Lively gay community in Algeria gains visibility

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“Light a candle to show that we exist.”

That’s the invitation that mobilized members of the community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Algerians on Oct. 10, the sixth annual Algerian National LGBT Day. It’s known as “TenTen 2012.”

Organized by the gay-friendly groups, the event is aimed at showing that LGBT people exist in Algeria while also seeking equality and protection from anti-gay violence.

One observer said that “an important development” this year, at least in terms of public awareness, was that an article about the event was published in a widely read national newspaper, El Watan.

The article, “Algerian homosexuals seek recognition,” quotes a 22-year-old gay man who said, “We suffer from a lack of visibility. It is necessary to let people know we exist.”

LGBTs in Algeria face pure, harsh, gratuitous hatred, he said. “People mostly cite religious arguments against us, but nothing prevents two people of the same sex from loving each other.”

In Algeria, homosexual relations are punishable by prison sentences of two months to two years.

But LGBT groups are active. Those associated with the Oct. 10 event include Alouen, Abu Nawas (named for an eighth-century gay Arabic poet) and Gays et Lesbiennes Algériens.

Also active in Algeria are the online lesbian magazine Lexofanzine and GayAlgerie, the online Gay and Lesbian Portal of Algeria.

by Colin Stewart
Source – Erasing 76 Crimes