Lebanon, Middle East

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the five provinces that comprise present-day Lebanon were mandated to France. The country gained independence in 1943, and French troops withdrew in 1946.
Homosexuality remains a crime in Lebanon, but the country is unusual among Arab-majority nations in that it has a small internal gay rights movement. As a practical matter, enforcement of the law is varied and often occurs through occasional police harassment and arrests. Aside from the criminal law, gay Lebanese civilians have been charged with violating censorship laws regulating free speech and free press. In 2000, the webmaster of gaylebanon.com faced military charges for maintaining a website for gay and lesbian Lebanese. Aside from occasional harassment LGBT citizens gather easily and discreetly.
Also see: Islam and Homosexuality.  Also see new lesbian book: Bareed Mista3jil.

 

News & Reports:

 

Lebanon Hosted The First Gay Pride Ever Held In The Arab World

This Sunday, May 21, marked the end of a week of festivities in Lebanon following its first Gay Pride, which was also the first Gay Pride in the Arab world. It was held in Batroun, in the north of the country, and was the closing event in a series of celebrations and debates in the city’s… Read more »

Meeting the needs of MSM in the Middle East and North Africa

Manuel Couffignal is a Senior Advisor: Funding and Influence at the Alliance. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), men who have sex with men (MSM) are a particularly vulnerable and highly stigmatised community, and their burden of HIV infection is significantly higher than the general population. From 2005 to 2015, the Alliance worked… Read more »

Deadly Stigma: HIV Infections in Middle East on the Rise

Despite a historically low prevalence of HIV infections, countries in the Middle East and North Africa are facing a rising number of HIV/AIDS cases at a time when the rates of new infections drop across the globe as part of a concerted effort to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Such a dynamic is on… Read more »

Rare LGBT protest held in Lebanon

A rare protest, demanding a repeal of laws criminalising homosexuality as “against nature”, has taken place in Lebanon. Around 50 activists gathered outside the Hbeish Gendarmerie in Beirut, a place where morality police often take suspects, in the first protest of its kind for four years. As well as calls to decriminalise homosexuality, the group… Read more »

Arbitrary detention of LGBTI individuals in Lebanon: specific vulnerabilities and international ways of recourse.

“States are complicit in the violence women and LGBT groups face if they implement discriminatory laws that trap these people in a spiral of abuse”, stated the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) while presenting its report on the gender-perspective on torture to the Human Rights Council on 9 March 2016. This draws interest… Read more »

Lebanon allows trans man to legally change his gender

For the first time ever, a trans man in the Lebanon has had his gender legally changed on public records. The decision came after Judge Janet Hanna of the Beirut, Lebanon Court of Appeals, allowed the man to change his legal gender. The ruling has been celebrated as the first time in the Lebanon that… Read more »

Online activists spur change in Middle East, China, world

Online LGBT activism and community-building are the focus of this week’s video in the “Quorum” series of 11 discussions of international LGBTI issues. Moderator for the latest discussion is Andre Banks, executive director of AllOut.org, the U.S.-based advocacy organization that has enlisted 2 million people worldwide to take action online for LGBTI rights. Panelists /… Read more »

Lebanon police entrapping gay people by going through WHATSAPP contacts

Beirut: Lebanon’s LGBTQI advocacy organization Helem says that police in Beirut are entrapping gay people by going through the WHATSAPP message service contacts of arresting gay individuals. Urgent Announcement: Helem has learned that the Hobeich police station has been arresting individuals in Beirut They are summoning contacts from detainees based on their WHATSAPP conversations to… Read more »

Lebanese police go on gay arresting spree

Beirut: Police in Lebanon across the country are conducting search and raid operations targeting gay men and arresting them. The operation began Aug 9 when police arrested 27 men at the Agha Hammam Turkish bath in the Hamra-Concord area of Beirut for alleged “gay sex” and “indecency.” Six of those have since been released while… Read more »

Report: Lebanon targets gay men in 3 raids, 45 arrests

Journalist Dan Littauer reports on a wave of Lebanese police raids targeting gay men, starting with the Aug. 9 arrest of 27 men at the Agha Hammam Turkish bath in Beirut (reported here Aug. 13). Further raids reportedly occurred on Aug. 14, with 18 men arrested at two locations. Excerpts from Littauer’s account, starting with… Read more »

Openly gay Lebanese singer faces opposition to concert

Mashrou’ Leila and lead singer Hamed Sinno still set to perform at Zouk festival A public figure and legal adviser in the small, largely Christian Lebanese city of Zouk Mikael is trying to stop a concert by a local, independent band whose lead singer is gay. “We, the honourable free people in Zouk will not… Read more »

MSM Advocates from the MENA Region Launch “M-Coalition”: The First Arab Coalition on MSM and HIV

(Melbourne, Australia) – As part of the International Aids Conference, the M-Coalition was officially launched and presented to the International community at large ceremony yesterday at the Clarendon in Melbourne, followed by a series of sessions and interventions across the global village. Hosted by the Arab Foundation of Freedom and Equality (AFE), the M-Coalition is… Read more »

Lebanon: Anal exams still being conducted on ‘suspected homosexuals’ despite ban

Anal examinations are still being carried out on people suspected of being gay in Lebanon, despite the country’s medical board banning the practice. People arrested by police in the country have been subjected to the humiliating exam – which involves an egg-shaped object being placed inside a man’s rectum – despite condemnation by the Lebanese… Read more »

LGBT Syrians seek refuge in Lebanon

Ahmed Danny Ramadan, a journalist who has contributed to publications in the U.S. and other countries, returned to the Syrian capital two months before the country’s civil war began in 2011. He said his colleagues at the non-governmental organization where he worked “hated” the fact he is openly gay, so they reported him to Syrian… Read more »

Lebanon Just Did a Whole Lot More Than Legalize Being Gay

LGBTQ rights supporters rejoiced on Thursday with news that homosexuality is no longer illegal in Lebanon. A court ruling abolished a case against an unnamed transwoman – accused of having a “same sex relationship with a man” – stating that homosexuality can no longer be considered a crime because it is “not unnatural.” Lebanese law… Read more »

Lebanon Court: Gay Sex Not A Crime Against Nature

A judge in Lebanon has declared invalid a law criminalizing gay sex. The ruling is being hailed as a milestone by activists in Lebanon. According to the English language The Daily Star, Judge Naji al-Dahdah ruled Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code to be invalid in clearing a transsexual woman of having a same-sex relationship… Read more »

Lebanon’s gay-friendly reputation challenged by abuses

Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, comes alive under darkness. Its narrow alleyways meander into streets full of bars. The locals, many dressed in designer clothing generously splashed with expensive fragrances, sit on the verandas drinking cocktails till dawn. The city’s liberal demeanour really does make it like no other place in a deeply conservative region. But Beirut… Read more »

Dare Lebanon show sexplicit gay film tonight?

Reports say Beirut International Film Festival faces censor disapproval on decision to include award-winning French thriller ‘Stranger by the lake’ Will they, won’t they? That’s what gay and other rights activists are wondering about the Beirut International Film Festival as it gets ready for tonight’s screening. The film chosen in the Panorama section for the… Read more »

Lebanon censors French film depicting gay love story

A French film featuring a gay love story has been blocked by Lebanese censors, the Beirut International Film Festival has said. The festival said it had been informed by censors that the film L’inconnu du lac, or Stranger by the Lake, was not suitable for viewing, and did not meet the criteria needed to be… Read more »

Lebanon on course to legalize homosexuality

Psychologists agree to be expert witnesses in court to say homosexuality is natural, and so laws against ‘unnatural’ sex acts do not apply Lebanon is closer to making gay sex legal after psychiatrists and psychologists in the country stated homosexuality was ‘natural’, GSN can reveal. The statements are a huge breakthrough because law 534, used… Read more »

Lebanese Psychiatric Society declares being homosexual is not a mental illness

But homosexuality remains officially illegal and there are sometimes police crackdowns The Lebanese Psychiatric Society has declared homosexuality is not a mental illness. The society says in a statement: ‘Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities.’ It also states: ‘The assumption that homosexuality is a… Read more »

Lebanon Says: Being Gay Is Not a Disease and Needs No Treatment

Beirut, Lebanon — Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated, the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) stated on Thursday. LPS made it clear that the statement was in response to allegations of arrest and mistreatment of LGBT people in Lebanon. “Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment,… Read more »

Lebanon gays tortured, beaten and forced to undergo ‘anal probes’ by police

Security forces in Lebanon routinely torture, beat, verbally and physically abuse people suspected of being gay, breaching international agreements which the country ratified, says a report Lebanese Internal Security Forces threaten, ill-treat, and torture LGBT people in their custody says report released today. In just one example of many interviewees, Nadim was arrested in 2010… Read more »

Our 30th of April-2013 manifestation Gay and Proud

30th of April, 2013… a week after the incident that caused a storm of outrage among the LGBT in Lebanon and the human rights delegate and supporters alike, a week after Mr Antoine Chakhtoura, Mayor of Dekwani, a residential and industrial hub in mount Lebanon, took an unjust, illegal and unwelcomed step by raiding a… Read more »

Reasons to be gay… not

The J.Spot a blog about women’s rights, human dignity, secularism and sexual freedom in the Arab world As I follow the ongoing debates about gay marriage in the US, and read the wave of criticism that hit actress Jodie Foster’s ‘reticent’ way of coming out during her speech at the recent Golden Globes ceremony (she… Read more »

Gay Lebanese Singer Hamed Sinno Navigates Middle Eastern Taboos Through Music

In the West, bands with openly gay members are increasingly common. But in the Arab world, where an admission of homosexuality can lead to grave consequences, Hamed Sinno’s unapologetic gay swag as front man for the Lebanese indie band Mashrou Leila is a symbol of the cultural crosswinds sweeping the Middle East. Part Freddie Mercury,… Read more »

Lebanese Authorities Arrest Two Men For “Sodomy”

Lebanese security forces arrested two men Friday for indecent acts after they were allegedly found engaging in sexual activity inside a car, a police spokesperson told the National News Agency (NNA). NNA reported the men had been detained in the Beirut district of Achrafieh for “sodomy,” while a security source said the men were currently… Read more »

Beirut’s Growing Gay Scene Gets “Out” Online

Sitting at a café in Beirut Souks, Rabee lowers his voice and makes a quieting gesture. “Can we please keep this conversation down?” he asks. “I don’t want people at the next table to hear.” Rabee is a good-looking young Lebanese man in his twenties, wearing a light-colored shirt and jeans. He is also gay,… Read more »

Gay Lebanon News and Reports 2009-11

Human rights groups in Lebanon: Helem Meem Lebanese Lesbian Group Hurriyyat Khassa (Private Liberties) See #4 below Also see: More information about Islam & Homosexuality al-fatiha-news Middle East Youth Queer Muslim magazine: Huriyah, Barra Gay Islam discussion groups: Muslim Gay Men     LGBT muslim Queer Jihad           Bi-muslims Trans-muslims       Lesbian muslims Muslim Yahoo Group: "Queer Muslim Revolution"… Read more »

Gay Lebanon News and Reports 2002-08

Also see: Islam and Homosexuality Human rights groups in Lebanon: Helem Meem Lebanese Lesbian Group Hurriyyat Khassa (Private Liberties) See #4 below Also see: Gay Middle East Web Site: http://www.gaymiddleeast.com/ More information about Islam & Homosexuality can be found at: www.al-fatiha.org Other articles of interest can be found at: groups.yahoo.com/group/al-fatiha-news Queer Muslim magazine: Huriyah Gay… Read more »