Tahrir Square
2 min

Cruising for gay sex and democracy in Tahrir Square

A 22-year-old gay Egyptian says democratic reform is the first step to making his country more accepting of homosexuality. 

"I believe that Egypt’s LGBT community can only have its rights when Egypt becomes a real secular country,” says “IceQueer,” a Cairo blogger, in an interview with Dan Littauer on gaymiddleeast.com.

(via Flickr user nebedaay)

In the interview, IceQueer reveals that, contrary to Western reports that lump together all Arabs as barbarically homophobic, there are varied opinions in his country:

It’s diverse and it’s like most LGBT communities around the world; you’ve got all kinds of social and culture differences, from deeply conservative to utterly liberal.

Last week IceQueer, who doesn’t consider himself an activist, joined the demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

It felt amazingly peaceful and cheerful. I loved how diverse yet finally united Egypt is! I was holding a sign saying “secular” in Arabic, English and French, and also my friends (straight, gay, girls, Christian and Muslims) were holding similar signs and we all were chanting that this protest is for the people and not for any party or religion. Everything was really beautiful and looked like a European carnival!

Before the Egyptian government pulled the plug on the country’s internet, IceQueer was active on both Twitter and his blog, raising awareness about #Jan25 (the Twitter hashtag for the pro-democracy activists in Egypt).

I never knew that Facebook and Twitter can be that powerful and that the things you tweet can actually make a change, even if it’s a little change like correcting someone’s information.

IceQueer also spoke to US journalist Michelangelo Signorile on his radio show about his experience using social media to connect with others.

Don’t consider myself an LGBT activist; I’m doing the least I could do. I created a Twitter account and started reporting news about homosexual news in Egypt or HIV news in Egypt. With the help of other LGBT organizations, like Gay Middle East(GME) and [inaudible but possibly referring to @IranLGBT], I started reaching out to these organizations. They started to retweet whatever I reported from Egypt.

Listen to the interview here.

(Via Flickr user sierragoddess)

IceQueer also responds to questions about the Muslim Brotherhood. Many who are opposed to democratic reform in Egypt, such as Canadian Ezra Levant, warn that the protests are aimed at creating an Islamic state led by the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Gay Middle East: Some commentators have expressed their concern about the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in the case of a change in Egypt. How realistic is such a concern?
IQ: I don’t think MB would have such an “influence” that would affect the majority of Egyptians and Egypt.

Largely unmentioned in reports on the uprising is that Tahrir Square is not only the centre of the pro-democracy movement, but also a popular gay cruising place.

Haha, yeah. I made lots of puns about this exact thing when I met up with my friends in Tahrir to protest. I was like, “A week ago, if I told you, Let’s meet in Tahrir then go walk down to Kasr El-Nil bridge, you’d have judged me as a sleazy, trashy, gay guy."

Follow @IceQueen here. 


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