A film about the struggles of a young man growing up gay and poor
in Morocco premiered Wednesday at the Venice Film Festival.
Salvation Army is based on the life of writer Abdellah
Taia, who in 2006 became the first high-profile Moroccan to publicly
come out gay.
In the film, directed by Taia, Abdellah is aware of his sexuality
from an early age. He's frequently hit on by older men and fears
being discovered. (A clip from the film is embedded on this page.
our video library for more videos.)
Taia told France
24 that homosexuality in Morocco remains a crime and that “people
are still very harsh in their views of gays.”
“On the other hand, the Moroccan press has dramatically changed
its view on homosexuality – for example, they defend me. They also
give gay people in Morocco the chance to express themselves. There
are young gay Moroccans who created a gay magazine in Arabic. And
there's now an Arabic word for 'homosexual' that is not
disrespectful: 'mithy.' It was created just six years ago, and is
now used everywhere.”
But, he added, that “it's still impossible to come out of the
closet in Morocco and anywhere in the Arab world.”
“Maybe this film will help some gay and lesbian Arab people face
reality and have some support,” he added in comments to the AP. “I
think this is the right time as well to free homosexuals in the Arab
world and not forget that they are Arabs as well.”
Taia, 40, lives in Paris.