LGBT+ campaigner bids to become Tunisia’s first openly gay president

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A Tunisian politician vying to become his country’s first openly gay president has said he will push to decriminalize gay sex and insisted his candidacy should not be defined by his sexuality.

Mounir Baatour hopes to change perceptions in the conservative North African country, where homosexuality is punishable by up to three years in jail.

“I will open a debate about LGBT rights,” the 48-year-old founder of Tunisia’s leading LGBT+ rights group, Shams, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

“I saw there is no progress on this matter in Tunisia: there is no politician who is endorsing these cases and in my opinion I am the best person who can change the Tunisian society.”

Authorities in the overwhelmingly Muslim country regularly enforce the law against gay sex, and a recent survey by Arab Barometer for the BBC found

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