Openly gay lawyer runs to be President of Tunisia; becoming first homosexual to run for office in the Middle East

Mounir Baatour, an openly gay lawyer has announced he will run for president of Tunisia making him the first homosexual to run for office in the Middle East.

Baatour’s candidacy marks ‘a first which will without doubt be a benchmark in history’, his Liberal Party said. Baatour, the party’s chief and a lawyer at the Court of Cassation, presents himself as a defender of LGBTIQ rights.

Ahead of his announcement however, a petition signed by 18 groups who campaign for those rights warned his candidacy would represent a ‘danger’ for their communities. Baatour was jailed for three months in 2013 for ‘sodomy’ with a 17-year-old student, which he has always denied.

Having a criminal record does not automatically ban Tunisians from standing in elections.

‘The fact that I’m gay doesn’t change anything. It’s a candidacy like all the others. I have an economic, social, cultural and educational programme for everything that affects Tunisians in their daily lives,’ Baatour said.
Presidential hopefuls have until Friday to submit their candidacy, ahead of September 15 polls.

(LIB)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

15 Comments

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  1. OCHONMA UCHENNA
    2018052052

    The implication of this story in the light of the kind of gender landscape in the Arab world shows there’s a ‘fire on the mountain’ because gay marriage is illegal and unacceptable in most Arab countries.
    Considering the kind of gender landscape in Arab world, this is totally a culture shock because even Tunisia proscribes gay marriage. This kind of news will therefore impact negatively on the Arab society because they are not non-binary unlike in Western countries and as such will make it’s citizens dislike such a development tho in a society where LGBT is legally practised,this kind of news would be a welcome development.
    Supporting this man in Tunisia will totally be gender stupidity because gender competence depends on gender landscape;- which is the existing gender allowed in a society (landscape) and supporting this man openly in a binary society will simply be breaking the laws of the land.

  2. OBED-IBE CHUKWUNANU

    Name: OBED-IBE CHUKWUNANU

    Reg Number:2018052011

    Yes I think is a culture shock. Its not in the culture of the arab world to have the In between come out openly and talk about it. This is a big crime in there part of the world. It goes against there religious belief, so its a very big culture shock for him to come out openly and talk about his gay nature and still run for public office as high as the first citizen of the country.

    When we talk about the impart it will have in the society, for me its a positive impact because people will be encouraged to come out and speak for themselves. This selected positions won’t be for some sent of people because you are an in between. It will now done according to want you can offer the society.
    It can also rise up a negative impact because of the part of the world its coming from. Don’t forget we are talking about the Arab world that believe so much in there religion. With this coming up it will led to protest and some distortion of life and properties. Most of them will kick against it the will be looking at the sex part of it not taking into consideration the gender part of the whole matter.

    I will call it call it gender competence. When it comes to gender what is been looked at is the role you play, what you can offer. If he is the better candidate then he should be elected the president of the country.

  3. His ambition is gender landscape because genderland scape is a system of different things in a given nation irrespective of a specific gender superiority over another gender.While gender stupidity is lack of gender consciousness and gender consciousness is gender competenc. So in his case to run for the post of President is gender landscape and gender competence.He is saying that he has some things to offer the nation because he knows what the people want.He as well has all it takes to be their leader indeed

  4. okoye chiamaka JANEFRANCESS

    OKOYE CHIAMAKA JANEFRANCESS.
    2018052003.
    This declaration by Mounir Baatour will come as a GENDER SHOCK to the citizens of Tunisia considering its gender landscape which is not in support of Gay due to their culture and religion.
    However, this might create a NEGATIVE feeling in the society because the citizens would rather expect a president who is morally and culturally sound not a GAY.
    In conclusion, Mounir Baatour is simply GENDER COMPETENT judging from his last statement”‘The fact that I’m gay doesn’t change anything. It’s a candidacy like all the others. I have an economic, social, cultural and educational programme for everything that affects Tunisians in their daily lives”.
    ‘The society should accept him for what he can offer and not for who he is.’

  5. Ezennamuzie Juliet Chidiogo

    There are 18 countries in the Arabian region and according to statistics, LGBT is legal in 5 out of the 18. In the light of the gender landscape practiced in the Arabian region which is both binary and non binary depending on the country involved, looking at Tunisia which is the country under contest here, LGBT is an illegal activity there and is punishable by 3years imprisonment with fines and torture.
    Mounir Baatour who declared a political interest in the country is at risk of being prosecuted. His declaration to run for a political office is culture shock to Tunisians and other Arab countries where LGBT is illegal but is not to those Arab countries where it is legal.
    The LGBT’s in Tunisia will be gladdened as someone from among them is out to liberate them buy in the fa e of morality as regards children, its impact will be very bad and quite unwelcoming. Openly supporting him in Tunisia will be gender stupidity because there is a law against that practice which is expressly applicable to all who practice LGBT and maybe their supporters too. But giving your support behind closed doors diplomatically makes you gender conscious, as you’ll be looking at content not frame.

  6. Nlekuwa Chidinma Reg num 2018052001

    To me it’s gender stupidity being that he has a criminal record b4 and being that Tunisia is an Arab Muslim country.

  7. Considering the gender landscape that is prevalent in Arab world which is purely binary with no room for other emerging gender formats, I would say that supporting the gay presidential aspirant openly, would amount to being gender stupid. As a matter of fact, this his move is likely to cause a very serious outrage among the Tunisian populace who are strongly opposed to LGBT. However, I would call Baatours’ open declaration of interest to run as a presidential candidate a culture shock since it has nothing to do with role reversal.
    Thanks.
    Iwuafor Nkiruka Chinecherem. 2018052008

  8. This is a culture shock incidence. Gender is basically a role an individual plays in a society. Culture shock on the other hand is lack of psychological and physical agreement experienced by someone when they move to a new cultural environment. This declaration would be a culture shock to someone who is in Africa where gay is not an open stuff. Tunisia could be described as a genered environment where gender non binaries could be accommodated. Gender landscape is recognized gender in any society. There are factors that could influence gender landscape. These are culture, religion and level of development. Culture throws up what people could tag gender shock. For instance when you visit a society where culture allows men to wear skirt, it becomes a shock to you. Extreme is seeing in Africa not in Western world

    Him becoming a president of Tunisia might not harm the society but the problem is gender incompetence. If the people there are gender competent, they would understand that everyone has right in the society and would be able not downgrade a particular item.

    Supporting this man is gender competence. Gender competence removes gender stupidity.

    There is nothing wrong in the man’s declaration. He is a human being like others.

    Nweke Felicia C
    2018052004

  9. IGWE JEMILLIAN UCHECHUKWU

    IGWE JEMILLIAN UCHECHUKWU
    2018052013

    Firstly, gender landscape is said to be the total overview of the existing gender culture in the society. The culture war over homosexuality in the middle East has in recent years become a source of intense cultural contestation. Lesibians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) generally have limited or highly restrictive right in Arab. It is good to remember that 80% of the Arabians are Muslims who believe in heterosexuality.
    Considering this kind of gender landscape in the Arab country,and Mounir Baatour’s declaration in Tunisia, i think it’s CULTURE SHOCK because homosexuals are not recognized let alone expected to come out open in Arab. It is a serious culture shock for such person to come out open and say he wants to a public figure when he knows that the culture forbids his sexuality status. Based on the culture, religion and level of development, this news will not have any impact in the society. Supporting Mounir Baatour i would say its not totally gender stupidity or totally gender competence because in as much as he is gay and also an ex-convict he must sure get some votes despite the cultural and societal criticism.

    THANK YOU

  10. Bartholomew Chinenye

    Considering the gender landscape in Arab, its a culture shock to them considering their religion and culture which kick against it. The news will definitely cause an uproar in the society but the fact remains that supporting the man in Tunisia is gender competence and not gender stupidity, the question remains those he have what it takes to run the affairs of the country, if yes then it will be gender stupidity to deny him the opposition just because he is gay.

    Bartholomew Chinenye E. Reg. No. 2018052009

  11. Bartholomew Chinenye

    Considering the gender landscape in Arab, its a culture shock to them considering their religion and culture which kick against it. The news will definitely cause an uproar in the society but the fact remains that supporting the man in Tunisia is gender competence and not gender stupidity, the question remains those he have what it takes to run the affairs of the country, if yes then it will be gender stupidity to deny him the position just because he is gay.

    Bartholomew Chinenye E. Reg. No. 201805200

  12. Eberechukwu Ezekigbo

    Waoo, in Tunisia middle East,am really wondering how come Baatour has not been killed. Knowing fully well that Tunisia is an lsamic country, a religion that abhors homosexuality openly to a core. Well in Arab world the man will not even have the boldness of coming out, but if he does, l believe he will be dead in the next 24hrs as Arab world are extermist in lsamic religion and lsamic religion abhors homosexuality so non binary genders are not recognize nor accepted there.

    Yes it will be a culture shock to people of Arab world, as Baatour gender is a total revsere of what is obtainable in their culture and religion .

    Is gender stupidity, cause Baatour did not play it gentle, cos even when one is gender consicous which leads to gender competence, there is need to play it gentle. Coming out to contest for such position in a Binary landscape society is stupidity.

  13. Pius lovelyn. 2018052012.

    In Arab world non-binary gender is not allowed because on their religion. The only recognized gender in that community is binary gender. For the fact that Mounir Baatour an open Guy lawyer is gender conscious does not mean he has to go against the law of his society (Arab). That I will say is gender stupidity.

    And imposing imposing or insisting that Tunisia accept him as a non- binary gender to become their president will be culture shock to them.

  14. OCHUBA NKIRU MIRIAM

    This is a Culture shock especially coming from the Arab world,but then,I really wonder how he was allowed to come out in the open to announce his presidential race ambition in such a Muslim dominated country. Howbeit,It’s their right to view or see it as a reversal of norm or not.Dr.,am sorry for responding now,my boy is running temperature, I had to go get some drugs and attend to him

  15. 2018052018
    The Arabs are a people known for Their conservative lifestyle, for religious and cultural reasons. There are laws that criminalizes homosexuality. In 2015, many young people were arrested on charges of homosexuality. Infact, Tunisians believe homosexuality is a mental illness.
    I consider this to be a culture shock because homosexuality is a political and societal taboo in Tunisia. This will not only set precedence to encourage people of the LGBT+ community to go into politics, but will go ahead to promote the practice and coming out of homosexuals in general, which given the gender landscape of the Tunisians, is a societal decay.
    The openly gay Liberal Party leader Mounir Baatour, amongst his several agenda for the Tunisians should he emerge President, has plans to decriminalize homosexuality. He already parades himself as the defender of LGBTIQ rights. There are codes of conduct that guide the behavior of a people, which when altered, causes a rip in the very fabric of that society. Voting Baatour into office would bring about utter chaos. It is gender stupidity and will spell doom for the Tunisians.

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