If the ongoing Egyptian people’s revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak in just 18 days — after 30 years of dictatorship — quickly engulfed the whole country, its beating heart was always Cairo’s Tahrir Square (in Arabic, “Liberation Square”), for many years a gay cruising mecca.
And gay people were among the millions of Egyptian citizens who made the revolution possible and joined the crowds who occupied the square to demand democracy and freedom from oppression.
This revolution was motored by young people through the Internet, and one of them was a well-educated, 22-year-old gay blogger and medical student who uses the pseudonym Ice Queer (“It’s a pun on ‘Ice Queen,’ as I’m a calm, cool person,” he explained). He was present in Tahrir Square during much of the protest, including last Friday, February 11, when Mubarak finally fell.
Ice Queer was an early participant in what has been dubbed the “Facebook revolution” that harnessed the social network to organize the first protests in Tahrir Square and elsewhere on January 25. But social networking was a means to an end. What motivations led Ice Queer to join this movement and help mobilize the demonstrations?
“Because we were fed up of Mubarak and his regime,“ he told Gay City News in an interview conducted through a series of email exchanges. “I started participating after I made sure that the protests didn’t have any political or religious agenda from any party and that all protesters are protesting because we are Egyptians and humans who have been oppressed for decades!
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