Breaking : Press Release from Egyptian “EDAHO” Organisers

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Press release, republished from Egyptian activists of the group “EDAHO” (Egyptian Day Against Homophobia) :
One week before IDAHO
The 11th of May to be launched as an Egyptian day against Homophobia
As a national initiative in order to combat homophobia we as a group of Egyptian Queer/LGBTIQ/Gender activists have decided to launch the 11th of May as an Egyptian day against homophobia. Choosing that date isn’t a random decision since this day happens to be the annual anniversary of the Queen Boat/Cairo 52 catastrophe when the Egyptian police forces arrested 52 gay men after breaking into a famous nightclub used to be known as queen boat, this was back in 2001. 25 gay men out of the 52 were charged for different over rated, fake and politicized crimes such as “working as foreign agents with Israeli Regime, Being Satanic, contempt of religion, Habitual practice of debauchery and other combination of crimes that the judge’s moral system could come up with. The consequences of these charges were tragic to the extent that almost all of the 25 men spent between 3 and 5years in jail for no crime other than trying to enjoy a limited chance of imaginary freedom.
Not many survivors of Queen boat are still in Egypt since most of them had to leave the country at that time while many of those who stayed had to hide and live in the shades especially that the Egyptian media didn’t give any of them a single space of privacy after invading their personal lives and publishing every single piece of information about them, their siblings, parents, work, home and family while using crystal clear pictures of the victims.
Cairo52 was no more than a gloomy beginning of a dark era that witnessed different forms of oppression and discrimination against LGBTIQ individuals in Egypt as many of them had been targeted through online chatting and dating websites starting from 2001 and till recent. During those years there were people who had been sent to jail, people that had been raped, people that had been violated and people who had been murdered. The sad fact is that till now we don’t even have confirmed statistics of all the previously mentioned violent crimes against homosexual individuals in Egypt. Legally homosexuality isn’t a crime that people should be charged for in Egypt but does this really matter? Throughout history there has always been a union between the conservative and patriarchal society and between the state, such a union has been blessing different forms of homophobic violations against LGBT individuals. Almost each one of us know a friend who either got murdered by the state or family or society, each one of us know at least a lesbian friend who was sent to rehab in order to be medically treated through electric shocks for being homosexual.
Yes for sure the situation has changed since the beginning of the revolution, at least we have become more visible and able to stand for our own cause while fighting against those violations. It’s not that we turned into super creatures, no what actually changed is that now we are more aware of the danger, in solidarity with a big family of feminists, friends, allies and human rights activists who share with us the same realization of the fact that our fights are mutual and they all lead to one result which is ending oppression, injustice and discrimination.
Two days before the EDAHO and one week before IDAHO we find that old and acceptance – seeking discourse is not to make sense any more. It just doesn’t seem right for us to keep begging the society for acceptance and approval especially that we came to a moment when we believe that rights and freedoms are to be taken not given. To make the rest of the LGBTIQ community members share this belief with us it’s better to make our main demand in 2013 is to end this state of fear in which we as LGBTIQ individuals live or to be accurate the state of fear in which we are dead alive. It’s time to end the fear that prevent young and new generations of the Egyptian LGBITQ community from coming out even to their own selves because they are afraid of societal consequences and since lots of them tend to feel that they are abnormal or freaks only because no one was there for them to tell them it’s going to be okay. It’s time to beat this fear that make us tend to call ourselves fake names, make us pretend to be having lives that don’t belong to us as it seems that we are afraid of each other more than being afraid of the outer society. On the 11th of May where 12 years have passed since the Cairo 52 it’s time to question the barriers of fear that used to segregate us from the outer world for years and years imagining that no one will accept us just the way we are, those fear barriers kept growing to the extent that we got used to say us “LGBTIQ” and them “Heterosexual”.
The fight is mutual, the fight shouldn’t be between groups that face set of discriminations which only differs in reasons but share the same consequences of alienation. It’s time for all the outcasts to unite against corrupted double and fake moral standards of the Egyptian society, against a totalitarian and fundamentalist political regime that wasted hundreds of spirits that it should have worked to protect and save instead of killing whether intentionally or unintentionally. It’s time for a unity against brutal capitalism that has managed to turn the fight for LGBT rights into a product that should be decorated in a way that makes it sexy for the costumers who here happen to be Media audience, politicians and money maker and givers. Global capitalism has succeeded as well in erasing the old legends and theories of solidarity among LGBT individuals after turning the scene around the globe in most cases looking like a run way where those who don’t fit don’t have a place between the outcasts that they belong to.
On the EDAHO we are not asking anyone including our modest selves to go out in parades of pride or to get out of our rooms planning to tell the whole planet that we are here and queer thinking that people will welcome us with hugs and roses like a Hollywood movie.
All what we are asking for is to turn these loads of fear into a fuel of belief that should push our fight forward.
To sum it up we are asking each true believer in equality among you all to join us in our one week campaign of tweeting and blogging no matter what the product is “article, design, logo, film..” as long as it represents who you truly are. The campaign starts from EDAHO 11th of May till IDAHO on the 17thof May. To make it easier for us please use any of those hashtags: #EDAHO #IDAHO #Queen_boat #Cairo52.
In the end we have to mention that this one week campaign is dedicated to number of individuals and groups who have to have to be always remembered in days like these meaningful days. This campaign is dedicated to Mr. Maher Sabry who has been fighting and struggling for the rights of those who have been arrested for no crime on the 11th of May 2001. Even when he had to leave to the USA after his stay in Egypt had become a major risk he decided to pay each penny he had to produce his long fiction film “All My Life” through which he worked on documenting the years before and after Cairo 52 so that our and upcoming generations will have a chance to know all about the untold story. We all hope that one day Maher will come back to Egypt to continue a fight he was one of those who started it. The campaign is also dedicated to the queer men and women human rights activists who spent many years in the beginning of the 3rdmillennium moving between police stations, homes and hospitals to provide all forms of support to LGBT individuals, the price some of them paid for such a fight was much and till now life didn’t pay them back even 1% of it.
We dedicate this campaign to Egyptian queer/lesbian women who pay double the price, one time for being women and another time for being queer. Those women in many cases suffer from corrective rape that takes form of legal marriage.The campaign is also dedicated to the Trans gender and Trans sexual individuals who face discriminations within gay men oriented communities more than among Heteronormative society mainly because many gay men tend to see them a disgrace since they corrupt the masculine society’s image of gay men and make them look like faggots “That’s what they really think”. To the LGBT individuals of color who face racism in addition to homophobia which makes their suffering truly painful and also we dedicate this campaign to LGBT individuals who are not economically empowered and that’s why they are always forgotten among LGBT communities that tend to be classist in many times.
Last but not least this campaign is to be dedicated also to all the feminist men and women, to the alternative true families of friends who have been courageous,aware, genuinely supportive of our fight because they know just like we know that we all share the same fight against patriarchy, authority and inequality.
Our last words go to those who have been arrested, abused, black mailed, beaten up,raped or murdered because of their sexual orientations or gender identities.
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