Egypt has decided to introduce sexual education courses into the primary education curriculum. Although on the surface, this may seem highly progressive for the middle-eastern country, its main aim is to stop the spread of "homosexuality." Homosexuality is considered "deviant" behavior and extremely frowned upon in the country.
On September 15, the Ministry of Education sent a letter to educational directorates all over the country with the order to integrate the concepts of sexual education, sexual violence, and sexual harassment into the primary education curriculum.
According to Sada El Balad, an Egyptian news site and satellite television channel, and the publication Egypt Independent, this comes from the increasing public concern that children might imitate "deviant" sexual behaviors, including homosexuality, from watching content through online streaming platforms.
Following the "large and unprecedented increases" in subscribers on the streaming platforms, Egypt's Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) has banned many films containing homosexual references. It also recently implemented new regulations on online streaming platforms, such as Disney and Netflix, to make sure that the content shown follows the "societal norms and values."
The Ministry has also ordered brochures and posters and the implementation of awareness programs in elementary and secondary schools. With the help of health officials, psychologists, social workers, and religious education teachers, the concepts in the new curriculum will be integrated. The posters and brochures are ordered to be displayed in places where children and adults gather, such as clubs, schools, universities, gymnasiums, and children's day-care centers, to raise awareness of the dangers of deviant behaviors.
Educational expert and professor of educational psychology, Dr. Tamer Shawky, told Sada El Balad that several parents requested this new curriculum. Films with homosexual scenes or references, such as Pixar's Lightyear and Marvel's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, were banned in the country.
In Egypt, homosexuality is deemed immoral, scandalous, or offensive, but the law does not entirely prohibit it. The LGBTQ community often faces charges of immorality or debauchery, which could carry a prison sentence of up to 17 years of hard labor.
Homosexual men are often detained and tortured during large police raids in private locations such as public baths, restaurants, and bars.
The LGBTQ community in Egypt has to live in fear of persecution. Human rights groups have documented numerous cases of torture and unlawful arrests of queer people. According to Human Rights Watch, “security forces routinely pick people off the streets based solely on their gender expression, entrap them through social networking sites and dating applications, and unlawfully search their phones. Once detained, fellow inmates are encouraged to abuse them.”