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Gay men are being harassed and abused in Morocco after photos taken from gay chat apps were ten online. Photos lhbt after a social media influencer told her followers to make fake s on apps to see how common homosexuality is. Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country, which is in lockdown because of coronavirus.
The restrictions mean many men are unable to leave their homes where families abuse them, activists say. One man, a student who returned from France during the lockdown, killed himself after being identified as gay, Moroccan media report. The of men reporting abuse and asking for help has increased since the online campaign began, says Mr Mouti, who griup Morocco to study for a PhD in the UK.
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Everyone knows now that I'm homosexual, and cha neighbour sexually harassed me, so I decided to flee," he told the group. The outings began when transgender model and influencer Sofia Taloni used an Instagram Live to encourage women in Morocco to set up fake s on gay chat apps. In doing so, she said they would discover how many men use the platforms, including potentially "their husbands and brothers".
She said her aim was to call out hypocrisy in Moroccan society by showing people how many men are secretly gay in the country. Many men use apps including Grindr as a way to connect in private, because LGBT organisations or meeting places are illegal in Morocco.
However, photos of men quickly started circulating on other social media platforms, resulting in their abuse and harassment. The LGBT community in Morocco routinely faces discrimination and violence, but this campaign coincides with lockdown and the holy month of Ramadan.
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You might be in lockdown with homophobic family, and with Ramadan, people are very concerned about morality, and things might get heated," Mr Mouti explains. If men feel forced out of their homes lgvt of intimidation, they have nowhere to stay because hotels are closed and special permission is required to travel between cities, the organisations told BBC News.
Those who have not managed to leave their homes are in "severe situations" with their families, Nassawiyat explained. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has suspended Ms Taloni's. The company told Reuters it was "taking proactive steps to find and remove other content like this".
But victims of abuse and harassment can expect no support from the police or government, activists say. Human Rights Watch is calling on the Moroccan government to enforce the right to privacy chzt decriminalise same-sex relations.
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One man contacted the Facebook group to say he feels like "a dead man". You might also be interested in:.
How Morocco became a haven for gay westerners in the s Why are some places gay-friendly and others not? Now activists are encouraging men to close their s to protect themselves.