As the crisis for LGBTQ people in Egypt continues, gay men need to know how to stay safe, so LGBT activists in Egypt have put together this useful resource to help men in Egypt protect themselves — and their fundamental human rights. With their permission, we’re sharing their fine work.
With Egyptian police engaging in entrapment of individuals through different dating apps, it’s important to know how to stay safe.
1. Most people on dating apps are genuine, but there is still some danger, so be careful when you meet people.
2. Don’t share personal information freely.
3. Remember, your conversation is being logged on both phones. Don’t go into detail until you know you can trust the other person.
4. If you are sharing pictures, don’t share photos of your face and naked body. Beach shots are better than those taken in your bathroom.
5. If the other person doesn’t want to send photos, you can always videochat. But it’s worth mentioning that if they refuse to send pictures there may be something wrong.
6. Don’t go on a date without knowing what the other person looks like.
7. If you meet someone and they don’t look like their photo, leave immediately!
The Egyptian Penal Code
8. In Egypt, homosexuality is illegal, classified as “Debauchery.” And it doesn’t matter if it’s consensual or if money’s been exchanged — either way, you can get arrested.
9. Don’t go into detail about what you’ve done or want to do, or what you’re going to wear.
Before a date
10. Before you meet, search for his phone number on the Truecaller app, Facebook and social media.
11. Delete all private photos off your phone as well as any chats between you and your partners. If you can’t delete this information, buy a small phone and put your SIM card in it when you go to meet someone.
12. Memorize the phone numbers of a few of your most trusted friends — or write them down and put them in your wallet. Be sure to leave your full name with a trusted friend.
13. When going to meet someone, tell a friend when and where you’ll be. Also give them the other person’s phone number.
During a meeting
14. When you’re waiting to meet someone, wait inside a business or a mall — not on the street. This is especially true around Tahrir Square or Arab League streets. Many people have been arrested this way, in front of places like the Egyptian Museum or the Farghaly juice shop.
15. If your date turns out to be a trap, just Run! RUN! RUN! If you can’t run, yell for help — at least that way there will be witnesses. You’re already in danger, so don’t worry about a scandal. Silence won’t help you!
If you get arrested
16. When you are taken to the police station, they will always open a case. Do not confess to anything — your only answers should be:
- “I don’t know”
- “I don’t remember”
- “It didn’t happen”
- “It doesn’t belong to me”
17. Police may try to show sympathy to get you to confess or name names, but don’t be fooled! This is a trick so they can prove you’re guilty.
18. No matter what, reach out to a friend and tell them where you are so they can send a lawyer.
19. Deny all charges against you. No one will ever sympathize with you or will let you out if you try to repent.
20. If you are beaten, tortured or harassed at the police station, whether from the officers or other people detained, state this firmly. State it in writing in the investigation report.
21. The police officers have no right to take pictures, nor do any journalists. If they try to take your picture, refuse firmly!
Your health and well-being is important
22. Take care of your health, and always use condoms. HIV doesn’t differentiate between rich and poor.
23. Don’t drink or take anything if you don’t know what it is, even if the other person did.
24. Consent is important. Never let anyone do anything to you against your will.
Take care of yourselves!
Hornet has created this resource to ensure LGBT folks understand what their rights are, how they can protect themselves, and report when violations happen. LGBT rights are human rights and they must be defended.
Featured image by vadimba via iStock