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Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Tunisia!

Thirty-five LGBTQ+ and human rights groups united today to dispel the false belief, spread by flawed news articles, that Tunisia has accepted same-sex marriage.

From the African Human Rights Media Network

Out magazine’s article about same-sex marriage in Tunisia was accompanied by these two photos — an LGBTQ+ protest (left) and Shams president Mounir Baatour, who has fled to France to escape prosecution in Tunisia.

The 35 organizations also expressed their solidarity in the ongoing struggle for justice and equality in the Middle East / North Africa.

The false belief began spreading in late April after the Tunisian LGBTQ+ rights group Shams posted on Facebook that the French marriage of French man and a Tunisian man had been registered in Tunisia.

That bureaucratic action apparently was either a mistake or a misunderstanding, but it led to news coverage implying a change in Tunisia’s position on same-sex marriage. The misimpression was conveyed by headlines and articles in many publications, including Out magazine (“This Gay Marriage Was Recognized in Tunisia — Now There’s an Uproar”) ; the Jerusalem Post (“Tunisia may have become first Arab country to recognize gay marriage”); and the U.K.’s Daily Mail (“LGBT group claims Tunisia has become the first Arab state to recognise gay marriage despite homosexuality being illegal in the country.”)

Organizations that signed today’s letter about same-sex marriage in Tunisia.

The 35 groups declared today:

Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Tunisia!

Despite the news that has been circulating across news platforms and social media lately, same-sex marriage is still illegal and not recognized in Tunisia, regardless of where the marriage has occurred.

We urge journalists, allies, and other organizations to stop sharing this misinformation and to get information and news from reliable sources and from activists who are in touch with the situation.

Homosexuality in Tunisia is still punishable with three (3) years of imprisonment according to article 230 of the penal code. The sharing and spreading of this misinformation all over the media has only contributed to creating more tensions and violence towards LGBTIQ+ people.

It created more hostility by putting the queer community under the spotlight, with queerphobic people targeting the community and spreading hate speech.

Queer activism is growing stronger in Tunisia and in the Mena region

Amidst the struggle, the tension, and the vulnerability aggravated by COVID-19, Queer activism is still going strong in Tunisia and in the rest of the Mena Region. Formal and informal LGBTIQ+ organizations and alliances continue to exist and to contribute to the fight for sexual and bodily rights of queer people.

There are many projects and initiatives that aim to support members of the Queer / LGBTQI + community, through legal, medical, social support, capacity building, but also through art as a way to raise awareness and to create a safe space to consolidate our intersectional vision of the fight.

We all admire the efforts and courage of the queer organizations in the whole MENA region. We have been networking and working together regardless of the attempts to make our fights invisible, and we commit to continue our work putting the safety and security of the LGBTIQ+ community as our top priority.

We are in solidarity with LGBTIQ+ communities, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and sex workers against oppression and violence.

We exist and we will keep on fighting for justice and equal rights for all !


Initiative Mawjoudin pour l’égalité (Tunisia)مبادرة موجودين للمساواة

Association tunisienne de prévention positive / ATP+ (Tunisia) الجمعية التونسية للوقاية الايجابية

Damj pour la justice et l’égalité (Tunisia) دمج للعدالة والمساواة

Association Outcast (Tunisia) جمعية منبوذات

Association Alwani (Tunisia) جمعية ألواني للتنمية

Gayday magazine (Tunisia)

Collectif Intersexes tunisien المجموعةالتونسيّة للبينين.ات جنسيا

Association pour la promotion du droit à la différence – جمعية تفعيل حق الاختلاف (Tunisia)

Amnesty International section tunisienne – منظمة العفو الدولية فرع تونس

Kun organisation (Libya) كُن

Collectif Aswat contre les discriminations (Morocco)

Kasbah Tal’fin (Morocco)

Coalition Maghrébine Queer (Maghreb)

My.Kali Magazine (MENA region) – منصة ماي كالي الإقليمية

Queer Of the Bled (international) – كوير أوف ذو بلاد

Quzah (Libya) – قزح

Mosaic (Lebanon) – موزاييك

Dynamique Trans (Morocco) – دينامية الترانس

Nassawiyat (Morocco) – نسويات

Liqaat – لقاءات (Morocco)

Groupe d’action féministe (Morocco)

Rainbow Street (international) رينبو ستريت

Collectif SAQFE-سقف (Morocco)

Atyaf – أطياف (Morocco)

Aman – أمان (Jordan)

Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFEMENA) (Lebanon) – المؤسسة العربية للحريات و المساواة

Mesahat Foundation for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Egypt & Sudan مؤسسة مساحات للتعددية الجنسية و الجندرية في مصر و السودان

Access Now (international)

Young Queer Alliance ( Mauritius)

Success Capital (Botswana)

Association des Jeunes Leaders pour l’éducation et le Développement Socio-Économique en Afrique (AJLEDSE Africa)

African Queer Youth Initiative (Africa)

Aswat Nissa (Tunisia)

Shades of ebony ظلال الابنوس (sudan)

Dana Social Group