In Saudi Arabia, being an openly LGBT influencer can land you in prison
In Saudi Arabia, posting a makeup tutorial as a man can get you arrested. Under the kingdom's strict cyber laws, being openly gay or defying gender roles online can have severe consequences. That was the case for three LGBT influencers who have been arrested in Saudi Arabia since 2019. Our Observer fled his home country of Saudi Arabia after coming out and is fighting from abroad to free his LGBT compatriots from prison.
Tala Safwan is now in prison, Suhail al-Jameel was released from prison in October 2022, and Mohamad al-Bokari was deported to his home country of Yemen. These three LGBT influencers and online personalities were all targeted by strict cybercrime laws that aim to maintain "public morality". Today, al-Bokari has been granted political asylum in a European country, but this is not the case for thousands of Saudis from the LGBT community – or even their allies – whose fate remains unknown.