As in most countries with a Muslim tradition, in Morocco homosexuality is illegal and strongly condemned. Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code of 1962 specifies that “Lewd or unnatural act with an individual of the same sex” are punished by six months to three years imprisonment. Although the law is sporadically enforced, gays and lesbians in this country are subject to a strong social disapproval.
Imane, 19, lives in Casablanca and is a lesbian. She says she is “A lesbian proud of herself!” She has never hidden her homosexuality, insomuch as also her family members have learned to accept it over the years. This attitude is unusual in Morocco where most lesbians are forced to hide their sexual orientation for fear of judgments or reprisals.
Imane is proud and brave of her best friend Khadija who, like Imane, has chosen to live her sexuality freely. They battle daily against a society which tends to marginalise them. They walk always with their heads held high along the streets of Casablanca, overlooking stares and comments of passers by, and answering in kind to arrogant and rude people.
Lesbians are not respected in Morocco, they are considered “deviant” – women to avoid. The social judgment is held more harshly against androgynous girls like Imane, who totally differs from the stereotype of the “good Moroccan woman”
For this reason, many homosexuals dream to emigrate, so they can live in a society where they can love freely. Imane dreams of Italy. On her left hand she has a tattoo of four letters: “solo” (alone), the only Italian word she knows.
Imane and her friend Khadija. Imane has a tattoo on her left hand that says Solo, while Khadija has tattooed the phrase breath and fly
Imane in a street of the neighbourhood where she lives.
Imane, 19, wearing the high-school uniform. In Morocco the uniform is compulsory for all female students.
Imane, 19, and Khadija, 19, in a petit taxi.
Imane and Khadija’s names written in Arabic on a wall of Imane’s home.
Imane, 19, gets a tattoo by a friend at her home.