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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 338 > On the FRONT LINES


In countries where members of the LGBT+ community are systematically attacked, arrested, tortured and murdered, there are courageous activists who stand up to advance queer rights, sometimes at great personal cost. Here Stephen McCabe meets just six poweful individuals on the frontlines of the ight for a world of acceptance.
BOUHDID BELHEDI (Tunisia) LGBT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER Association SHAMS (winner of GALAS International Award, 2017)

“ Forced anal testing is theoretically banned, but it is still a widespread practice throughout Tunisia.

“I was the first activist to appear on TV to talk about the LGBT situation in Tunisia. Following my appearances I received multiple threats from the government and also from extremists. I am no longer safe in my hometown, so thanks to a grant I was able to get rehoused.

Our organisation SHAMS is the only organisation to talk publicly about LGBT rights. As a result of our media activism we have begun to educate the Tunisian people about our struggle.

The main challenges Tunisian LGBT people face are Article 230 [of the Penal Code] which criminalises gay people, and the anal test for homosexuality. Forced anal testing is theoretically banned, but it is still a widespread practice throughout Tunisia. A person can refuse the anal test, but if you do, an inference will be drawn from that.

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About GCN

Our cover star this month Michelle Visage talks about the impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race on its contestants and the world, how being the mother of a queer child has made her more political, and how she’ll be behaving on the panel of Ireland’s Got Talent. ACT UP Dublin get real with the government about PrEP, we ask why there is complete invisibility of Roma LGBT people in Ireland, and we meet a contingent of courageous defenders of LGBT+ human rights across the globe. Plus, new dance-pop kids on the block, Sofi Tukker tell us just can’t believe they’re on every radio in the States, and we explore the impact of tech on queer relationships. It’s a meaty mix for February!