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Gays in Tunisia still suffer under archaic laws

A new report on Tunisia's sodomy law highlights how members of the LGBTQ community who turn to police for protection can instead be subjected to abuse and violence.

Less than a year ago, a Tunisian engineer with the initials K.S. traveled to the coastal town of Monastir for the weekend. While there, he began chatting with someone on Grindr, an online dating and hookup app for gay men. They met later that day at a cafe, where K.S.’s date then suggested they move on to his house. After they arrived, K.S. said, two other men appeared, beat him and sexually assaulted him with a baton while shouting homophobic insults at him. Bleeding and terrified, K.S. went to a local hospital, but was refused medical treatment without a police order. At the police station, officers were more concerned about K.S.’s sexual history than the fact that he had been gang raped. They ordered an “anal exam.”

“How they treated me was insane,” K.S. would tell Human Rights Watch (HRW), which documented his story in a November 2018 report. “How is it their business to intrude into my intimate parts and check whether I am ‘used to sodomy’?” A few days after the attack, K.S. flew to Belgium, where he applied for asylum.

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