Persecution of Homosexuals (Tunisia)

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Note that this page may contain news regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, and transsexual people (LGBTT)

"0.0% is better than a successful faggot." A 'Liberty' march denies LGBT rights. Gays shocked to be greeted by homophobic signs and slogans used by their fellow left wing activists[edit]

A ‘Walk for liberties, all liberties’ attracted nearly 10,000 Tunisians on 28 January. It came after a series of human rights violations, mainly against freedom of expression. Participants chanted ‘We won’t sell our freedom!’

But most of the Tunisian gay, bi and trans people didn’t feel their presence or rights were welcome.

‘I didn’t go simply because I see freedom is portrayed by Islamists as a contradiction to their principles. They interpret it as a license for alcohol, nudity and sex which they oppose firmly,’ said Lilia, a lesbian activist.

And Marwan, a 24-year-old gay engineering student added: ‘There was no point for me to join the march. Gay rights don’t figure on their list, they don’t even consider us humans!’

Still some remained defiant, like Bilel, a 35-year-old gay teacher who told PinkNews.co.uk: ‘I went to the march because I think it’s the right time to demand freedom for all.’

The few who made it were shocked to be greeted by homophobic signs and slogans used by their fellow left wing activists.

One read: ‘0.0% is better than a successful faggot’ [ie it is better to have no support than to be a ‘gay’ like the interior minister]..

Fadi said: ‘It was really disconcerting and alarming to witness those homophobic signs and slogans during a march for human rights. It made us feel that our rights are not included.’
Tunisian human rights minister: No free speech for gays
Dan Littauer, Pink News, February 6, 2012

Gay magazine editor faces religious hatred and death threats, Human Rights minister thinks mag should be banned, says that "sexual orientation is not a human right and sexual perversion needs to be treated medically"[edit]

Tunisia’s human rights minister has attacked an online gay magazine while being interviewed by homophobic TV presenter Samir El-Wafi.

Minister Samir Dilou said ‘freedom of expression has its limits’ and agreed homosexuality was a ‘perversion’ which needed to be ‘treated medically’.
. . .
Then Samir El-Wafi, a journalist and celebrity TV presenter known for his tabloid, ranting interview techniques joined the homophobic bandwagon, posted the cover of the magazine on his Facebook page (with over 75,500 fans) followed by the following description: ‘In the chaos of freedom of expression and freeing the media, a first Tunisian magazine for fags was issued!

‘In the name of freedom and in a conservative country whose people are facing a struggle between modernity and tradition; a magazine for fags dares to come out and challenge all the circumstances, rules, morals, ethics and customs.

‘Do we need a further strife because a very small minority expresses its perversion… not caring about the feelings and the sacred beliefs of a majority?

‘Today a magazine, tomorrow a pride march, then gay marriage… and after that who knows?’

The post got 381 likes, 124 comments and 165 shares.

The next day Fadi, received hateful messages and death threats.

One from someone identifying themselves as ‘Emna’ said: ‘You are a zero. We don’t give a fuck about you. You ought to be out assisting in building the country. This is so immoral, calling to protect dirty people. God will never forgive you. This is very haraam [forbidden], we are Muslims and we can never be proud of your gay shit. You need to go and see psychiatrists and not start a magazine. Shame on you.’

‘Sabrine’ messaged him to say: ‘How could you be so impolite to do this, you belong to a Muslim society. Don’t you know that these things upset God? You’re so sinful and this one of the signs to the end of time. Fucking bitches.’

And Aymen posted on the Gayday magazine Facebook page: ‘You’re dead; don’t come to Tunisia you faggot. Even hell is disgusted to have you!’
. . .
Samir El-Wafi continued his homophobic attack when he hosted Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, Samir Dilou, on his TV show on 4 February.

Dilou told El-Wafi he’s against having such a magazine in Tunisia: ‘This country has its own history, heritage, religion and customs and we need to deal with everything on such a basis.’

El-Wafi asked: ‘We can’t deny that this phenomenon of sexual perversion exists but shall we deny these people from expression mediums?’

And Dilou responded: ‘Yes, freedom of expression has limits.

‘They live as citizens but they must respect the red lines set up by our religion, heritage and civilization.’

When asked if the magazine should be banned, the minister said: ‘I have no knowledge if this magazine have applied for a permit or not but I’m against it even though I’m a minister of human rights.’

They concluded laughing that sexual orientation is not a human right and ‘sexual perversion needs to be treated medically’.
Tunisian human rights minister: No free speech for gays
Dan Littauer, Pink News, February 6, 2012
Despite appeals by Amnesty, journalists and diplomats, Tunisia's Human Rights minister stands by his words that gays are sick and their freedom of expression should be limited
. . .
Amesty further urged the repeal of 'Article 230 of the Tunisian Criminal Code which makes consensual sex between members of the same sex a criminal offence, punishable with six months to three years imprisonment.'
Tunisia rights minister stands by homophobia
Dan Littauer, Gay Star News, March 3, 2012

"Tunisians are entitled to basic protection, lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not included," Tunisia says no to decriminalizing homosexuality because it is "incompatible with Islam"[edit]

Tunisia’s Human Rights Minister Samir Dilou has rejected calls by the United Nations Human Rights Council to decriminalize same-sex acts, saying that sexual orientation is a “western concept” that is “incompatible with Islam, Tunisian culture and tradition.”

It comes on the heels of months of battling in the North African country over the rights of the LGBT community, who say that since the uprising ousted the former government in January 2011, the plight of the gay community has faced numerous challenges.

Hind, a young Tunisian lesbian, lamented in a statement to Bikyamasr.com that “this is what we are facing right now. Despite the positives of the revolution, the conservative backlash is hurting the overall human rights struggle in the country.”

In a press conference held in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, on June 2, Dilou argued that while all Tunisians are entitled to basic protection, lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not included.

He said this was because the concept of “sexual orientation is specific to the West. Tunisia has its own identity as an Arab Muslim state.”

According to Dilou, who is also a justice minister and official government spokesman, Tunisian law overrides such a “stipulation” as it “clearly describes Tunisia as an Arab Muslim country,” he stated to Tunisia-Live.

The rise of moderate Islamists in the country have thrown LGBT rights into the forefront, especially after the publication of the country’s first gay magazine.

He also does not see the law against homosexuality as in conflict with the premise of freedom.

“There is no absolute freedom. All freedoms are restricted by the law,” he said.
Tunisia says no to UN calls for gay rights
Joseph Mayton, Bikya Masr, June 7, 2012