Being Queer in Casablanca

BY Marouane Malek

Being Queer in Casablanca
Photo by Jordan González


Overall, Morocco is against LGBTQ+ communities. Rules, regulations and laws are in place against these communities. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, deemed unacceptable for heterosexual couples let alone queer folk. Unfortunately, queer people could be targets of hatred. This reality is heartbreaking but the fight continues at both the individual and collective levels to prompt positive change. Moroccan’s judge mainly on physicality and appearance, rather than personality. Chances are a queer person would be mistreated, subject to physical and verbal harassment by opportunists who exploit difference and vulnerability. Being queer in the city is bold, almost heroic and demands incommensurable courage.

I interviewed a friend of mine who identifies as queer to shed more light on the situation. Her identity remains anonymous:

“Article 489 – a law prohibiting “lewd or unnatural acts” between individuals of the same sex, carrying a penalty of up to three years imprisonment – speaks for itself. We "queers” are treated the same way as rapists and paedophiles for our actions. PDA is a neyney for everyone, holding hands is the one thing we don’t do, it doesn't matter if you own it or do not care...we do not hold hands. Thankfully, in my case, I am able to protect myself on a physical level, but other queer folks get a lot of abuse. The way I dress impacts the way people interact with me – their level of respect and their tone of voice – sometimes the disgust in people's faces is overwhelming. Life in the city is quite limited during the daytime, but once the lights are off, we get to contribute to the art scene and be free, the youth of Casablanca are relatively open to diversity and love.”