Outed on TikTok in Ethiopia: ‘How a dance nearly cost me my life’

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12/04/2023

When a clip of two men dancing at a party in Ethiopia was posted to TikTok, it unleashed a torrent of homophobic hatred and eventually forced one of them to flee the country. The pair were unaware they were being filmed. The videos were initially posted to Instagram where someone took a screenshot of them to make a TikTok post that went viral. “I didn’t want to come out [as gay], but social media pulled me out,” Arnold, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, tells the BBC. “Now everybody knows who I am, and my sexual identity,” the 20-year-old Ethiopian student says. Homosexuality is illegal in Ethiopia and punishable by penalties that range from 10 days to three years in prison, according to the UN.

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