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Egyptian Government Uses Grindr To Arrest Gay Men

From Hook-Ups To Homophobia

In the Arab world, social media has always been synonymous with freedom and democracy. It was used extensively during the Arab Spring as means to organize their protests against the dictatorships. The Egyptian government has turned social media against its people and especially against the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community.

Grindr, which essentially lets you see which gay men are in your vicinity, has sent out a warning to all its Egyptian users. Egyptians now logging on to Grindr will have a short message appear on their home screen: "Egypt is arresting LGBT people, and the police may be posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you. Please be careful about arranging meetings with people you don't know, and be careful about posting anything that might reveal your identity." This heavily suggests that the Egyptian government may have accounts on Grindr to find and arrest gay Egyptian men.

While Grindr has recently gone under fire for a new design feature that allows users to pinpoint other users exact location, it has taken other measures to keep its users safe in countries with a history of violence against the LGBT community. Users in these countries will have their location and distance automatically hidden from other users. 

Being gay is technically not illegal in Egypt, but since the democratic government was overthrown a massive campaign against the gay community has been implemented like never before. Six men have been arrested and condemned to two years in jail for advertising their flat as a place where gay men could come to have sex for a fee. This is one of the first cases in Egypt where the evidence was gathered online. But Egypt is not the only country that is using social media to find and harshly condemn the LGBT community. A man in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 450 lashes and 3 years in jail for tweeting about being gay.

Harsh sentencing and violent reactions to the LGBT community has been around for a long time; countries who are more accepting of the community have governments that are becoming more progressive and less controlling. Sadly this is not the case for Egypt, despite its population taking to social media to overthrow the dictatorship four years ago. These revolutionary tools are now being used against them, to impose the government's own conservative and homophobic values

In response to the Egyptian government's actions people have taken to Twitter to voice their protest, creating the hashtag #stopjailinggays

Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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Egyptian Government Uses Grindr To Arrest Gay Men Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, September 29, 2014 Rating: 5
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