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Egypt: Homosexuals to Occupy Tahrir on January 1

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Profile picture of the 'Egyptian Homosexual Day' Facebook page which reads as "We Do Not Want to Hide."

If Islamists were the ones to appeal as threatening to women and religious minorities in Egypt, then they are not alone when it comes to opposing passing LGBT rights in post-revolution Egypt. Recently, a Facebook page was established to promote the rights of homosexuals and to call on them to gather on the 1 January, 2012, in Tahrir Square to demand their rights.

Hundreds joined the page, not necessarily to support the demands, but to write homophobic comments, murder threats, and to cite Quran verses that show how Islam forbids homosexuality and defines it as a major sin. In one of the pictures posted by the page admin, a comment is written to define the page and to justify the rights of homosexuals to a normal life [ar]:

من حقنا الظهور في المجتمع بشكل علني لحمايه نفسنا و لحمايه المجتمع من اضطهاد المثليين لان المجتمع اللي لا يقبل الاخر يبقى مريض
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.

To explain why they have chosen to protest in Tahrir Square in January, the page had a post saying:

من نحن: نحن مجموعه من شباب مصر المثلي الجنس..نزلنا الميدان و شاركنا في الثوره..و نرى الان انه لنا كل الحق في العيش باحترام و علانيه..فنحن جزء من مصر الثوره ..فلا يزايد علينا احد
We are a group of gay Egyptian youth. 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.

In one of its status updates, the page admin posted a message that s/he 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:

ايه الضرر لما يكون في اتنين من نفس الجنس في مكان ما في العالم نايميين في حضن بعض؟؟ انا ضريتك في ايه؟؟ اخدت حاجة بتاعتك؟؟ اكلت اكلك؟؟ ايه؟؟ انا انسان احس واحب واكره واغضب واسامح وافرح
What's the harm if two people from the same sex somewhere in this world are hugging each other? 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!

The page admin has also posted a note to media stating the reason behind rejecting interviews:

لكننا نعتذر لجميع الصحفيين عن عدم التواصل معهم..حيث اننا نرى ان تناول الاعلام لهذا الحدث الان سيؤدي الى احداث بلبله و ضجه اعلاميه قد تؤدي الى اجهاض اليوم من اساسه وارهاب شخصيات مثقفه وطنيه كانت قد ابدت موافقتها على المشاركه..و نرى انه من الانسب تغطيه الحدث وقت حدوثه وسيتم توجيه دعوات لجميع المؤسسات الاعلاميه في حينه
We apologize to all journalists for not responding to them. 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.

Another status came as a reply to all the threats that the page had on its wall:

الى الساده المصدومين من اعداد المثليين في مصر : احنا موجودين بينكم من زمان لكن انتم فرضتم علينا نعيش تحت الارض و دفنتم رؤسكم في الرمل كالنعام..ثانيا :كفايه بلطجه ومحاولات ارهاب لينا مش هانسمح لحد يشكك في وطنيتنا
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. Stop you terror attempts; we do not allow you to question our patriotism.

The page has also posted a YouTube video which plays a written message from a gay Egyptian who says that he is just another citizen who contributes to the society and respects all, and expects to be treated the same in his own country.

The comments on this planned day that this Facebook page came out with were not only found on Facebook. Some people started to talk about them on Twitter. Ahmad Abdelhady (@Hadeezz) had an odd opinion on this that he didn't fully explain:

عامة .. حق المثليين جنسيا فى الزواج والمعاملة بدون تمييز ده انا بؤيده … انما ف الشارع ويوم وطنى ده تعدى على حرية الاخرين ..نقطة وكلامى خلص
@Hadeezz: In general, I support the rights of homosexuals to get married and be treated equally, but to have a national day out in the street is something I find as a violation of others’ freedom. Period, that's all I have got to say.

Activist Mostafa Hussein (@moftasa) condemned the murder threats against homosexuals, but rather in a sarcastic way, as he attempts to put it:

أيه حكايةالناس اللي عاوزة تقتل المثليين دول كمان؟ هي ناقصةدم؟ طيب لو انت رايح تقتلة كده راح هو مدافع عن نفسه و قتلك؟ نسميك أيه؟ شهيد الشرج؟
@moftasa: What's the story of those who want to kill the homosexuals? 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'?

An engineer called Hussain Imam (@kemam) tweeted several posts on the LGBT planned day and suggested in one of them:

بأفكر أعمل جروب لمناهضة المثليين دول بتوع 1 يناير!
@kemam: I think I should start a group against those homosexuals of January 1st.

Another Twitter user (@MiSrBtfHam) called on his followers to report the ‘Egyptian homosexual day’ Facebook page to shut it down:

اطالب الجميع بعمل ريبوت للصفحه دي الحريه مش معناها كده المثليين ميتمحكوش في الثورة واللي عاوز يدافع عنهم يتحرق
@MiSrBtfHam: I demand you all to report this page. Freedom doesn't mean homosexuals rule the revolution. Those who will defend them should burn.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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