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“I froze as a human being for a while,” one Egyptian called Omar told me. There were so many horrific stories about people being imprisoned or blackmailed or put under some sort of pressure for their sexuality.
It was disturbing.” Egypt’s state media has largely cheered on the crackdown, treating a 2014 raid on the Bab al-Bahr bathhouse as more of a tabloid drama than a human rights issue.
Eventually, the authorities offered him an informal deportation — a chance to leave the country, in exchange for signing away his asylum rights and paying for the ticket himself.
He jumped at the chance, leaving Egypt behind forever. As LGBTQ Egyptians flock to apps like Grindr, Hornet, and Growlr, they face an unprecedented threat from police and blackmailers who use the same apps to find targets.
Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Egypt, but the LGBTQ community has become a useful scapegoat for the el-Sisi regime, and the General Directorate for Protecting Public Morality is being used to jail and prosecute anyone perceived as committing a transgression.