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Gay Cairo

The gay side of Cairo

The Marriott Hotel, Cairo Most likely you already know that homosexuality is unofficially illegal in Egypt. You've probably heard of the "Cairo 52" case from 2001 when a group of 52 men were arrested at a gay party in the "Queen Boat" moored on the Nile. They were subjected to beatings in jail, and during their 5-month-long trials were vilified in the media which reported their names and addresses. Twenty-nine of them were acquitted but the others served prison terms for up to 3 years. Despite intervention by international human rights organizations, the situation for homosexuals remains quite alarming in the country, with arrest and torture being common practice.

As a gay traveler, don't use local chat rooms to meet local men, and be cautious in cruising areas. With common sense you'll be able to enjoy Egypt and still find your gaydar peaking in places. Simply hang out where the trendiest straight crowds do, and you'll see plenty of gay locals and expats there. Those places are usually hotel bars and other Western-style restaurants and clubs. Other apparently gay-friendly places are:

THE BARS AT THE NILE HOTEL
The Ritz Carlton is home to a couple of bars and restaurants that attract a cosmopolitan crowd. At the laidback Jazzup bar you'll find a weekly program of live music and themed nights such as salsa and jazz, and you can sit with a cocktail after dinner. Better yet is the Latex Bar, with local and international DJs spinning dance sounds as the most fashionable Cairo crowds and hotel guests people-watch from the sofas. This is where you'll find a mixed straight and discreet gay crowd meeting for the specialty cocktails.

Harry's Pub at the Marriott Hotel
Fashionable gay men playing straight head to the Marriott for the expensive drinks at its Harry's Pub. It tries to recreate an authentic English pub and serves a wide selection of imported beverages.

GAY-FRIENDLY HOTELS


No hotel in Cairo advertises itself as gay-friendly but the large chains do attract wealthy gay couples, especially those looking out to the pyramids and offering all sorts of pampering services such as spa and fitness center.

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