At least 70% of the LGBTQ community report experiencing some form of violence due to their sexual orientation.
Rabat – A recent study shows that members of Morocco’s LGBTQ community are taking on homophobia in the North African country by engaging in national politics.
According to a recent study by the Collective Against Criminalization and Discrimination Against Sexual and Religious Minorities, at least 16% of Morocco’s LGBTQ community are active in political parties and 20% are active in numerous associations.
Additionally, 6% are involved in cultural circles and 1% in human rights organizations.
Four hundred members of Morocco’s LGBTQ community took part in the survey.
The research took place over a six month period and identifies the demographic and social experience of Morocco’s LGBTQ community, focusing particularly on LGBTQ identifying people in Marrakech, Agadir, Tangier, and Rabat.
The community’s political and cultural activism has ensued from the general stigma and legislation against homosexuality in Morocco.
Article 489 of Morocco’s penal code criminalizes same-sex relations, making it punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $120 (MAD 1200). The LGBTQ community reports that a staggering 29% of participants in the survey faced arrest or imprisonment for reasons related to their sexuality.
In a memorendum published in October 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Committee condemned laws prohibiting same-sex relations and urged Morocco to repeal article 489. The Moroccan government rejected the recommendation to implement legislation that would protect people from dicrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.
At least 70% of the community reported being subject to some form of violence due to their sexual orientation. Only 14% filed a complaint due to challenges surrounding a legal system that does not protect or support victims.
One hundred percent of the population surveyed agreed that they deplore the present social environment which generally marginalizes and rejects them. A majority say that social assistance to support the community is largely insufficient.
Visibility and activism among the community increased recently after a transgender social media influencer encouraged women in Morocco to create fake accounts on dating apps popular among the gay community to discover which men living near them are gay. The incident sparked outrage over social media and resulted in a number of gay men facing rejection from their families and communities, threats, harassment, or blackmail.
Following the influencer’s comments, advocates and activists within the LGBTQ community have banded together in support of those negatively impacted.
Last month, Graeme Reid, LGBT Rights Director at Human Rights Watch said “the onus is on the Moroccan government to protect LGBT people from this type of homophobic harassment and from all forms of discrimination.”
“Homophobia is a dangerous reality, but it thrives when the government criminalizes same-sex conduct and fails to shield their rights to privacy and equal treatment.”