It can’t be that every instance of the word ‘gay’ is propaganda.

After SERB nationalist activists interrupted a play about being gay in Russia, police arrested the play’s director. We asked her what happened.

Alexandra Krasnova / TASS

On the evening of August 28, 12 activists from the SERB movement forced their way into Moscow’s Teatr.doc documentary theater and interrupted a play called Coming Out of the Closet. SERB is a radical nationalist group whose members have a history of similar attacks: In addition to targeting opposition figures, SERB has stormed or damaged multiple art exhibitions. When the group disrupted Coming Out of the Closet, multiple theater employees and audience members called the police. Officers responded by arresting the play’s director, Anastasia Patlai, as well as two audience members. One viewer was cited for disorderly conduct, and the other turned out to be under 18 years old even though he had shown theater employees a 19-year-old’s passport upon entry. We spoke with Patlai about the incident and about the suspiciously close relationship between SERB and the police.

Coming Out of the Closet has been in Teatr.doc’s repertoire for nearly three years, but before every staging, the theater’s employees still check every audience member’s passport upon entry to make sure nobody under 18 watches the show. Coming Out of the Closet is a documentary play like any other in that it is based strictly on real events: According to director Anastasia Patlai, it is based on more than 30 detailed interviews. However, a basis in fact doesn’t prevent some from seeing the performance as “gay propaganda” (the show follows Russian gay men between ages 30 and 40 as they come out to their mothers for the first time).

Even before the August 28, Patlai told Meduza, homophobic activists had targeted showings of Coming Out of the Closet at least twice. On one occasion, they called police officers before a Moscow performance of the play in July 2018. The officers arrived at Teatr.doc an hour before the show was set to begin, and Patlai explained to them that theater employees enforce a strict age limit to avoid breaking Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. When Patlai pointed the officers to groups on Russian social media sites where Internet users have posted threats against the theater, the police decided to stay for the duration of the play in case of any violence or disruption.

The second incident was much more recent, Patlai said: On Sunday, August 25, a group of known homophobic activists based in St. Petersburg targeted a showing of Coming Out of the Closet there. Patlai told Meduza that she was acting onstage as an understudy that day when she saw a man stand up in the audience and approach the stage, which is separated from viewers only by a row of columns. The man was not in uniform, she recalled, but he had a gun in his belt. Following the show, police officers arrived on the scene and began checking audience members’ passports. Evidently, they had received a call from somebody who said the play was “defiling children.” Patlai said she believed the August 28 incident was a “continuation” of what happened that night.

She and her staff began suspecting that something was wrong when one young man who came to watch the play appeared to be very nervous and took a long time to find his ticket. The man gave theater employees a copy of a passport that said he was born in 2000, but they took a picture of him and the passport nonetheless, suspecting that something might be amiss.

Patlai went on to tell Meduza that after the play began, a different man approached her in her office and expressed anger at the contents of the performance. He was followed shortly afterward by the same young man who had claimed to be 19. Both men then returned alongside 10 more adults carrying cameras and lights on selfie sticks.

Posted by Московский активист

When Patlai realized that it would be impossible to stop the group from entering the theater, she stepped onstage to explain the situation to the audience and ask them to stay until it was resolved. Meanwhile, the group of intruders began shouting homophobic slurs at the play’s viewers. Both the intruders and their victims began making calls to the police, and Patlai called a prominent human rights journalist to ask for help finding an attorney. When Patlai looked outside the theater to see whether the police were on their way, she saw a man waving a black-and-yellow striped flag and holding a poster with more homophobic slurs. She also noticed that one of the men in the theater was wearing a T-shirt that said “SERB.”

When police officers did arrive, the situation only got worse. “The police acted like they’d known these people [the SERB activists] for a long time, like they didn’t care at all about the disorderly conduct in the theater or the disruption of the show,” Patlai told Meduza. “The police didn’t check even one of these people’s papers. They acted as though they and SERB were on the same team. They knew ahead of time that there were minors in the room, and all they wanted to do was deal with that fact.”

According to Patlai, the group of homophobic protesters also made an effort to enable police to target individual audience members: “When the police arrived, the provocateurs started a fight with one of the people in the audience. One of the women [among the SERB activists] shouted, “He’s hitting a woman!” while another provocateur pushed the audience member onto the ground […] The police immediately put handcuffs on him and took him out to their car without stopping to realize the whole thing was a provocation,” the director explained.

Coming Out of the Closet Teatr.doc
Coming Out of the Closet Teatr.doc

Patlai was taken to a police station alongside that audience member and the young man who said he was 19: Police determined that he was in fact a minor. Even while Patlai was in custody, police did nothing to stop the SERB activists from targeting her. She told Meduza, “While I was testifying, the door was open, and they [the SERB activists] commented on everything I said: ‘Sodom, drown them, shoot them.’” The police did not interfere, she said.

Only Anton Tkachuk, the audience member who was pushed to the ground, was ultimately cited for disorderly conduct. He spent the night in the police station, and Patlai said Teatr.doc would likely assist him if he is forced to pay a fine. The young man who was arrested along with them spoke to police alongside his father for an extended period of time, but the children’s inspector who questioned them did not tell Patlai anything about what actions investigators might take against the young man or Teatr.doc.

Despite the disruption and Patlai’s arrest, Teatr.doc ultimately completed their performance with about 80 percent of the audience still in attendance.

Given that Coming Out of the Closet is not a new play for the theater, Patlai speculated that the recent homophobic attacks against it must be related to some external political cause. The director said she felt hatred and hate-based attacks are generally on the rise in Russia but added that the upcoming September 8 elections in Moscow might also have played a role in the timing of the two most recent interruptions.

“Homophobia is a lasting resource in [Russian] politics. I’m not involved in politics,” Patlai said. “I put on shows about love so that people can start understanding each other and finding something in common with one another.” She argued that the logic behind the “gay propaganda” law is misguided: “It can’t be that every instance of the word ‘gay’ is propaganda. That’s nonsense. And the fact that we calmly relay stories about real people doesn’t qualify as propagandizing homosexuality.”


July 30.

International Day of Friendship.

The world faces a large number of challenges and threats: poverty, violence, violation of human rights. It undermines international peace and security, social foundations, creates obstacles for development, divides people and societies. To successfully counter these challenges and threats, it is necessary to eradicate their causes. This can be achieved through solidarity, which can be expressed in many forms. First of all it is friendship, it makes us closer. Together we can achieve harmony, create normal conditions for the existence of all people seeking to make the world a better place.

The ideological basis for the new date was the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence in the interests of the entire planet (it covered the years 2001-2010).

The UN invited government agencies, as well as international and regional organizations to celebrate this day in accordance with the cultural traditions of a country and organize events and initiatives that will contribute to the efforts of the international community and will be aimed at promoting dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

The resolution particularly emphasizes the importance of a new date in strengthening friendly relations between different nations. “Friendship between nations, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and provide an opportunity to build bridges between societies that honor cultural diversity,” the document says.

In addition, one of the objectives of the International Day of Friendship is to attract young people, including future leaders, to social activities aimed at respectful perception of different cultures.

Currently, in many countries of the world, events are held annually related to the promotion of friendship and tolerance towards others. Today, a list of Friendship Day programs is added to their list.

50 years of the LGBT revolution: how the attitude towards sex minorities has changed in the US over half a century.

In New York, they are preparing to host the WorldPride anniversary parade. On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Manhattan gay club “Stonewall”: this event marked the beginning of a major struggle of sex minorities for their rights. How common homophobic attitudes among Americans are now and how the lives of homosexuals have changed over the past decades, correspondent RTVI Harry Knjagnitsky.

Anton and Arsen Low met and married in New York. There is no need to hide from anyone, be silent, hide and conceal your feelings.

Arsen Lowe: “When I lived in Russia, I worked there, there was a feeling of inner homophobia, there were inner fears”.

They traveled almost all of America, and it was not that in all American states they managed without slanting glances in their direction, but did not reach obvious reproaches or threats.

Anton Low: “Maybe there were places in which I could not feel so comfortable, but there was no homophobia or anything else.”

Nowadays, in front of the gay community in America, the green street is formally open. Although why green? It is traditionally painted in all colors of the rainbow: choose yourself any way. But even 50 years ago, in all US states, with the exception of Illinois, homosexuality was a criminal offense.

If you’re lucky, they will be sent to a hospital: gays in America in the 60s were officially considered mentally ill, says Alexei Gorshkov to tourists. The human rights activist conducts free tours of Greenwich Village. Today this area is called Hipster, and in the late 60s it was called “the cloaca inhabited by sodomites.”

Alexey Gorshkov, a human rights activist: “In the 60s, the authorities of the State of New York banned the sale of alcohol to gays because they violate public morality.”

The police monitored morality: they organized raids in bars where homosexuals gathered. With the current gay clubs such places had nothing to do. These were semi-underground institutions, they were kept by the mafia, which was bought off from the police by bribes. The most famous bar was considered “Stonevoll-Inn.”

On the night of June 28, 1969, a seemingly ordinary raid with shouts on duty was staged here: “No one should move! Police! All to the wall! What rags are you wearing? ” But then people tired of bullying burst.

Some say that the first to the police threw either a coin, or a bottle, or a transsexual stone, Sylvia Riviera. Others claim it was Marsha Johnson.

Alexey Gorshkov, human rights activist: “The police, only 10 people, simply did not know what to do. People united. It was not the rebellion of one person, it was a massive outburst of rage. People rose up against police brutality. The policemen barricaded themselves in the club because the crowd had driven them inside. People started turning over police cars. ”

So in America, the gay revolution began. Cohesive LGBT organizations began to appear. In 1973, homosexuality was excluded from the list of mental illnesses. Really gay in the United States took in the 90s. In 2015, same-sex marriages were legalized throughout the country, and in 2019 the police finally apologized for Stonewall.

James O’Neill, New York City Police Commissioner: “I know for sure: what happened did not happen. New York Police took the wrong steps, rash. Acts and laws were discriminatory and cruel. And for that, I apologize. ”

Now the police are here, as in the guard of honor. Inside, in memory of the hot summer of 1969, photographs are exhibited, and Greenwich Village is buried in a rainbow. She’s on flags, banners, clothes.

In 2011, when New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriages, Patrick was attacked in Queens. At Greenwich Village, everyone knows him.

Patrick: “That guy sneaked behind me and started beating me. What happened next, I do not really remember. When I woke up in the hospital, my skull was broken and my nose was broken, my legs were broken. I feel better now. ”

Mihkel Dikus, too, almost killed a few years ago. He says that a stranger sat down at the bar with him, started a heart-to-heart conversation, drank, and went to Mihkel’s house.

Mihkel Dikus: “He began to choke me. I could not move, began to choke and lose consciousness. I thought it was the end. But then he let me go and demanded money. ”

The euphoria of being alive quickly changed to post-traumatic syndrome. Mihkel thought that the attacker was tracking him down; for six years he went to a psychotherapist. Now helps other victims of attacks.

Mihkel Dikus: “Those who feel like a victim fall victim again if they do not receive the help they need. And some of them are beginning to look for a victim in order to recoup someone, to cause harm. So this circle closes. I tore it for myself. ”

Mihkel believes that it is necessary to talk about this, and not to make magnificent gay parades, which, with all the external effect, have become completely empty meaningfully. The “Stonewall” began as a rebellion, as another bright episode of the struggle for human rights in America. And today this is just a reason to arrange a carnival. This is sure Anthony Dolsey.

Anthony Dolsey : “Everything began to look like solid commerce. Politicians and celebrities come to us to shine in front of television cameras. But when real help is needed, they do nothing. As soon as the parade ends, they disappear.And we need them every day. We need them to talk about gay violence. This violence needs to stop. ”

But people who come to Pride parades think differently. For the LGBT community, these processions are a real triumph of freedom and a demonstration of simple truth: every tenth person on earth is born gay. Yesterday, most of them were hiding. These feathers, makeup and smiles were very difficult for everyone.

For a break in the consciousness and perception of the world, the most important thing, according to psychologists, is to see thousands, hundreds of thousands of people like you who have ceased to be afraid. However, it is also true that the parades pass, but the rejection in one degree or another remains.

Columbia University professor Paul Martin is sure: the problem is that society simply does not have time to digest the changes. From a prison term for homosexuality to legal same-sex marriage, it took only half a century.

Paul Martin, a professor at Columbia University: “One of the global shifts in public consciousness has happened. And gradually the idea of ​​adopting children by gay couples got involved here. Once it was terrifying, but now it has become a routine. Not in every state, but at the national level it happened. ”

Happened, but not all. In the US, there is still no federal law on the inadmissibility of discrimination of LGBT people. In this too different country, where some idolize the Constitution, and others the Bible, approaching any of the poles, liberal or conservative, provokes a response. In the worst manifestations – violence, in the best – accurate political correct ignoring.

Elena : “The main thing is that this does not concern children, that’s all. Just if they do something there, let them do it in their gated community. If my son says that he is like this, I will never stop loving him. But with all of this, I would like it not to concern children a little now. ”

Arsen Low’s parents for seven years could not accept the idea that he was gay. But in the end he was accepted as he is. Anton did not begin to devote all his loved ones to his personal life.

Anton Lowe: “My grandmother is a religious Muslim. They have a lot of problems with that. ”

And here they have no problems, consider Arsen with Anton. New York is probably one of the most friendly cities in the world in relation to gays. Absolutely safe? Hardly. Ask Patrick, who spent three months in a coma and did not learn to walk in the eight years since the beating.

Patrick: “He said that when he gets out of prison, he will kill me.”

Patrick says he is not afraid. A sign is attached to his walker: “My spirit is wounded, but not broken.”


En banlieue, les agressions contre des homosexuels se multiplient.

Version on ENG.

Depuis plusieurs années, les agressions très violentes contre les personnes homosexuelles se multiplient dans la banlieue des grandes villes. Enquête sur un phénomène qui alarme associations et autorités.

A spokesman of the ‘Stop Homophobie’ association Lyes Alouane poses during a photo session in Paris on November 27, 2018. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

L’agression a eu lieu dans la nuit du 4 au 5 mars 2019. Kevin, 32 ans, descend de sa voiture tout juste garée dans une résidence privée de Drancy, au nord de Paris. Trois jeunes gens fondent sur lui, le frappent à la tête, le jettent à terre puis le rouent de coups de pied. Un coup de couteau lui perfore le poumon. Malgré tout, Kevin parvient à déclencher l’alarme de sa voiture, ce qui met fin à l’agression.

Trois jours plus tôt, le trentenaire était entré en contact, via un site de rencontres, avec un homme de 27 ans. Les deux internautes, qui échangent des messages pendant 72 heures, décident de se donner rendez-vous. « Il avait justifié l’heure tardive en disant qu’il travaillait dans un restaurant, raconte aujourd’hui Kevin, qui subit encore les séquelles de son agression. Nous avions parlé de nos vies et de nos projets professionnels. À aucun moment je ne me suis méfié. » Depuis l’attaque, ses agresseurs ont été arrêtés. Kevin a alors découvert que c’est précisément cet homme qui l’a poignardé. « Je savais que ces guets-apens existaient, mais je pensais que ça n’arrivait qu’aux autres », souffle la victime.

345 agressions en banlieue en 2018.

Drancy, Gennevilliers, Chanteloup-les-Vignes, en région parisienne mais aussi Vénissieux, près de Lyon, les agressions physiques contre les personnes homosexuelles, particulièrement violentes, se sont multipliées ces dernières années. Officiellement, il n’existe pas de chiffres du phénomène, tant ces attaques sont difficiles à recenser. Réticences des victimes à porter plainte, classements sans suite par manque de preuves… Des associations établissent toutefois des décomptes à partir des demandes d’aide. Sur les 1 277 « dénonciations d’agressions physiques » recensées en 2018 par Stop Homophobie, 672 ont eu lieu en Île-de-France, dont 345 en banlieue.

« Il s’agit principalement de guet-apens », commente Terrence Katchadourian, le secrétaire général de l’association, qui a assisté 78 personnes lors de procès. De son côté, le ministère de la justice enregistre très peu de condamnations : « En 2017, 25 condamnations ont été prononcées pour des atteintes aux personnes aggravées en raison de l’orientation sexuelle ou de l’identité de genre de la victime », précise-t-on à la Chancellerie, qui estime que « ces chiffres sont probablement peu représentatifs du phénomène ». Et précise : « Ces faits peuvent aussi être poursuivis et sanctionnés comme des violences volontaires avec arme, en réunion. »

« Le guet-apens, un phénomène répandu ».

Une source proche de Matignon donne d’autres éléments d’analyse. « Il n’y a pas forcément plus d’agressions, mais elles sont nettement plus violentes », dit-elle, s’inquiétant du « phénomène répandu des guets-apens, via des applications de rencontre ».

Comment l’expliquer ? Pour Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, imam, sociologue et l’un des fondateurs de l’association Homosexuels musulmans de France (aujourd’hui disparue), le problème « est avant tout socioéconomique. Lorsque le niveau d’éducation est faible et que l’accès à l’emploi est restreint, cela aboutit à un phénomène de désignations de bouc émissaire, qui cible toujours les minorités. » Selon lui, « le religieux n’est pas un facteur déterminant » des violences.

« Un homosexuel arabe, c’est la honte de la communauté ».

Une analyse que ne partage pas Mehdi Aifa, président de l’Amicale du Refuge (regroupant d’anciens pensionnaires de l’association du Refuge, qui vient en aide aux jeunes homosexuels chassés de leur famille). « Il y a de l’homophobie partout en France, mais elle est évidemment beaucoup plus violente en banlieue, en particulier dans des quartiers où il y a une concentration de population d’origine maghrébine et de confession musulmane. Dans ces banlieues, être homosexuel et maghrébin est incompatible. Un homosexuel arabe, c’est la honte de la communauté. »

Le jeune homme, qui a vécu à Vénissieux, poursuit : « J’ai en tête des dizaines d’histoires de gens que l’on essaye de faire changer d’orientation sexuelle en organisant des rencontres, voire des mariages forcés. Pour eux, soit on perd sa famille et sa communauté, soit on accepte le mariage et on entre dans une double-vie. On ne peut nier qu’en l’occurrence, l’islam fasse partie du problème. » Ce responsable associatif porte un discours très dur envers les responsables communautaires et religieux et ne croit pas à un dialogue possible avec les imams.

« Casser du pédé est devenu une fierté ».

Brahim Naït-Balk, lui, y croit au contraire. « Le combat se joue aussi dans le champ religieux. Je veux rencontrer des imams, faire venir des responsables musulmans à mes conférences pour qu’ils entendent mon témoignage. » Âgé de 56 ans, cet éducateur sportif d’origine marocaine retrace d’une voix posée les épreuves qu’il a traversées lors de sa jeunesse à Aulnay-sous-Bois. Les fellations et les viols imposés, pendant sept ans, par un groupe de jeunes de sa cité. Son silence par peur des représailles, notamment vis-à-vis de ses frères et sœurs. Il a quitté la ville de Seine-Saint-Denis à 31 ans puis raconté son histoire en 2009, dans une biographie (1), qui l’a « sauvé du suicide », dit-il.

Aujourd’hui, quand il ne travaille pas comme directeur départemental handisport des Hauts-de-Seine, il multiplie les conférences dans les écoles. « J’arrive à faire changer progressivement les regards », estime-t-il, même s’il ne cache pas son inquiétude face à une forme de « montée de l’intégrisme. La violence est gratuite, très répandue. Casser du pédé est devenu une fierté. »

« Certains me guettaient en bas de chez moi pour me traiter de “sale pédé” ».

Son récit recoupe le témoignage de Lyès Alouane, 23 ans. En 2016, le jeune homme, qui habitait Gennevilliers, près de Paris, avait affiché sur son profil Facebook une photo de lui et de son compagnon. Dès le lendemain, les insultes ont commencé à pleuvoir dans son quartier. « Le bouche-à-oreille a joué dans toute la cité, raconte le délégué de l’association Stop Homophobie pour l’Île-de-France. On me disait que j’allais aller en enfer, que l’homosexualité était “haram”, que j’étais dégueulasse. Certains me guettaient en bas de chez moi pour me traiter de sale pédé. »

Une partie de sa famille cesse de lui parler. « Ils auraient préféré que je me cache. Ma mère me lançait : “Moi, si je faisais le trottoir, je ne le dirais pas.” » Dans le quartier, il connaît bien ses agresseurs : l’un des meneurs était en 5e avec lui. En deux ans, il dépose 22 plaintes. Il est aussi victime d’un guet-apens à Saint-Denis, après une rencontre sur Facebook. « Je m’en suis sorti avec 4 points de suture au crâne. » Il a depuis déménagé, trouvant refuge à Paris, chez une amie. Ses agresseurs doivent être jugés en juin.

Peu de condamnations.

Depuis janvier 2017, commettre une infraction en raison de l’orientation sexuelle constitue une circonstance aggravante, applicable à toutes les infractions punies d’emprisonnement (meurtre, acte de torture et de barbarie, agression sexuelle, violences, vol, menaces, extorsions, etc.).

Le nombre de condamnations pour de telles infractions (atteintes aux personnes aggravées en raison de l’orientation sexuelle ou de l’identité de genre de la victime, soit atteinte à la vie, violences, menaces) reste faible. La justice française a ainsi condamné 25 personnes en 2017, 39 en 2016, 22 en 2015, 26 en 2014 et 29 en 2013.


In the suburbs, assaults against homosexuals multiply.

Version on FR.

For several years, very violent attacks against homosexuals are multiplying in the suburbs of big cities. Investigation of a phenomenon that alarms associations and authorities.

A spokesman of the ‘Stop Homophobie’ association Lyes Alouane poses during a photo session in Paris on November 27, 2018. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

The attack took place on the night of 4 to 5 March 2019. Kevin, 32, gets out of his car just parked in a private residence in Drancy, north of Paris. Three young men fall on him, beat him in the head, throw him to the ground and then kick him. A stab wounds his lung. Nevertheless, Kevin manages to trigger the alarm of his car, which ends the aggression.

Three days earlier, the 30-year-old had made contact, via a dating site, with a 27-year-old man. The two Internet users, who exchange messages for 72 hours, decide to make an appointment. “He had justified the late hour by saying that he worked in a restaurant, says Kevin today, who is still suffering the effects of his aggression. We had talked about our lives and our professional projects. At no time was I suspicious. ” Since the attack, the assailants were arrested. Kevin then discovered that it was precisely this man who stabbed him. “I knew that these ambushes existed, but I thought it only happened to others,” the victim blows.

345 assaults in the suburbs in 2018.

Drancy, Gennevilliers, Chanteloup-les-Vignes, in the Paris region but also Vénissieux, near Lyon, physical aggression against homosexual people, particularly violent, have multiplied in recent years. Officially, there are no figures of the phenomenon, as these attacks are difficult to identify. Reluctance of victims to lodge a complaint, rankings without follow-up due to lack of evidence … However, associations draw up accounts based on requests for help. Of the 1,277 “denunciations of physical assaults” identified in 2018 by Stop Homophobie, 672 took place in Île-de-France, including 345 in the suburbs.

“It’s mainly ambush,” said Terrence Katchadourian, the association’s secretary general, who assisted 78 people in court cases. For its part, the Ministry of Justice records very few convictions: “In 2017, 25 convictions were for aggravated offenses against persons because of sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim” , says Does the Chancellery say that “these figures are probably not very representative of the phenomenon” . And states: “These facts can also be prosecuted and punished as intentional violence with weapons, in meetings. “

“The ambush, a widespread phenomenon”.

A source close to Matignon gives other elements of analysis. “There is not necessarily more aggression, but they are much more violent,” she says, worrying about the “widespread phenomenon of ambushes, via dating applications . “

How to explain it? For Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, imam, sociologist and one of the founders of the Association Muslims Muslims of France (now extinct), the problem “is primarily socio-economic. When the level of education is low and access to employment is restricted, this leads to a phenomenon of scapegoating, which still targets minorities. ” According to him, ” the religious is not a determining factor ” of the violence.

“An Arab homosexual is the shame of the community”.

An analysis that does not share Mehdi Aifa, president of the Amicale du Refuge (gathering former residents of the Refuge Association, which helps young homosexuals driven out of their families). “There is homophobia everywhere in France, but it is obviously much more violent in the suburbs, especially in neighborhoods where there is a concentration of people of Maghrebi origin and Muslim faith. In these suburbs, being homosexual and Maghreb is incompatible. An Arab homosexual is the shame of the community. “

The young man, who lived in Vénissieux, continues: “I have in mind dozens of stories of people who are trying to change their sexual orientation by organizing meetings, or even forced marriages. For them, either we lose our family and our community, we accept the marriage and we enter a double life. It can not be denied that in this case Islam is part of the problem. ” This associative charge carries a very tough speech to community and religious leaders and does not believe in a possible dialogue with imams.

“Breaking the fag has become a pride”.

Brahim Nait-Balk, on the contrary, believes in it. “The fight is also played out in the religious field. I want to meet imams, bring Muslim leaders to my conferences to hear my testimony. ” Aged 56, the sports teacher of Moroccan origin traces a calm voice the hardships he went through during his youth in Aulnay-sous-Bois. Blowjobs and rapes imposed for seven years by a group of young people from his city. His silence for fear of reprisals, especially vis-à-vis his brothers and sisters. He left the city of Seine-Saint-Denis at age 31 and told his story in 2009, in a biography (1), which “saved him from suicide,” he says.

Today, when he does not work as a departmental director of the Hauts-de-Seine department, he multiplies conferences in schools. “I can gradually change the eyes,” he believes, although he does not hide his concern about a form of “rise of fundamentalism. Violence is free, widespread. Breaking the fag has become a pride. “

“Some people were waiting for me at the bottom of my house to call me ” dirty homo “.

His story cuts across the testimony of Lyès Alouane, 23 years old. In 2016, the young man, who lived in Gennevilliers, near Paris, posted on his Facebook profile a picture of him and his companion. The next day, insults began to rain in his neighborhood. “Word-of-mouth has played throughout the city, says the delegate of the association Stop Homophobia for the Île-de-France. I was told that I was going to hell, that homosexuality was “haram”, that I was disgusting. Some were watching me downstairs to call me a dirty homo. “

Part of his family stops talking to him. “They would have preferred me to hide. My mother threw me: “If I was doing the sidewalk, I would not tell.” ” In the district, he knows his attackers: one of the leaders was 5 th with him. In two years, he filed 22 complaints. He is also the victim of a trap in Saint-Denis, after a meeting on Facebook. “I got away with 4 stitches in the skull. ” He has since moved, taking refuge in Paris with a friend. His attackers must be tried in June.

Few convictions.

Since January 2017, committing an offense on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes an aggravating circumstance, applicable to all offenses punishable by imprisonment (murder, torture and barbarism, sexual assault, violence, theft, threats, extortion, etc. .).

The number of convictions for such offenses (attacks on persons aggravated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, life, violence, threats) remains low. French justice has sentenced 25 people in 2017, 39 in 2016, 22 in 2015, 26 in 2014 and 29 in 2013.