(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco. Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code of 1962 specifies that “any person who ‘commits a lewd and unnatural act’ with an individual of the same sex may be sentenced to six months to three years of imprisonment and fined 200-1000 Moroccan dirhams.’ (Translation: Morocco: The Treatment of Homosexuals)
Razkane v Holder, Attorney General
Razkane v. Holder, Attorney General, No. 08-9519, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 21 April 2009, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4a5c97042.html [accessed 26 January 2012]
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
According to a composite of information on Gay Rights in Morocco, compiled by Asylum.org, while homosexual activity is illegal, the law is only sporadically enforced. There is a degree of tolerance in cities where there are more holiday resorts. Nevertheless, it still contravenes traditional Islamic morality and traditional gender roles, and as such is stigmatized and viewed as immoral. Cross-dressing is also considered to be taboo. The LGBTI community is at risk of arrest as well as verbal and physical violence. They are socially marginalized and must keep their sexual orientation a secret. According to the UNHCR report, Morocco: Treatment of Homosexuals, Moroccan society does not even “suspect” that lesbians exist. It also suggests that homosexuals who do not hide their sexual identity are at risk of being harassed by the police.
It has been reported that some who wish to engage in homosexual activities without the stigma expect some money or a gift, however small, in exchange for sex because makes it seem as though they are exploiting the other man, and therefore it is not an arrangement of mutual pleasure. Homosexuality is more severely punished than prostitution (See Asylum.org). Jour 470 reports that according to KifKif, nearly 5,000 gay men have been arrested and have spent time in jail in Morocco since the country’s independence in 1956.
There does seem to be gradual progress being made in the Moroccan LGBTI community, however. The first gay magazine, ‘Mithly’ (Arabic), was launched in April 2010 despite a large opposition. It is published by the organization KifKif, which is based in Spain, since they are not legally recognized and therefore cannot campaign openly in Morocco. ‘Mithly’ is an informal publication and has no distribution license from the Moroccan government. Most of the writers do live in Morocco, but must keep a low profile to avoid harassment. Samir Bargachi, the general co-ordinator of KifKif, hopes that the magazine will help reduce the stigma of being gay for the LGBTI community in Morocco. Abdellah Taia, an openly gay Moroccan author, hopes that this progress is indicative of a new generation with greater tolerance for the freedom of expression. (The Guardian)
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
No NGOs have been found that specifically deal with the issues facing the LGBTI community.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We have no specialist on LGBTI for Morocco, but would welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Rhiannon Archer