A Cairo court just released 17 people who had been arrested for “practicing homosexuality,” but not before security forces interrogated them, anally probed them, and — we’re assuming — asked them personal questions about how gay sex works. (“YOU’LL SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO, SCUM! … OK, so who’s the ‘guy’ and who’s the ‘girl?’”)
The arrests had been part of a wider crackdown that launched in October, when Egyptian authorities arrested several individuals for raising a rainbow flag at a concert. Ironically, the group they were cheering on, Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila, is fronted by openly gay lead singer, Hamed Sinno. Despite the fact that homosexuality was not and had never been explicitly criminalized in Egypt, authorities began arresting not just people who attended the concert, but people who happened to use gay sex apps in the days following. They also carried out “anal examinations” on at least five of those arrested, because we all know that the best way to determine someone’s sexuality is to stimulate their prostate.
The 17 released individuals, who have been sentenced to three years in prison unless they pay a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($285), are now free to appeal their ruling in a higher court.
Honestly, though, none of this is surprising. Sure, Egyptian authorities have a troubling history of persecuting homosexuals — but they also have a troubling history of persecuting literally everyone else. A pop singer was recently detained in Cairo merely for eating a banana too suggestively in her music video.
That’s not to mention the laundry list of baffling legal codes elsewhere in Africa. For instance, did you know that in Guinea it’s illegal to name your child “Monica?” Why can’t we apply a similar law to celebrity baby names like Julia Stiles’ “Strummer Newcomb?” Also, it’s apparently possible for an actor in Ghana to be jailed for “acting in too many movies,” which should immediately be borrowed by the United States and applied to Nicolas Cage so that he can retain some dignity.