By Richard Ammon
Updated January 2017
A near-unanimous Muslim population in Algeria makes the fight for rights of gays a dangerous place and struggle. It is a huge country about the size of Western Europe with most of it rural desert with widely scattered villages and towns, many far from the major urban centers of the country. There are only ten cities with a population of over 200,000, the largest being Algiers (almost 2 million), the capital. Boumerdas, Oran and Tebessa each have more than half a million people.
Such large populations offer a degree of anonymity for LGBT citizens from prying eyes but not complete insulation. Arab families are traditionally adhesive and know one another’s public and private lives, so secrets are not always easily kept. Being LGBT is a ‘severe’ secret that even if known is kept deep in the closet. More recently brave rights activists have held meetings to work for awareness and tolerance.
An organization called TransHomos-DZ was formed in 2006 to advocate for gay rights and recognition and bring some light to the Algerian darkness around sexual diversity. Their tenth anniversary came in October 10, 2016 and was designated as ‘TenTen’ to commemorate the date when activists from different cities of the country first formed one community to begin the struggle against intolerance.
“Whenever we are hated because of our difference our desires of dignity inevitably inspired more people to join our collective to defy this unspeakable injustice… we call for open hearts and minds to understand that dignity and rights of gays are full part of the human effort to defend. We call for a stop to thinking that human rights can be divided among ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ beings. LGBT people cannot be avoided. We invite all others to light our candle and realize the light is ours and theirs. We have the greatest of hope for a free and dignified life.”
TransHomos-DZ have produced a significant report detailing transgressions against LGBT Algerians: http://transhomosdz.org/2016/11/27/violence-in-everyday-life-against-lgbtiq-in-algeria/
In the report they portray several individual stories of persecution and dangerous encounters from one’s family (a gay and a lesbian) who beat them and locked them in a room. The woman was forced to marry a brutal man. Another about a university law student who was cruelly beaten and required stitches in his head… The stories are hard to read about the violent and bloody attacks on innocent young LGBT people who lives were ruined because of the fanatical–maniacally–hatred of supposedly straight Muslim parents, siblings, friends or strangers. See more in the report.
Also see: ‘Cruising the Kashbah’ (2015) by Austin Mullins. A lusty informative blog with graphic language. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/austin-blake-mullins/cruising-the-kashbah_b_8805412.html
Also see: ‘Being Gay in Algeria; I’ll Never Live with the One I Love’ (2013) by Assiya. A lesbian’s heartfelt lament. http://www.france24.com/en/20131011-gay-lesbian-algeria-lgbt-arab-muslim-homosexual-rainbow-marriage
Also see: ‘The Asylum Door Inches Towards Closure’ (2016) by Inel Tarfa. LGBT asylum in Europe. http://www.tunisia-live.net/2016/04/27/lgbt-rights-in-the-maghreb-and-the-case-for-asylum/