Gay Egypt–A Pilgrimage

Actually, we haven’t made any attempt to find gay life in Egypt. As was widely publicized in 2001, the Egyptian government has developed a record of actively persecuting gay men in the country (with even some foreign tourists caught in raids, although released), and there appears to be little public gay life–not even as much as Iran (see post of 6.6). So far, the only “gay” activity we’ve experienced in Egypt is one somewhat elderly security guard trying to grope Derek in the dark of an underground tomb chamber and numerous disturbingly young boys offering sexual services for money in the tourist ghettoes of Luxor and Aswan. One also reads (although we did not encounter it) that felucca (Nile sailboat) captains offer more than just sailing services and that guards at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum have been known to hook up with tourists. Pretty unsavory stuff, though I’m glad to hear that all those empty sarcophagi are being put to some additional use.

But there was one special place to which I felt a pilgrimage absolutely mandatory: the joint tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep at Saqarra. I will leave the full background of the mystery to other websites (see http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/science/20egyp.html, http://www.egyptology.com/niankhkhnum_khnumhotep/), but the short story is that the tomb (from around 2400 BC) appears to be for the first gay couple in recorded history. (The more/less official line from the Egyptian Department of Antiquities is that they are brothers.) They were, believe it or not, Overseers of the Royal Manicurists.

Below are some pictures we took of the close pair.

4 thoughts on “Gay Egypt–A Pilgrimage

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