A bizarre graduation ceremony of the Egyptian Police Academy featuring parades of flexing shirtless men jumping through rings of fire has gone viral, catching the attention of George Takei, who tweeted, “For a terrifyingly homophobic and dangerously anti-LGBT government in Egypt, this screams pretty gay.” One clip has racked up more than 3.5 million views on Twitter.
The Sun reports: “More than 1,500 cadets pulled off an action-packed stunt with rings of fire and counter-terrorism tactics at the premises of the Police Academy in New Cairo on Friday. In the clip widely shared on social media, the shirtless officers have to leap through the fire rings and tow a SUV. The group also demonstrate their physical abilities, showing the superiors a series of stunts such as climbing the facade of a building, doing push-ups or breaking concrete blocks.”
“During the parade, the shredded officers showed off their six packs as they stand in rows on a moving trailer, The Sun added. “Some are seen demonstrating the force’s camouflage skills by hiding, very obviously, behind artificial bushes on the carnival floats. At the end of the ceremony, Egypt’s president congratulated the new officers and greeted their families, saying ‘they prepared their sons and devoted them to the country to defend us.'”
But the situation in Egypt for LGBTQ people is dire.
Human Rights Watch reported: ‘A Cairo-based LGBT rights organization documented 92 arrests for alleged same-sex conduct in 2019 under Egypt’s “debauchery” law. According to the organization’s report, 69 percent of those arrested were “picked up randomly on the street,” indicating that Egyptian authorities are discriminating against people based on their gender expression. Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government, since 2013 authorities have waged a campaign of arrests and prosecution against hundreds of people for their perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity. In its 2019 report, the Alliance of Queer Egyptian Organizations (AQEO), comprised of three Egypt-based LGBT rights organizations, noted the government crackdown on LGBT people over the last four years, which includes violent assaults, torture (including forced anal exams), arbitrary detention, a denial of the rights to assembly and expression, and discrimination in accessing healthcare, education, employment, and housing.’