THE AGAINST NATURE JOURNAL

published by Council

 

 

 

THE AGAINST NATURE JOURNAL is a biannual arts and human rights magazine exploring “crime against nature” laws and their legacies, in print, in person, and online. Authors and readers from law, activism, social sciences, and the arts are brought together to foster dialogue on sexual and reproductive rights and rethink nature anew.

 

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Love in the Time of Corona

by Naoufal Bouzid

 

I’m not a naive, optimistic person, and I’ve always been proud of being rational and stoic, especially when looking at the present and what the future might hold. However, I cannot deny my feelings of loneliness during the enforced solitude in this time of Covid-19. I have also witnessed the beauty of my country, both in the solidarity of the people and the relative coherence of the government—though, realistically, this will probably only last no more than a couple of months.

 

A few days after the lockdown, on April 13, the Moroccan, transgender, Instagram-infuencer Naoufal Moussa (aka SofíaTalouni) encouraged the use of location-based dating apps, usually used by gay men and often, to “out” others within the community. Many people took up their proposition and created fake pro les, then they started taking screenshots and pictures of other users and posting them on Facebook. As a result, between fifty and one hundred people were outed against their will, which caused a huge wave of hate against the LGBTQ+ community on social media.

 

I am talking about a community that has never learned to communicate in public or to support each other, nor the skills to fight back; there is no history of shared struggle. However, in this case the LGBTQ+ community started listing the attackers and mapping the victims, coordinating support for those who found themselves in need of assistance or a shelter.

 

I was personally surprised to see such solidarity inside the LGBTQ+ community in Morocco. For the first time in history, this episode managed to unite all the colors of the rainbow in my country, with LGBTQ+ people reaching out to the world with their little phones, from the corners of their little houses, among families who were completely unaware of the tragedy affecting the gay community.

 

What Sofía did must be taken as a general lesson. It comes as a result of political decisions made over recent generations, resulting in poor education and a strong iron-fisted government, which without the will to recognize its responsibility in creating a community of cultural and sexual acceptance stops anyone courageously standing against it.

 

As human rights activists and engaged citizens, we don’t want anything more than basic common sense and rights to an environment which will allow us to grow, so to help our country grow. I’m not a fan of victimization speeches, but I wish to see LGBTQ+ groups being able to officially register as organizations, and to no longer have to work in the shadows for fear of being caught. Being deprived of the freedom of organization, and thus of assembly, is what makes the situation here a lot worse.

 

I don’t think I demand too much as a citizen of this country when I say I need to have the right to protect my privacy, far from the judgment of the law and away from the culture of scriptural interpretation. We are not seeking the impossible when we ask for a fundamental cultural revolution that eases the way to political and social change. Until then, I’m happy to see that the new LGBTQ+ generation has found an alter- native underground solution to organizing themselves around the love they have for one another, not waiting nor caring about having the permission to fight for a better colored life.

 

Naoufal Bouzid is an African LGBTI activist from Morocco. He is the cofounder of Equality Morocco. For over ten years he has worked with local and international human rights NGOs and been involved in different cam-paigns for the decriminalization of homosexuality and raising awareness of LGBTI issues in Morocco.

Map

The greyscale color grade shows the spectrum from Protection (against discrimination based on sexual orientation) to Criminalisation (of consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults). The darkest areas represent where there is Constitutional Protection and the lightest, where Death Penalty still exists.

 

The data presented in this map is based on “State-Sponsored Homophobia”, an International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) report by Lucas Ramón Mendos, December 2019. Courtesy of ILGA World. Map drawn by Stepan Lipatov.