Egyptian LGBT activists to occupy Tahrir Square on January 1
 

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posted Friday, November 18, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 46

Egyptian LGBT activists to occupy Tahrir Square on January 1
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Global Voices website reports that a Facebook page has been set up calling on LGBT Egyptians to occupy Tahrir Square on January 1.

Global Voices is a collective project of more than 500 bloggers and translators who publish online reports from around the world, 'with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media,' their website says.

Tahrir Square, adjoining the Egyptian Museum and the Arab League headquarters in central Cairo, was the focal point of the revolution that toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

'We are a group of Gay Egyptian youth,' one Facebook post says.

'We were in Tahrir and we took part in the revolution. We see that each of us has the right to have a life of respect in public. We are part of Egypt's revolution and we won't allow anyone to question our loyalty.'

According to Global Voices, hundreds of Egyptians have posted comments on the page.

Not all of them are friendly to Egypt's LGBT community. Many are 'homophobic comments, murder threats, and & Quran verses that show how Islam forbids homosexuality and defines it as a major sin,' Global Voices says.

In one status update, the page administrator posted a message that he or she received from a Gay Egyptian man, who was afraid to post it himself after he saw the insults and threats filling the page's wall.

'What's the harm if two people from the same sex somewhere in this world are hugging each other?' he asks.

'How did I harm you? Did I take something that is yours? Did I eat your food? What? I am a human who feels, loves, hates, gets angry, forgives, and feels happy!'

Many others added comments as well.

'We have the right to come out in society and to protect ourselves and protect our society from oppressing homosexuals because a society that doesn't accept the other is a sick one,' one said.

'To those who are shocked of how many of us exist in Egypt: we have lived with you for a long time but you forced us to live hiding,' another wrote.

'Stop your terror attempts; we do not allow you to question our patriotism.'

The Facebook page also provoked a spate of Twitter exchanges on LGBT rights.

In one tweet, activist Mostafa Hussein (@moftasa) sarcastically condemned threats against Gay people.

'What's the story of those who want to kill the homosexuals?' he asks.

'It is as if we need to shed more blood? So when you go to kill a homosexual and he defends himself by killing you, what will we call you? The 'anus martyr'?'

The activists behind the Facebook page have so far declined interviews with journalists, Global Voices says.

'We apologize to all journalists for not responding to them,' the page administrator wrote.

'We think if media talks about this, there will be a big fuss which might lead to the failure of the national Gay day we are planning. It will also make some national personages and intellectuals change their minds about attending the day after giving us their approval. We see it's better if the event gets covered at the time it takes place and we will invite media to be there then.'



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