Your Kind Is Not Welcome Here

A Study on the Treatment of Queer Foreigners by the Egyptian Authorities

Executive Summary:

The report analyses how Egypt treats queer foreigners once they are identified as queer. The information is based on an analysis of Egypt’s immigration laws and case law related to queer people under this law. The report is also based on the analysis of 12 incidents that happened from 2018 to 2022, which involved queer foreigners’ interactions with the authorities. While the treatment of queer foreigners can be arbitrary and highly dependent on the officer or civil servant the queer person is dealing with, some patterns can be identifiable.

The Main findings of the report are:

  1. Egyptian law and case law gives the Ministry of Interior broad powers to deport or deny entry to anyone who disturbs public order and morality; this was interpreted to mean allowing the denial of entry and deportation of those perceived as queer or are actually queer, once identified by the authorities. 
  2. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people are most vulnerable to being denied entry to Egypt because of the mismatch between their gender identity/expression and the information on their passports. All cases documented here involved Transgender and gender-nonconforming people who did not or do not wish to change their legal documents, which make them more vulnerable than others who did change their legal documents. 
  3. Queer refugees also engage in sex work to support themselves, which makes them most vulnerable to arrest and prison. However, there has been no recorded attempt by the State to deport queer refugees who are convicted after serving their prison time. Still, this can change in the future, as the Egyptian State does have a record of deporting refugees before, but for other reasons besides sex work or queerness. Egypt also has a record of deporting non-refugee sex workers, especially females. 
  4. Other foreigners who are not refugees are arrested and deported directly without going to trial or having to spend prison time. Some exceptions exist, mainly if the authorities are sure that the person is also engaged in sex work and not only queer.
  5. While judicial customs are to prosecute both parties in male sex work cases (buyer and sex workers), the authorities make an exception for Gulf States citizens, who are treated as “a victim” and do not face any legal consequences, whether arrest, deportation, or prison time. This is consistent with the general Egyptian authorities’ attitude towards sex tourists from the Gulf, as they are often allowed to get away with whatever they do due to their importance as a viable source of income to the Egyptian State.  

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