The Marrakech crossdresser said he does not dare speak with his parents after what happened because he does not know how they would react.
Rabat – On New Year’s Eve, Chafiq’s worst nightmare came true after a minor road accident in Marrakech. He hit a motorcycle driver with his vehicle, but no casualties were reported. A cross-dresser who only wants to be mentioned by his first name, Chafiq’s choice of attire was what caused him issues.
After press reports and rumors posted online, Chafiq decided to break his silence to talk about his side of the story in an interview with Morocco World News.
The 33-year-old said that he was partying at a hotel in Marrakech. At 2 a.m., Chafiq, who was wearing a blue woman’s robe and a wig, left the hotel. At a traffic light, Chafiq hit a motorcycle. News reports said that Chafiq tried to escape the scene, but the crossdresser said that he was planning to stop.
“You know that feeling when you are shocked, you cannot stop immediately after the accident,” Chafiq told MWN.
After a while, Chafiq said that he stopped his car, and the crowd started to get bigger.
“A policeman stopped by and asked me to leave the car. I told him that I will give him my car papers and stay inside the car. But he refused and broke my car’s window,” Chafiq said.
The incident started to get worse after citizens saw him wearing a dress. “After I left the car, they handcuffed me. It was a minor car accident; they don’t have the right to do that,” Chafiq said.
He added that everyone was filming and taking photos of him during his arrest.
“When I went to the police station, some policemen took pictures of me through their personal phones. I did not know why they did that,” Chafiq said. Police also photographed his ID card.
After a while, Chafiq was released but was asked to come back to the police station in 48 hours.
“I left and I thought that everything will finish after what happened that night, so I just slept. But when I woke up and checked my phone I was shocked to find videos and photos of me posted online. My friends sent them to me, and I was surprised,” Chafiq said.
He added that his brother asked him if it was him but he denied it. “I told my brother that it was not me, God creates forty people who look the same,” Chafiq told MWN.
But when pictures of his ID were posted online, Chafiq could not deny his sexual orientation or the incident anymore.
“I told my brother that it is what it is. My mother fainted when she heard. But what else can I do? This is what it is.”
Chafiq’s parents were unaware of his sexual orientation, and after the incident, he has not been in touch with his family, except his brother.
In a sad tone, Chafiq said that what the police did was unexpected, especially considering his ID has his home address.
“I feel threatened now. Who can tell that I am not a target of someone who would try to harm me?” Chafiq asked.
He said that after the incident, a traveler from Oujda visited him at home to ask him how he feels after the controversy.
“He had a three day beard, and he said he is from Oujda and he passed by to check how I am after the incident. He also invited me for a coffee. To be honest, I felt scared. I am scared,” Chafiq said.
Now, Chafiq is planning to leave the country because he fears for his safety.
A spokeswoman for Moroccan NGO Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms (MALI), Ibtissam Lachgar, said that Chafiq’s case is “complicated.”
Lachgar, who is also a clinical psychologist, said that Chafiq is really depressed now.
“We contacted him and received him in Rabat. He was really depressed,” Lachgar told Morocco World News.
She added that MALI is now contacting several embassies and associations to assist him in seeking asylum.
“It takes time as there are several steps that we should follow,” Lachgar said. She added that MALI will not give up and will knock on every door that might help Chafiq because the process is complicated.
She explained that there are more complicated cases than Chafiq’s whose requests for refuge were rejected.
Chafiq called on Moroccans to avoid prejudice at the end of the interview.
LGBT people in Morocco often fear unfriendly reactions and keep their sexual orientation secret. Article 489 of Morocco’s Penal Code also stipulates prison periods ranging from six months to three years for “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”
Revealing suspects’ information publicly is also punishable. After the release of the photos, videos, and ID of the cross-dresser, General Director of National Security Abdellatif Hammouchi announced disciplinary sanctions ranging from warnings to temporary suspensions for four policemen in Marrakech.
The four policemen were suspended for not preserving Chafiq’s personal and private data.
A statement from the General Directorate of the National Security (DGSN) also condemned the lack of policemen’s rigor in preserving the personal data of an individual who is the subject of a judicial investigation.
Chafiq’s case generated thousands of reactions, with some saying he disrespected Moroccan culture and religion and others condemning the sharing of his pictures, calling it a violation of his personal freedom.