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Tunisian LGBT Community Making Strides

  The first official LGBT advocacy group and gay pride parade seem promising, but discrimination and imprisonment are still real threats.   By Thessa Lageman  8 July 2015 There are about seven organisations in Tunisia that fight for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT), but you wouldn’t know it

Gay Life in Tunisia

Introduction: There are countless reports from many Arab/Muslim societies about persecution, harassment or imprisonment of gay citizens, from Egypt to Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia where intolerance is the common rule. But Tunisia has a history of moderation and balance between Western and Muslim ideas and lifestyles. Indeed, I saw many Mercedes and BMWs and upscale Euro-style clothing and homes in Tunis. Ironically much of this happened under the 24-year governance of a corrupt and dictatorial president who was driven from office in early 2011 that started the infamous ‘Arab Spring.’

For this story I did not meet LGBT people who were living in fear or shame. This is not to suggest LGBT Tunisians are out and free. Most are not and they live within the confines and closets imposed by conservative Muslim dictates of modesty and discretion. The people I interviewed were fortunate not to be fearful in their daily lives. Both were comfortable talking aloud to me as I took notes and asked personal questions about their lives, loves and sexuality.

Homosexuality, Tunisian Style

By John Champagne Gay and Lesbian Review May-June 2009 The Avenue Habib Bourgiba is downtown Tunis’s main thoroughfare. Built by the French colonizers as a version of the Champs Élysées and named after Tunisia’s first president, it stretches virtually from the bay of Tunis to the entrance to the medina, the ancient city. While the