Closeted gay and bisexual men are being publicly outed in the North African kingdom of Morocco, where homosexuality is illegal, as a social media campaign spearheaded by a controversial transgender beauty influencer is taking hold. Earlier this month, Naoufal Moussa, also known as Sofia Taloni, encouraged her hundreds of thousands of mainly female Instagram followers to set up fake profiles on the gay dating apps Grindr and Planet Romeo to “catfish” the men closest to them — their brothers, sons, husbands and neighbors. Moussa urged them to do so after she herself had received transphobic messages, and she was reported to have said in a subsequent video that she had hoped that exposing closeted men would make Moroccans realize how common homosexuality is in the Islamic country. This is the instagram influencer naoufalmoussa exposing the gay dating apps and telling girls how to catfish gay men pic. The identities of the unsuspecting men were reported to have been uploaded online and shared via the messaging platform WhatsApp, casting a dark cloud over Morocco’s LGBTQ community. The timing of the campaign, which started in mid-April, has been particularly worrisome, as many young Moroccans living freely in Europe have returned to quarantine with their religious families during the coronavirus pandemic. Already, there have been reports from news outlets and the international rights group Human Rights Watch of suicide , death threats and forced evictions in the country, where being gay is punishable by up to three years in prison. NBC News has not confirmed the reports. Following the outing campaign, Human Rights Watch called on the Moroccan government to repeal Article of its constitution, which punishes same-sex relations or what it calls “sexual deviancy”. Human Rights Watch said a year-old university student told the organization that after he was outed online, his brother, with whom he was living, kicked him out of the house.
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An Instagram influencer named Naoufal Moussa has sparked a dangerous trend of people outing gay men in Morocco, where homosexuality is illegal, after encouraging her Instagram followers to make fake accounts on gay dating apps, Insider and PinkNews report. Moussa, a trans woman also known as Sofia Talouni who used to live in Morocco and is now based in Turkey, told her followers April 13 to seek out gay men in an Instagram Live broadcast.
Speaking in Moroccan Arabic, she suggested that women should download gay dating apps — including Grindr, PlanetRomeo, and Hornet — and then create fake profiles using pictures of men. Any form of same-sex intimacy, including kissing, is illegal in Morocco and punishable by up to three years in prison. There is also no law against harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Several gay men, many of whom chose to remain anonymous in order to speak frankly, told Insider and PinkNews they were living in constant fear of being outed through their dating app profile, knowing that it could lead to them being harrassed, assaulted, or kicked out of their own homes in the middle of the COVID pandemic. One gay Moroccan man who chose to go by the alias Nassim believes that up to 40 men have been outed and kicked out of their homes in Casablanca alone, he told PinkNews.
He claimed that she was directing her comments to people who had insulted her for her queer identity and encouraged them to realize how many people they know were actually gay. Hamza Makhchoune, an openly gay Moroccan photographer, offered a different theory. She was angry and she did what she did. Maybe she wanted not to be the only one rejected and kicked out. Read the full reports on Insider and PinkNews. Get the best of what’s queer.
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Morocco has always been the cradle of civilization. A peaceful country that got stalled a few centuries back. Once you arrive here, you will feel that you have transported into a world of kind and warm people. Upon arrival, we will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Amman for the start of your trip. The local representative will help you settle in and introduce you to the local area. Overnight in Casablanca. We start our tour early today with a visit from the outside to the impressive Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
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At least three men have even been thrown out of their homes over the issue, according to The New York Times. Some apps have taken steps to protect users from contracting the virus but developers are under pressure to protect the identities of users in countries like Saudi Arabia where gay sex can be punishable by death. The outing of men in Morocco was sparked by a model, Sofia Taloni, who in a series of Instagram live streams told her , followers to download dating apps to locate gay men.
But those carrying out so-called catfish attacks by cultivating a fake persona can circumvent screenshot blocks by using a second phone to film the screen of another device, rights groups say. Christof Wittig, founder and CEO of Hornet, which has 30 million regular users worldwide, said his company used community moderators to flag malicious profiles and algorithms to ensure the authenticity of its users.
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Members of Morocco’s LGBT community say they fear for their lives after a prominent social media influencer sparked an online campaign to reveal their identities. The ensuing online campaign to out those identified has led to a “wave of homophobia and hate in the country,” one community member and DW reader, who did not want to be named, wrote in to DW.
It is unclear why Talouni — a gay Moroccan now living in Turkey — made the video, but retribution may have been a motive. The outing has shaken through the Moroccan LGBT community’s sense of privacy at the same moment the lockdown has made their world even smaller.