Tunisia: Lesbian community mobilises against deep-rooted prejudice

Nawel was in Tunis’s city centre when it happened. “This guy came up to me from nowhere. He was dressed really religiously and, without any warning, he just slapped me across the face – and the weird thing was that it wasn’t just the slap. It was that no one did anything. They all just carried on. It was if I deserved it.”

Nawel shakes her head, still stung by the casual indifference of the crowd. There isn’t anything unusual about her that might mark her out for attack. With her short hair, jeans and T-shirt she is indistinguishable from many other young women.

But perceptions of gender are strictly defined in Tunisia, right down to the way people are expected to dress and act, and her appearance encompasses certain qualities traditionally considered masculine. In a male-dominated society, the manner in which women dress and define themselves is a sensitive issue; that Nawel is gay adds to the apparent readiness of people to see her as challenging. Read More via the Guardian