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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

'Fight or flight' for lesbians in Morocco

Source: Tetu

[Google translation]

By Habibou Bangré

In the Maghreb countries, lesbian love seems so unthinkable that those who volunteer enjoy some peace. But woe to those who take risks to live their homosexuality publicly ...

Riham, Amira and Jacky are Moroccan and lesbians, and this can be costly. Up to three years in prison, not counting the family exclusion and physical and verbal attacks. How to live his love in such a climate? One option: the option.

"I always felt that I was attracted to girls," says Riham *, sparkling Moroccan teenager. At age 12, I met a friend who was a lesbian who fell in love with me. I wanted to try this relationship and I realized that my feelings for her were real ... It was my first experience. "

Experience illegal. In the Moroccan kingdom, homosexuality is punishable by three years in prison and the company sees a dim view of gay relationships and lesbians - the ruling outlawed by Islam the state religion.

Difficult to meet

Consequently, women, like men, are struggling to find a half. And even if "in this society that does not allow contact between people of different kind, it is easier to find intimacy with someone of her sex," notes Jackie *, a Director of the lesbian group Menna w Fena ("About us and in us" in Arabic).

This paradox can be frustrating. Very frustrating. "Many lesbians enjoy going to the hammam just to see naked women. Personally, I do not do that and I do not think the hammam is a place to meet or know of lesbians, "says Amira *, 19.


Lesbians invisible

Where dredging? Without dedicated place, it falls back to the cafes, night clubs ... crowded with heterosexuals. Not simple. Result, "most girls meet their friend on Facebook or other sites. There is also the network, as the friends we have in common, "says Riham, which maintains a long-distance relationship on the Web with an Egyptian.

About sexuality, Dr. Mohamed Maidin, sexologist in Casablanca, estimates that mithliya ("lesbians" in Arabic) are better off than gays. "A girl can go to a girlfriend without any suspicion of sex," says he. Perhaps because these relationships are totally obscured.

"The popular imagination in Morocco does not intend women to have sex outside of man."

"Very often when we talk about homosexuality, we think more men than women," observes sociologist Sanaa El Aji. The latter being regarded as sex objects desired, not considering the popular imagination they can have sex outside of man, they may have desires and want them too ... "

In this context of repression and invisibility, some repress their sexuality - with the key to serious psychological disorders. Riham and Amira, they chose to reconcile, somehow, their religion and their sexuality. But without coming out or confirm the doubts of their own. For besides the prison and the family exclusion, those who defy the established order or are likely ny discrimination, bullying, physical or verbal attacks. Other violence: "Relatives can lock the girl in the house or consider that his sexuality is a sin and push to get married to solve the problem," says Jackie, 23.

Online Community

A situation that the militant may have grazed. Been together for four years, she had once given the nature of his love to a loved one "just because he was not Moroccan, Arab or Muslim, but European. Error. His confidant was quick to warn his family. Reactions: while his grandmother and aunts have pleaded the right to privacy, his uncle was vilified by blows of verses from the Koran ...

Menna w Fena , the LGBT group kifkif emanation, was specifically trained to understand that homosexuality is "not a failure of sexual women." Its website offers various information, a forum and a hotline on Tuesday evening - unreachable whenever bullish dialed.

Leaving or fight

Ultimately, Menna w Fena especially hopes to obtain rights for mithliya. Pessimistic, Jacky thinks "it will take several decades" before they are actually taken into account. It therefore plans to leave his country, tired of dealing with his family and his partner, trying to separate them without being explicitly aware of their relationship.

As for Riham, she feels calmer. It must be said that his secret weighs much less heavily since his friends argue. "Initially, they tried to tell me that what I feel is not true, it's not a good road, it's a crisis of adolescence. Today, they accept my sexuality, and even ask me how it goes with my girlfriends! "

* The name was changed.

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