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Video seeks relief for harassed LGBT Moroccans

Video seeks relief for harassed LGBT Moroccans

Hamza walks through a Moroccan market in a scene from the series "Kaynin," or "We Exist." (Photo courtesy of YouTube)
Hamza walks through a Moroccan market in a scene from the series “Kaynin,” or “We Exist.” (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

“After a while, I began to accept the person I am, and that I am not abnormal or unnatural as they believe. But then I faced the cruelty of society and the criminalization of homosexuality in the law.”  — Hamza, a youth Moroccan gay man in a the new YouTube series “Kaynin”

Those are some of the introductory words in the first show in a series from the LGBTI magazine Aswat. The shows are intended to spark debate about the treatment of LGBT people in Morocco, where same-sex intimacy is punishable by six months to three years in prison.

The show, in Arabic with English subtitles, runs for 6:40 minutes on YouTube. In it, Hamza, whose face is never shown, says he was kicked out of his family’s home and then dropped out of school:

“Homophobia was following me in childhood and is still following me now. In my case, ever since I was a child, my family and school had issues with me. For instance, my mom would punish me and put chili pepper in my mouth because I was not as masculine as the neighbors’ kids.

“I was just a child back then who didn’t even know what a man or woman should behave like.

“When I started school, I started struggling because I was different from the other kids, which caused me problems. …

“The students used to bully me and harass me with offensive slogans, which made me skip classes so I can avoid them. …

“The biggest problem is when your family fights you. It makes you collapse psychologically. When I was 14, for example, my brother put pressure on my head with his foot and broke my two front teeth. …

“There are no laws to protect me. If I go to the police I would become the criminal. …

“I am not saying this to have pity from anyone or to appear as a victim, because we are all victims when it comes to our rights — the right to education, the right to free expression, the right to freedom of belief, the right to work, the right to a good health system. We are all victims.

“I am saying this because I have the right to live in a society where everyone accepts me  and accepts all those who are different.”

Agence France-Presse reported about the show:

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Activists seeking to draw attention to violence that Moroccan gays and lesbians suffer at the hands of homophobes have launched a web television series about their plight, they said [Oct. 22].

The first episode of the online series — which is titled “Kaynine,” [actually, “Kaynin”], Arabic for “We Exist” — covers the experience of a Moroccan homosexual who is only identified as Hamza. …

In the clip posted on YouTube, Hamza explains that in class his fellow students used to jeer him, and on the street he would even be stoned.

“The idea is to speak of the violence against sexual minorities by disseminating new testimony in each episode,” Marwan Bensaid, one of those behind the project, told AFP.

“We ask for nothing more than to treat these sexual minorities like the rest of society… as humans and citizens,” he added, calling for a debate on the subject.

The first episode of Kaynine was uploaded to YouTube on October 12, and it has since been viewed more than 187,000 times [now 209,580 times].

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