In 2006, Abdellah Taïa outed himself to the Moroccan press, and thus became the first openly gay man in Morocco - an Islamic country whose law still declares homosexuality a crime, and whose national "don't ask, don't tell" policy had until then been assumed to be inviolable. Now a well-known author living in France, Taïa has written five autobiographical novels about growing up poor and gay in the northern coastal city of Sale. The first (and only) of these to be translated to English is Salvation Army, released earlier this month from Semiotext(e). Taïa's story has reached the AP news wire lately.
Taïa stopped being the only official gay man in Morocco in December 2007, when six men were filmed participating in what was claimed to be a mock gay wedding. The video was posted to YouTube, and its resultant exposure led to a mob destroying of the home of one of its participants, and the Moroccan court of justice sentencing all the ceremony’s participants with jail terms of two to ten months for the crime of homosexuality.
With the uproar over the California Supreme Court’s upholding of the controversial Proposition 8 this week, the issue of gay wedding, “mock” or official, is obviously one that will continue to be a hot-button topic, both within the US and elsewhere.