LGBTQ+ people in Egypt are being targeted by police officers who are using dating apps, including Grindr, as tools for entrapment. Reports show that entrapment schemes, hiring informers, and infiltrating other dating apps are becoming increasingly common. In response to these reports, Grindr has released a country-wide announcement, urging LGBTQ+ users to be cautious when using the app to meet others. The police are also reportedly hacking into legitimate user profiles on the app to make arrests.
The situation for LGBTQ+ people in Egypt is dire, with increasing numbers being arrested, beaten, and abused by the authorities. The police are using digital platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to monitor and target the community. In addition to the dangers posed by the police, there is also a risk of violence from other members of society, who are often hostile to LGBTQ+ people.
Darius (not their real name), an LGBTQ+ person from Port Said, spoke to PinkNews about their fear and desperation to escape the country. They, like many others, have received voice notes and warnings about the police’s tactics. According to Darius, police are taking people’s phones as evidence and then calling names in their contact lists to see if they are LGBTQ+. They were also informed that their name was on a long list of people who were being tracked by the police.
Human Rights Watch has criticized digital platforms for not doing enough to protect LGBTQ+ people. It has also urged the Egyptian authorities to respect their international and regional obligations to protect human rights. Rasha Younes, a senior researcher for LGBT Rights at Human Rights Watch, said that online abuses against LGBTQ+ people have offline consequences that can be detrimental to their livelihood, mental health, and safety.
The situation in Egypt highlights the dangers that LGBTQ+ people face in many parts of the world. It is a reminder that the fight for equality and acceptance is far from over, and that we must continue to stand with and support LGBTQ+ communities around the globe.