The Kutubiyya Mosque in Marakkech
29.12.2020

Being Gay in Morocco

LGBTIAQ+
Travel+
Marrakech Morocco
In the 60ies and 70ies, Marrakech has become very famous for being a mecca for hippies, partying and even easy male-to-male relationships. But this has been a different time and since then, a lot of things have changed.

Famous stars have spent their holidays in the city and some of them - like Yves Saint Laurent even moved there with his partner. You should absolutely visit the Garden Majorelle design by him or the adjoining „Musée Yves Saint Laurent de Marrakech“

Morocco is a muslim country and the public opinion towards the LGBTIQ community is negative throughout every social class. If there has been any development at all, the situation got worse for the LGBTIQ community. The King may be considered more tolerant than his people and allowed a public performance of openly gay singer Elton John, eg.

If you are a male traveller and notably, if you travel alone, you will notice young guys following you and even starting to speak to you.  If you pay attention, you will see this little game happen most commonly in the park near and around the great mosque of Marrakesh.

Of course, you may speak to them, but please take care and don’t go with them or exchange money publicly. 

A lot of young Moroccans are forced into prostitution or exploitive relationships by their dire living conditions. In search for money or in exchange for gifts, they will try to hook up with you. These guys may be straight or even gay.

In recent years there have been cases, where these poor guys have been set up to trick you into compromising situations by the Moroccan police. After or while the „deal“ is sealed, you will probably get arrested and pressed to hand out your passport immediately.  The only way to get out of this terrible situation is to pay often horrendous sums of extortion money to the police officers. You really don’t want to end up in a Moroccan prison! If you don’t have enough cash, you will be accompanied to an ATM. So better do not even give the police an opportunity to extort money from you and avoid such situations in general. Be aware that these are real police officers and the Moroccan law is on their side. Probably, they do not care if you are homosexual or not. Also the police is poorly paid and they want to make some additional money to support their families. This is absolutely no excuse, but if you understand their motivation it may help you to avoid misunderstandings.

The same recommendation stands for gay dating apps like Grindr & Co. In most muslim countries gay dating apps - and dating apps in general - are not permitted and therefore blocked anyway.

Homosexual acts - including kissing - are illegal in Morocco and carry a potential jail term of up to three years and an additional fine. 

You will see men of any ages holding hands and showing affection, but do not take that as a sign of homosexuality,  but a mere display of friendship.  And let me be clear: straight friendship. Though sex between men is not uncommon, there are no gay bars, saunas or hamams. Marrakesh and Tangiers are more liberal than other cities, but you really should be very cautious.

For lesbians, the situation looks better at first glance and you should not get any problems, but just because Moroccans believe that there is no such thing as lesbians and love between women in their country …