First Advisor

Lindsay Benstead

Date of Publication

Summer 8-3-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Gay liberation movement -- Algeria, Gay liberation movement -- Morocco, Gay liberation movement -- Tunisia, Sexual minorities -- Political activity -- North Africa, Gay rights – North Africa, Gay liberation movement -- Middle East, Gay rights -- Middle East



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 129 pages)


Citizens' increased access to the internet is transforming political landscapes across the globe. The implications for civil society, culture, religion, governmental legitimacy and accountability are vast. In nations where one does not typically expect "modern" or egalitarian ideals to be prevalent among highly religious and conservative populations, those with motivations to unite around socially and culturally taboo causes are no longer forced to silently acquiesce and accept the status quo. The internet has proven to be an invaluable tool for those aiming to engage in social activism, as it allows citizens in highly oppressive authoritarian regimes to covertly mobilize and coordinate online protest events (such as hashtag campaigns, proclamations via social media, signing of petitions, and even DDoS attacks) without the fear of repression.

What catalyzes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) equality movements in authoritarian regimes, specifically with respect to the Middle East and North African region? This thesis argues that gay rights movements are more likely to emerge in politically repressive, more conservative states when new political opportunities--namely access to the internet for purposes of political organization--become available. This master's thesis identifies why LGBTQ movements emerged in Morocco and Algeria, but not in Tunisia until after it underwent democratization. These states will be analyzed in order to gauge the strength of their LGBTQ rights movements and, most importantly, to identify which variables most cogently explain their existence altogether.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier