Monthly Archives: September 2012

Cairo: homophobs or metrosexuals?

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Egyptian society is multilayered and diverse just like any other society in the world. Yet there are a lot of things I find hard to understand. I cannot understand how such a homophobic society can have such high numbers of men openly expressing their feelings towards each other?

While it is considered illegal to kiss in public, holding hands is fine. You cannot see that many couples holding hands, but you see a lot of young men holding hands.

Men walking hand in hand Cairo By Downtown Traveler

Men walking hand in hand Cairo By Downtown Traveler

And here is another picture:

Two Egyptian men walk past a polling station in Cairo. The Hindu

Two Egyptian men walk past a polling station in Cairo. The Hindu

My friend and I once went to a house party in Cairo. It was a hot evening on a balcony with a lot of tea, coffee and hash. People were relaxed and rather happy. Two guys were standing at a corner talking. One of them was sitting on top of the balcony’s railings with his legs spread, the other guy was standing in front of him touching his shoulders in a very intimate way. It was such an intimate moment for them that I thought they were lovers and everyone seemed fine with that. No one gave them angry or judgmental looks. So I thought “Wow those people are so accepting.” Later on I shared my observations with a friend who rejected my suspicion. Apparently this kind of behavior is common among the straight men here. Well, I still find it hard to believe…

Also men walk around wearing pink shiny glittery t-shirts. Imagine any, let’s say, American here: he would definitely think that all these men are gays. Unfortunately they are not …most likely  they are homophobic. They probably have no clue how gay they might appear to some people …