Moroccan Teenagers Face Jail For Lesbian Kiss


For those of us who enjoy the benefits of living in a (relatively) liberal and progressive society, at least in the judicial sense, it’s hard to believe there are still countries that openly punish homosexuality.


Unfortunately, the story of two young girls from Morocco who face jail for kissing in public brings the plight of the global LGBTQi community into stark perspective.

The unnamed girls – aged 16 and 17 – are due to appear in court on Friday for the alleged public display of physical affection, which occurred on the rooftop of a private residence in Marrakech last week.


Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code states:

Any person who ‘commits a lewd and unnatural act’ with an individual of the same sex may be sentenced to six months to three years of imprisonment.

To read this rhetoric – referring to homosexuality as ‘lewd’ or ‘unnatural’ – is appalling in any circumstance but to read it in a country’s legal code is downright scary.

The girls involved in the alleged incident have been release on bail and wait trial. Meanwhile, outrage has spread and activists are calling for Article 489 to be abolished.

Omar Arbib, an activist at the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (MAHR), told CNN that the girls were photographed and the image was sent to the family who informed the police, resulting in their arrest on the same day.


LGBTQi rights activist and co-founder of The Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties (MALI), Ibtissame Lachgar, explained Morocco’s systematic and institutionalised homophobia.

She said:

In a country that practices state homophobia, fighting for the decriminalisation of homosexuality (and in favour of sexual freedom in general) is a long struggle.

A sexual revolution is needed: A sexual revolution that would guarantee equality between women and men. Homosexuality is not a choice, it is the order of nature.

Lachgar added:


Lesbians are not recognised in a male dominated society. Women are recognised as for fun with and having children only, as if they were the private property of a man.

Women start to believe that their bodies are not their own, but belong to men. So many women do not love their bodies because of this and so we are defending their sexual and reproductive rights. In contrast there are women who do love their bodies and also love the bodies of other women.

Our thoughts are with the LGBTQi community in Morocco at this sad and difficult time and offer our solidarity with the two young girls who were simply expressing love, which in any guise, is a beautiful thing.