IE SOGI refers to the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
LGBTIQ people in Morocco face significant legal and societal barriers. Article 489 of the Penal Code makes same-sex relations illegal and punishable with up to three years in jail. Although this law does not explicitly mention transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, law enforcement officials often conflate gender identity with sexual orientation and, as such, the law is also used to criminalize gender expression and identity that does not conform with the assigned norm. Article 489 is enforced sporadically; in 2016 it resulted in the prosecution of at least 19 individuals. Visibility and activism of LGBTIQ individuals has increased in recent years, giving rise to increased backlash. The backlash has resulted in heightened levels of rhetoric about “traditional values,” positioning LGBTIQ people as a threat to such values, and increasing targeting of LGBTIQ people. Hate speech by public officials and religious leaders perpetuates misinformation and fear-mongering of LGBTIQ people, while increased targeting by the police results in blackmail, use of intimidation tactics, and even imprisonment. Public opinion of LGBTIQ people is largely negative. Rampant hate speech and existing criminalization leads to harassment, discrimination, and violence of LGBTIQ people by private citizens as well as authorities. Since April 2020 a campaign of online harassment and outing of LGBTIQ people using has been underway. Swarms of people have created fake accounts on dating sites and apps, proceeded to identify and expose, predominantly gay and bisexual men.