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24 Mar 2023

Hook-up apps warn users in Egypt to beware of police entrapment as persecution of queer men intensifies

Police are reportedly using online dating apps to trick men to reveal their identites, leading to arrest and prosecution.

LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr has urged all users in Egypt to be vigilant following reports that police are using the app to conduct sting operations and arrest queer men.
Increasing numbers of LGBTQ+ are people being arrested, beaten and abused by police officers using dating apps and digital platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
In response, Grindr has released a country-wide announcement, condemning the police action and warning LGBTQ+ users to tread carefully when using the app to meet others.
Police are also reportedly hacking into legitimate user profiles on the app to make arrests.
PinkNews has been told that more than 150 people have been arrested with Egyptian police using entrapment schemes.
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“Our hearts are with our community in Egypt,” a spokesperson from Grindr told PinkNews.
“Grindr is working with groups on the ground to make sure our users have up-to-date information on how to stay safe, and we are pushing international organisations and governments to demand justice and safety for the Egyptian LGBTQ community.”
Reports from LGBTQ+ people in the country suggest that police are hiring informers to infiltrate other dating apps, including Tinder and Bumble, to “seduce” members of the community before arresting them.
‘I’m worried I’ll be slaughtered’
Darius (not their real name), an LGBTQ+ person from Port Said, told PinkNews they’ve stopped walking in the streets out of fear and are desperately looking for a way to escape the country.
Queer men using Grindr have become targets. ( Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)
“Me and my friends got a voice note that said 28 gay people were arrested by police and then forced to call their friends so they could get arrested too,” they explained.
“A couple of months ago, one of our friends was found dead. I’m not safe at all.”
According to Darius, police are taking people’s phones for “evidence” then calling the names in their contact lists to see if they are LGBTQ+.
They were also informed that their name was on a long list of people who were being tracked by the police.
“I don’t leave my house unless someone will take me with a car,” Darius adds.
“I’m really worried that if I leave the house, I’m going to get slaughtered like a chicken.”
Human Rights Watch said digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Grindr are not doing enough to protect LGBTQ+ people.
It also urged the authorities in Egypt to respect international and regional obligations to protect the human rights of LGBTQ+ people.
“Online abuses against LGBT people have offline consequences that reverberate throughout their lives and can be detrimental to their livelihood, mental health and safety,” Rasha Younes, a senior researcher for LGBT Rights at Human Rights Watch, said.

Younes added that while digital platforms have enabled LGBT people to express themselves and amplify their voices, they have also become tools for state-

sponsored oppression.


Dating apps are proactively warnign users in Egypt to be extra vigilant amid reports that police are using online dating profiles to entrap gay men into revealing their identity - leading to their arrest and prosecution.

Press reports estimate that at least 150 gay men have been arrested by Egyptian police using dating app entrapment.

It's believed that once arrested, men are being forced to reveal their social networks - incriminating friends and sexual contacts. It seems that the authorities are creating files on anyone suspected of being gay and then building evidence to enable an arrest.

What's life like for LGBTQ people in Egypt?

What's life like for LGBTQ people in Egypt? Let's take a look at some of the key equality indicators.

While there’s so specific law in Egypt that criminalises homosexuality, the country does have several provisions that criminalise any behaviour or the expression of any idea that is deemed to be immoral, scandalous, or offensive to the teachings of a recognised religious leader.

Egypt is a socially conservative country, and these public morality and public order-based laws are being used against LGBTQ people as well as anyone who supports more liberal attitudes.In an increasingly hostile environment, it’s being reported by Human Rights Watch that police in Egypt are using dating apps to identify and persecute gay men.

Men interviewed by Human Rights Watch all told similar stories of being arrested on charges of debauchery, prostitution, selling alcohol, or joining a terrorist group. Once in custody, they were subjected to days and sometimes months of abuse such as anal examinations, beatings, rape, and sexual assault.

How did we get here?

The public decency laws that are used to persecute queer people began to emerge in the early 1960s. The laws were initially intended to tackle prostitution – they refer to ‘debauchery’ and authorities have interpreted that to include a prohibition on homosexuality.

The systematic crackdown on LGBTQ people appears to have begun around 2000, continuing unabated after the revolution in 2011.

The queer history of Ancient Egypt

Obviously, the existence of queer men and women is nothing new in any part of the world. In Egypt, our recorded history can be traced back to ancient times.

One of the most prominent same-sex relationships of Ancient Egypt is that of Nyankh-Khnum and Khnum-hotep.Nyankh-Khnum and Khnum-hotep lived and served under pharaoh Niuserre during the 5th Dynasty (c. 2494–2345 BC). Both men had families of their own with children and wives, but when Nyankh-Khnum and Khnum-hotep died, they were buried together in the same tomb. In the tomb, several paintings depict both men embracing each other and touching their faces nose-on-nose – in Ancient Egypt, this gesture represented a kiss.

There is little evidence surviving that gives any great insight into LGBTQ life in Ancient Egypt. Any sexually orientated stories recorded in documents or literature are never explicit but use abstract references. No record has been found that indicates any negative views towards homosexuality, or any punishments for same-sex encounters.

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