Gay liberation in post-Mubarak Egypt

Nice article by Ernesto Londono in the Washington Post about the awakening of gay liberation in Egypt:

On Jan. 25, the day the demonstrations began, Bidak remembers spotting a large group of young gay men with tweaked eyebrows, shiny lip gloss and skinny jeans among the protesters. The next time she saw them, on Jan. 28, the day security forces cracked down most violently on the revolt, the men had ditched the glam and braced for battle, carrying vinegar and onions to make the sting of tear gas bearable.

“I think being queer played a huge part,” she said about their motivation to protest. “It was useful for us to be visible and prove that we’re here, that we’re human beings, that we do exist. You can see us.”

In a narrow downtown Cairo street lined with cafes with outdoor seating, the owner of an establishment frequented by young gay men recently called the army to complain about how ostentatious his clientele had become. After gay patrons balked at paying a new $12 cover charge — which they interpreted as discriminatory — soldiers moved in to try to eject them, said Gehad, the activist, who witnessed the scene.

Female friends sitting with the gay men formed a protective circle around them.

“The girls surrounded the queers and said: ‘If you want to take them, you need to attack us first,’­ ” he said.

The soldiers walked away. The cover charge was never brought up again.


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