In the past few months, Egypt’s policies on LGBT+ people have become the focus of international attention, following the arrests of several gay men for appearing in a ‘gay wedding video.’ Some reports say that as many as 80 people have been arrested for being LGBT+ in the past year. One recent case involved six men who advertised their apartment as a place for men to have sex (supposedly at a cost of $200 a night) on Facebook. The men were sentenced to two years in prison.
Same-sex activities between adults, in private, are legal in Egypt, but laws which were not created with the intent of being used to arrest and imprison LGBT+ people are now being used to do so.
Many of the recent arrests in Egypt have a major connecting thread—social networking. Egyptian officials have confirmed that they are monitoring social media sites. The social network app Grindr has released a warning to their users that they might risk entrapment on the app.
The message reads in full:
Egypt is arresting LGBT people, and police may be posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you. Please be careful about arranging meetings with people you don’t know, and be careful about posting anything that might reveal your identity.
Activists have taken to Twitter under the hashtag #stopjailinggays to raise awareness of the unfolding events.