By Amir Amokrane
Nicknamed "TenTen" because of its date (10/10), the National Day of LGBT Algerians goes on the offensive this year, despite the prohibitions. Numerous actions are planned in this country that still condemns homosexuality to prison.
At first, it was just an idea launched among a small circle of activists. Five years later, October 10 has become a don’t-miss date: that of the National Day of LGBT Algerians. Several advocacy groups are now involved in the day. Officially illegal, these organizations have to be based abroad to avoid their leaders falling under the law and spending their next ten years behind bars.
Candle at 8 PM
Last year, the watchword was hope. This year, it is mobilization. In the region of Algiers alone, no less than seven homophobic crimes were recorded in 2011, and it was important for activists on the ground to act. Actions are conducted under the leadership of two associations, Abu Nawas and GLA (the forum of gays and lesbians from Algeria). This will also be an opportunity for the Alouen association to be officially launched and to present its projects.
Across the country, but also across the world, LGBTQI Algerians are asked to light a candle precisely at 8 PM, whether in their home or in their windows. Other events are planned, be they dinners, film screenings and discussions. Locations, however, are kept secret until the last minute and are known only to the activists to avoid unpleasant surprises. Since a video announcing the event was put online, the number of views (as well as homophobic comments) has greatly exceeded expectations, which says a lot about the importance of this day and of the precautions to take.
Abu Nawas will take the opportunity to inaugurate an LGBT library, fruit of an ambitious and unprecedented project. One of the leaders of the association explained that they had sent out an appeal for books to enable their community to read books about themselves, something that is so simple abroad but is a dream in Algeria, as the marketing of such books is banned. Three hundred books have already been collected through two collection points, in Marseille and Brussels.
Morocco will have its own national day, on October 19. Organized by the Kif-kif association, this day commemorates the anniversary of Leila Amrouche, a Moroccan lesbian who, under the pressure and denial of society, chose to end her life.
Translation by F Young