Gay Guide Morocco

Homosexuality is illegal and is punishable under Article 489 of the Criminal Code with 6 months to 3 years imprisonment and a fine. Unlike in many countries, lesbian sex is also expressly prohibited. In 2016, a case caused worldwide outrage: two girls were arrested in Marakkech after a cousin had taken a photo of them kissing. There were campaigns in social media to help the two. In early December 2016 they were finally acquitted. Although the laws are only applied sporadically, they are intended to enable the government to control the queer community. The names of anyone who is arrested on charges of homosexual acts will be published - regardless of whether they are really gay or not. That these laws are also to be taken seriously by foreigners also is shown by an incident in 2014, when a gay British man was sentenced to four months in prison but released after protests by the British government. Morocco has a male and Muslim culture - as in many parts of the Muslim world, value is placed on the preservation of patriarchy and traditional gender roles, which is why the population is very critical of the queer community. The discrepancy between affluent tourism, oftern of European origin, and the local culture leads to a intricate situation for homosexual tourists - one could be lulled into a false sense of security. Sometimes men flirt openly and male prostitutes offer their services, money often plays an important part. Nevertheless, one should be especially careful, since the whole thing might just be a front, intended to conceal the purpose of blackmail. There is no recognition of same-sex partnerships and no protection against discrimination based on sexual identity or orientation. There is only one organisation working on behalf of the local community: Kif-Kif, which also runs a queer magazine, although it has to be printed in Spain. However, the government does not ban the magazine, nor the association - there are also some reports of Kif-Kif having educational seminars getting official funding. There have been more efforts in general in this North African country since the Arab Spring to create a more open culture.

Cities in Morocco

EssaouiraMarrakech

Location: Northwestern Africa
Initials: MAR
International country code: 212 (omit 0 from area code)
International access code: 00 (wait for tone)
Language: Arabic, Berber Dialects, French
Currency: 1 Dirham (DH) = 100 Centimes
Population: 32,521,000
Capital: Rabat
Religions: 99 % Muslims (90% Sunnite Muslems)
Climate: Mediterranean climate, hot in the interior. In the lowlands the cooler months are from Dec-Feb.

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