LGBT rights in Morocco
|LGBT rights in Morocco|
Morocco and claimed territories
|Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status||Illegal|
|6 months to 3 years imprisonment, fine|
|Part of a series on|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Morocco face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco. Morocco's statutes and culture towards LGBT issues stands in stark contrast to that of neighboring Spain.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Article 489 of the Penal Code of Morocco criminalises "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex". Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco and can be punished with anything from 6 months to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dirhams. However, the law is sporadically enforced by the authorities, with a degree of tolerance extended to homosexuality in the holiday resorts like Marrakesh. The legal status of LGBT people living in Morocco stems largely from traditional Islamic morality, which views homosexuality and cross dressing as signs of immorality.
In 2016, two girls were arrested in Marrakesh after one's cousin took a photo of them kissing. This sparked international outcry and the use of the hashtag #freethegirls. Their case was postponed until December 2016. In early December 2016, the two girls were acquitted.
None of the major or minor political parties have made public statements in favor of LGBT-rights and no LGBT rights legislation has been enacted. Government attitudes towards homosexuality tend to be in the interests of the protection of the tradition of the country, in keeping with the culture's traditional gender roles and religious mores. It has banned books on homosexuality and required schools to teach a curriculum that "emphasises...the danger and depravity of "unnatural acts". Moreover, on 21 March 2008, a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior revealed the full and wide scope of the government's agenda: to "preserve citizens' ethics and defend our society against all irresponsible actions that mar our identity and culture".
In terms of foreign policy, the government opposed the participation of an International Gay and Lesbian Rights Representative at the 2001 United Nations Conference on AIDS-HIV. They also opposed a United Nations resolution that would have formally condemned discriminatory anti-gay laws.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
Discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is not addressed in any Moroccan civil rights laws. Most Moroccan citizens were raised to believe that homosexuality and gender identity are signs of western decadence or immorality and the government does not consider it "in the best interests of the people of Morocco" to formally address the issue of LGBT-rights in Morocco.[better source needed]
Traditional cultural and religious mores tend to associate cross-dressing with homosexuality. Culturally, certain forms of cross-dressing have been tolerated in areas where women were not a part. The initial lack of female actors meant that the roles often went to men, who were generally assumed to be homosexual, but were shown a modicum of tolerance.
In the 1950s, the publicity surrounding Coccinelle helped to establish Casablanca as being a place where certain doctors were willing to perform sex change operations, albeit in clandestine circumstances.
Today, it is unclear whether this reputation still exists or what the current government policy is for transgender people. A Morocco transwoman named Randa did reportedly publish a book, although little is known about its contents or commercial success.
Morocco has a male-dominated culture, a patriarchial society with traditional gender roles that prefers a male, and a female, to get married and have children. The government continues enforcing in a laid back fashion, the laws on homosexuality with several public arrests.
A court in Ksar el-Kebir, a small city about 120 kilometres south of Tangier, convicted six men on 10 December 2007 of violating article 489 of Morocco’s penal code. However, according to the defendants' lawyers, the prosecution failed to present any evidence that the men actually had engaged in the prohibited conduct.
The men were sentenced to varying terms on 17 December 2007, after a video circulated online—including on YouTube—purporting to show a private party, allegedly including the men, taking place in Ksar el-Kebir on 18 November. Press reports claimed the party was a "gay marriage." Following the arrests, dozens of men and women marched through the streets of Ksar el-Kebir, denouncing the men's alleged actions and calling for their punishment.
In 2010, the government permitted openly gay singer Elton John to give a performance during the Mawazine Festival, despite objections from the Justice and Development Party, which was, at the time, the biggest opposition party in parliament. The festival was condoned by King Mohammed VI and was a part of the king's plans to create a more open and modern nation.
Abdellah Taïa and Rachid O., both successful writers, have written openly about gender roles and sexual identity in Morocco, but they do not reside in Morocco. Beyond these writers, the government has tolerated the existence of one magazine for the gay community as well as one gay rights organization.
The LGBT publication Mithly has been allowed to be discreetly distributed to adults in Morocco, although the government still will not grant the publication a distribution license and the magazine itself has to be made in neighboring Spain. In a similar sense, the government will not officially recognize the LGBT rights organization, Kif-Kif, but has allowed it to exist and co-sponsor some educational seminars.
Advocacy for LGBT rights
Kif-Kif is the only organization to advocate on behalf of the LGBT community in Morocco and publishes the Mithly magazine in Spain. Established in 2004, it has not been given legal recognition by the Department of the Interior, but it has been unofficially permitted to organize certain educational seminars. Hajar Moutaouakil, a young Moroccan lesbian, posted a video on YouTube on human rights day calling for love and tolerance, but the video created controversy. She later posted her biography online.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Penalty: Up to 3 years' imprisonment.)|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples||(Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation)|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
- Abdellah Taïa
- Human rights in Morocco
- Human rights in Western Sahara—Morocco controls 80 percent of this disputed territory
- LGBT rights in Africa
- Rachid O.
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-  Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
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- SURROGACY LAW AROUND THE WORLD
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