Arab Spring

Brutal crackdown has gay and transgender Egyptians asking: Is it time to leave?

Brutal crackdown has gay and transgender Egyptians asking: Is it time to leave?

For Mostafa, a gay Egyptian man in his mid-20s, seeing rainbow flags flying at an open-air rock concert in the Arab world’s most populous nation was thrilling. But he had a feeling it wouldn’t end well.

Dozens of people have been arrested and put on trial in Egypt in the ensuing crackdown. Some were also beaten and subjected to invasive physical exams, spreading panic in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender circles.

Many of Mostafa’s friends are deleting their profiles on cellphone dating apps and scrubbing their social media accounts, which police have long used to ensnare people suspected of being gay or transgender. Some who were at last month’s concert have gone into...

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