Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco but the publishers of a gay magazine feel its launch is a sign of progress
With gay rights under attack across Africa, it might not seem the best time to launch a magazine for homosexual people there. But the owners of Mithly believe the launch of the magazine in Morocco is a sign of progress in a country where most gay men and lesbians tend to keep their sexuality secret. Since its launch last month, Mithly – the title is an Arabic word meaning “the same as me”, signifying gay – has covered subjects including the controversy over Elton John playing at a music festival in the country, a study of suicide among gay Moroccans and a book by an Algerian transsexual named Randa. The Arabic-language publication has sold 200 copies so far. The paper edition circulated informally because it lacked a distribution licence from the government, said Samir Bargachi, general co-ordinator of Kif-Kif, Morocco’s only gay rights group and the magazine’s publisher. Kif-Kif – a north African expression that translates roughly as “all the same” – is based in Spain, has not been legally recognised in Morocco and cannot campaign openly. Most of Mithly’s writers live in Morocco but keep a low profile.