Badr Baabou lives in Tunis and is involved in the work of Damj as its co-founder and President. The association advocates inclusion, justice and equality for minorities – and fights homophobia in Tunisia
His family suspects he is homosexual, but the subject is never broached. That is no reason for Badr Baabou to hide, however. On the contrary. For him, it is important that people associate his face and his name with the fight against homophobia and transphobia because many people – too many – remain anonymous: “I am no longer afraid. Our sexual orientation is just one aspect that defines us as human beings. Sooner or later, homophobia will become obsolete as a social issue.“
That is what Badr Baabou has been fighting for in Tunisia since 2002 – and that is why he, together with 14 other activists against homophobia and transphobia from the North African and Middle East region (MENA), accepted an invitation from the Federal Foreign Office and the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation to come to Germany. The aim of the information tour is to exchange views, build international networks between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations, and to provide training on Internet security.
“In Tunisia, homosexuality is officially punishable by imprisonment – but as a result of the revolution, we have a relatively strong civil society and a constitution that protects human rights,” says Baabou. And he adds that Tunisia could play a pioneering role for the MENA region. That is why he wants to do his best to support other activists, some of whom are still operating clandestinely, to set up and develop aid organisations step by step. Damj for Justice and Equality, the organisation he co-founded, has been officially recognised as a non-governmental organisation in his country since 2011.
Badr Baabou, President and co-founder of Damj (inclusion) for Justice and Equality, an organisation working to defend and include minorities and marginalised groups, Tuni