Egypt’s crackdown on transgender and gay people started almost exactly four years ago, just a few months after General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seized power. I wrote here about its first stirrings — a police raid in mid-October 2013 on an allegedly “pervert”-owned gym in a working-class corner of Cairo, followed by another raid on a party in a somewhat tonier suburb. The arrests have widened ever since, too many and too brutal for me to chronicle. Moral panic has become a mainstay of the dictatorship’s legitimacy. Now the country’s Parliament seems likely to debate a bill aimed at punishing, jailing, extirpating anything even remotely connected to homosexuality. It’s reminiscent of Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act (remember that?), which kept the international human rights community mobilized in opposition for years. In some ways, perhaps, it’s more dangerous; for here’s a government utterly contemptuous of foreign or domestic opinion, armed with enormous surveillance capacity (much of it courtesy of the United States) and limitless police power, already experienced at repression, ready to repress more.
The draft bill was submitted last week by MP Riad Abdel Sattar, along with at least twelve other sponsors. Here is the text, as published in Masrawy, an Egyptian web portal.