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Digital Subscriptions >  Blog > Yussuf Rezk: “Flee the country, or die trying”

Yussuf Rezk: “Flee the country, or die trying”
Gay Times

Yussuf Rezk: “Flee the country, or die trying”

Posted 02 August 2017   |   3234 views   |   Men's Interest Egypt is now considered one of the worst places in the world to be homosexual. In our latest issue, we spend a day with Yussuf Rezk to get a glimpse into his life as one of the few openly gay men living in Cairo.

In 2013, after the military coup, life for queer people in Egypt went from bad to horrific. The new President began targeting the LGBT community in order to garner support from his more traditional citizens. Using tactics similar to authorities in Russia, police began making fake profiles on Tinder and Grindr in order to trap homosexuals and arrest them.


“The police and established society in Egypt are against anything that is different. I get shit thrown at me from random people in the street. Sometimes I’m harassed and physically abused. It’s not safe at all to be open about your sexual orientation here.”


While there are no specific laws against homosexual acts in Egypt, police utilise old anti-prostitution laws and a 1961 law against ‘debauchery’ in order to charge homosexuals.


“I heard a rumour that a man was cast out from the tallest building in the city.”


When Yussuf came out at age 16, he was thrown out of home by his family. Ostracised by all those close to him and forced out of school before he was able to finish his diploma, his growing dysphoria led him into a dark place. This is when he decided to become an LGBT activist, standing almost alone against the hatred in his country.


“I was tired of people saying, ‘No, we do not have gay people in Egypt.’ If everyone hides who they really are nothing will change. We must stand up and and fight for our rights.”


This brave attitude has unfortunately increased the target on his back and after several unsuccessful attempts to leave the country, our interview follows Yusef as he seeks asylum in the UK.


“I have no plan B, I’ve tried everything. I love Egypt with all my heart, but if I want to have a decent life, I have to leave my country.”


Yussuf’s story is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. To read our full report on his life in Egypt, get your copy of Gay Times August 2017 now.

For more great articles like this get the issue of Gay Times below or subscribe and save.

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