Home Institution

Boston University

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Tunisia and Italy: Politics and Religious Integration in the Mediterranean


This study examines how non-governmental organizations use the arts to support their missions in a context of Tunisian LGBTQI++ activism. Homosexuality in Tunisia is punishable by three years in prison, and the LGBTQI++ community is under threat of both legal action and homophobic violence. Yet, since the 2011 Revolution, queer activists have founded several associations to advocate for their community, and the associations have formed a strong connection to the arts.

In this study, I spoke with art organizers from three Tunisian LGBTQI++ associations to document their plentiful art activity. Film and art festivals are prevalent among a wide variety of mediums. I identify the common logistical difficulties the NGOs encounter. The broad challenges are marketing, funding, and staffing, and each obstacle holds unique complications in the specific context of queer activism in Tunisia. Finally, I analyze why three busy organizations choose to put some of their energy toward the arts. I find that the NGOs see a unique power in the arts to attract interest; once they have an audience, they tailor each art project to raise awareness, create a safe space, or spark a dialogue with the public.


African Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies


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