even though they passed the test they were still sentenced to three years in prison. Why should the men participate in an anal test if the prosecutor is still going to sentence them, even if they pass? On top of that, if this video really does show a wedding, only two of them were married. Why are all eight being prosecuted?
There are serious implications that will stem from the strict homosexual tolerance that Egyptian authorities are practicing. First off, homosexuals in prison will be physically beaten and treated poorly. Secondly, these individuals may become social pariahs and disowned by their families. They may also lose their jobs. Lastly, since homosexuality is socially unacceptable, HIV testing will not be a priority or option. Therefore, HIV will continuously be spread unconsciously and without treatment.
Hearing about these eight individuals sentenced for expressing their love breaks my heart. I find these types of charges to be biased, inadequately supported, and an attack on these individual’s human rights.