In Morocco, homosexuality is illegal. Which puts the gay community in danger. Even more so, during the Covid-19 restrictions being enforced in that country. As many activists have pointed out, the Covid-19 restrictions prevent gay men from leaving their abusive families. It’s bad enough that gay men have to deal with the limits that their government and families put on them. It’s worse having to deal with harassment from random infulencers.
Sofia Taloni, used Instagram Live to encourage women to set up fake accounts on gay chat apps. She was aiming to show how many gay men use the platforms-potentially their own family members. She wanted to “out” gay men who were hiding their sexuality. Men were using apps in order to link up in private, because Morocco has made LGBT organizations and meeting places illegal.
Photos of these men quickly circulated on the internet, leading to their abuse and harrassment. This action has put men in a deep depression. There is a FaceBook group called Moroccan LGBT Community, which gives support and advice to LGBT people. Since the online campaign, the number of men reporting abuse and asking for help has increased dramatically since the Instagram campaign. One student, who returned from France during the lockdown, committed suicide after identifying as gay.
Activists are encouraging these men to close down their accounts. Taloni’s account has been suspended. Unfortunately, the government and the police are still failing to protect or support gay men. Human Rights Watch is calling on the Moroccan government to enact the right to privacy. They are also hoping for the government to legalize homosexuality. This would allow gay males to receive better protections from law enforcement.