LGBT Travellers

Egypt is a conservative society that increasingly condemns homosexuality. Although homosexuality is technically not a crime in Egypt, homosexual acts in public are, and gay men have been prosecuted using debauchery and public morals laws with prison terms of up to 17 years. In late 2017 the Egyptian government launched a large crack-down on the LGBT community, arresting 57 people in a series of raids.

The situation for the local LGBT community remains very tense, and although there is a small and very underground gay scene in Cairo and Alexandria, tapping into it as a foreigner can be tricky and is risky. Solo male gay travellers should not use gay dating apps while here as the police are known to target app users.

As long as common sense discretion is used and public displays of affection are avoided – the same goes for heterosexual couples – foreign gay or lesbian couples should have no issues. Most midrange and top-end accommodation will have no problem with a same-sex couple requesting a double bed (though you may notice a raised eyebrow from some staff), but it's advisable to steer clear of the very budget end of the accommodation market, particularly in nontouristy towns.

Single gay men should exercise caution if propositioned by an Egyptian man as, although rare, there have been reports of set-ups targeting foreign gay males for theft. Gay male travellers should also be aware that signals in Egypt can be ambiguous; Egyptian men routinely hold hands, link arms and kiss each other on the cheek in greeting.

Lesbian travellers are unlikely to encounter any problems in the country. For the majority of Egyptians, lesbianism is unfathomable and most would declare that there is no such thing as an Egyptian lesbian.