Published on 19th June 2020 at 17:34.
Words from your incoming LGBTQ+ Part-time Officer, Yasser.
On 13 June, The LGBTQ+ community lost Sarah Hegazi.
Sarah was a vocal activist for LGBTQ+ rights in Egypt and was arrested in 2017 for holding the rainbow flag at a music concert.
The cruelty of this arrest and the horrible treatment Sarah received during three months prison detention left their marks on Sarah's mental health and wellbeing long after her departure from Egypt.
Sarah was granted asylum in Canada, where she continued her activism. Sarah’s activism did not end after leaving Egypt in 2017, and she continued to be a vocal force advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in Egypt and the Middle East.
She suffered for years from PTSD after leaving Egypt, as a result of the inhumane, horrific treatment she received at the hands of the authorities in Egypt, and from increasing harassment online after speaking publicly about her experience as member of the LGBTQ+ community in Egypt.
Sarah took her own life on Saturday 13 June 2020. You can read about Sarah's story here.
Sarah’s fight should not end here. Let us commemorate her and show our loss by speaking up! It is our responsibility to continue the fight for LGBTQ+ equal rights everywhere.
In this cruel world, where statutes matter more than human lives, we should continue to remind ourselves and the world that our fight for LGBTQ+ rights is not over!
Whether in Egypt, Uganda, Turkey, Brunei, China, the UK, or anywhere else in the world, we have a long way ahead.
So what can be done?
You can support organizations in Egypt and the Middle East defending LGBTQ+ rights, including:
- The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. They provide free legal support and defence for members of LGBTQ+ community in cases of false imprisonment. Read their report here.
- Arab Network for Knowledge about Human rights
- Amnesty International, Egypt
These are just few suggestions - there are many more. Please feel free to share, circulate and make more suggestions.
Let's turn this into a Moment for Change.