Egypt

AT A GLANCE

Same Sex
Relations
Legal?

NO

de facto criminalization

Legal Gender
Recognition
Possible?

NO

LGBTI Orgs
Able to
Register?

NO

Actions Related
to SOGI at
the UN

2016, 2019: Opposed IE SOGI

Overview

While Egypt does not formally criminalize same-sex relations or transgender identities, it has, over the last few years, become one of the most dangerous places in the world for LGBTIQ people. A number of laws used to target LGBTIQ people ensure that criminalization, while not explicit, exists de facto. Specifically, article 9 of law 10 criminalizes acts of debauchery or prostitution, article 269 of the Penal code prohibits incitement to indecency, and article 278 of the Penal Code criminalizes “scandalous acts,” all of which are routinely used against LGBTIQ people. A small surge of activism and visibility after the Arab spring has been accompanied by backlash. In 2017 and the years since, LGBTIQ people have fallen victim to a targeted and growing crackdown. In September 2017, a number of young people attending a concert in Cairo of Mashrou’ Leila raised a rainbow flag. Photos of this went viral on social media and resulted in a backlash of mass imprisonment, including torture and beating of those detained. That month alone over 80 perceived LGBTIQ people were detained, at least 20 of whom received prison sentences. The crackdown has intensified since, also targeting people portraying anything to do with LGBTIQ people’s lives. Activist Sarah Hegazi, who held the rainbow flag at the aforementioned concert, took her own life while in exile in Canada due to ongoing hate speech and threats against her. Proposed legislation would see Egypt criminalize same-sex relations explicitly. New anti-civil liberties laws, such as limitations on NGO activity, restrict human rights organizing. Suppression of the LGBTIQ community goes beyond silencing dissent, it boosts the image of President Al-Sisi’s government upholding conservative religious values. Egypt’s morality police widely publicize their raids on the LGBTIQ community, sometimes even notifying the press beforehand. Targeting of LGBTIQ people by private individuals has also increased. Dating apps and online platforms are frequently used to entrap LGBTIQ individuals.