Nadia Rahman, Researcher and Policy Advisor in Amnesty International’s Gender, Sexuality and Identity Team
“You held my hand. Promised me a revolution. How did you forget me? How?” These lyrics by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila echoed at a Cairo concert on a September evening in 2017. They are perhaps more devastatingly relevant today than they were three years ago.
Sarah Hegazy, a queer feminist in the audience, probably felt a fleeting sense of freedom while watching a popular Arab band with an openly gay frontman sing to a packed audience in a conservative country, and she dared to raise the rainbow flag. Those brief moments of hope where she decided to unapologetically celebrate who she was, changed her life. And three years later, snatched it away too.
"To my siblings - I tried to find redemption and failed, forgive me. To my friends - the experience [journey] was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me. To the world - you were cruel, to a great extent, but I forgive."