"I don’t like boys; I tried in Morocco, but it was no use. I like women."
So says the Gigolo to Sasha. The fact that he sought to discover any latent homosexual tendencies in Morocco
was no accident. The country was colonised by both the French and Spanish in 1912, and T’hami El Glaoui
became the leader, or Berber Pasha, that same year. Ruling with an iron fist, Glaoui’s love of all things Western brought in the jet set, perennially in search of a sun-scorched Liberty Hall, thus cementing the country’s dependence on tourism. As with any country with widespread poverty, sex was a commodity like any other, and gender became a minor consideration.
American writer Paul Bowles
first went there in 1931 on the advice of Gertrude Stein
, and was the first of many gay artists who arrived in search of sexually willing local youths, particularly in Marrakesh.
Other regular notables included William Burroughs, Christopher Isherwood, Kenneth Williams and Joe Orton, who dubbed the place ‘Costa del Sodomy’. Latterly, attitudes have become increasingly conservative and stringent on the subject of homosexuality (which is technically illegal in Morocco) and although arrests are rare, the subject is taboo.
The Sheltering Sky on Book Drum