KAT #ONSCENE at Criminal Queerness Festival - 'Drowning In Cairo'


Unlike Argentina, Egypt isn’t progressive when it comes to the LGBTQI+ community. Not only isn’t homosexuality culturally accepted, but same-sex marriage isn’t legal and an LGBTQI+ person can easily end up in jail.


Drowning in Cairo was about three Egyptians who identify as gay. One of the characters was even forced to participate in a mixed-orientation wedding, which from the name is what you’d expect: a marriage between two people of different sexual orientations.

Because same-sex marriage is still not legal in Egypt (BOOOO!), Egyptian law only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman. Not only are LGBTQI+ folks subjected to persecution under the law, but Islam (much like the Catholic Church) views non-heterosexual relationships as a sin as told by the story of the “people of the Lot,” which was referred to in the play.


In Drowning in Cairo, three gay Egyptian men get arrested on a boat in 2001 and deal with the consequences. The play’s dialogue dealt with the heavy realities that I imagine happen in religious countries such as Egypt. One character was the son of the Prime Minister, another was from a human rights watch group, and the third was an alcoholic who wasn’t able to finish his memoir. It’s tough seeing the one person you love marry a woman he doesn’t want to be with, being condemned to a life of persecution and upsetting nights and closed walls all because of your sexual orientation. The political extremists of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution have put an even bigger target on our LGBTQI+ family, as if they didn’t already have enough to deal with.

1 N3EuPvEJ0d2S10wDi_SkFg.jpeg

One thing did shine through: People should have the right to be gay or bisexual or anywhere on the spectrum. It’s not a “trend” or an “abnormality” or a “sickness.” The LGBTQI+ community deserves the same rights as heterosexuals. It makes me sick to my stomach that in 2019 we have not fully—as in WORLDWIDE EVERYWHERE—accepted this community. That people are still SO bothered that they have to find security in promoting “straight pride?” Hey buddy in Boston or wherever you come from, f*** that! Straight pride? PRIDE MONTH is only even a thing because some parts of the world have decided that LGBTQI+ members don’t deserve TO EXIST. This community shouldn’t have to celebrate not being given the death penalty or being beaten up by those with homophobia.

That reminds me: I’d like to give recognition to the asylum seekers that were written about in the pamphlets we received at the show. I think everyone needs to learn a thing or two about asylum seekers who are still facing excruciating barriers and need our help. This a link to a website for immigration equality that strives to find representation for those who have none. Please take a few moments to read over the bios of some asylum seekers who are targeted by court officials and are fighting every day to live freely.

Since I think it is appropriate to link Pride culture and conversations about the LGBTQI+ community with the battles of other marginalized groups, here is a trailer for the extremely well-written and brilliant new Hulu show Ramy, which got picked up for a second season just two weeks after its premiere. It stars an Egyptian-American who’s trying to figure out how to be a good Muslim in his Americanized world.



Tell us about your experience.  

In the comments below.