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On a chilly March night, Shrouk El-Attar is preparing for a belly dancing show at a London club by pulling on a shimmering blue skirt, fixing a sparkly bra – and sticking on a beard. The act, called “Dancing Queer”, is a protest against the persecution of gay, lesbian and transgender people in El-Attar’s native Egypt where they risk violence, arrest and jail. But the vivacious electrical engineering student wears many hats. Hours before the show – which she has performed around the country – El-Attar donned a suit and tie to speak at Britain’s parliament about issues faced by refugees.

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