Middle East




Iran A ‘Paradox’ For LGBT’

Arsham Parsi had just been accepted into an Iranian university to study to become a veterinarian when three of his friends who were either gay or transgender committed suicide. He had previously worked with a doctor in his hometown of Shiraz in southern Iran who had been conducting research for a study on rates of… Read more »

‘Steep rise’ in HIV infection feared among gay Israeli men, says survey

Israel: A survey conducted by the Israel AIDS Task Force shows the likelihood of a steep rise in HIV infection rates among gay men in the country, reports GayAsiaNews.com. Of the 989 men who participated in the online poll of gay men, 48 percent reported having unprotected sex at least once this year. The survey,… Read more »

Being Gay in Iran

Coming Out in a Country Where That Can Get You Killed, and the TV Documentary That Outed Me to the World I Ran From Iran And found myself in this town in Turkey, where I didn’t know a soul. I was one of the lucky ones. I’m 16. “May I ask you something personal?” I… Read more »

LGBTQ Communities in the Arab World Face Unique Digital Threats

Across the Arab world, LGBTQ communities still struggle to gain social recognition, and individuals still face legal penalties for consensual activities. In Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq, homosexuality is punishable by death. In 2001, 52 men were arrested for being gay in Cairo. And in Syria, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates, being outed as… 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 »

Kuwait: Parliamentary panel offers to ‘help gays and cross-dressers end their suffering’

A National Assembly panel in Kuwait has offered to ‘end the suffering’ of gay people and cross-dressers. According to the Kuwait Times, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi, president of the ‘negative phenomena committee’ made the offer to gay people yesterday. He said: “Some cross-dressers are going through physiological suffering, and maybe they can be cured if they… Read more »

UAE: Court upholds men’s 6-month jail term for ‘sodomy’

A court in the United Arab Emirates has upheld a six month jail term handed to two men who are alleged to have had sex. State-run newspaper The National is reporting that the Federal Supreme Court has upheld a sentence against the two men, who had previously been convicted of intentionally committing acts of ‘sodomy’.… Read more »

Experts Predict: Iran Will Remain Deadly

Two reports indicate that despite a new president’s overtures to the contrary, Iran will remain a deadly place for LGBTs. With the election last June of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president, there were hopes for a Persian Spring that would improve human rights for the country’s struggling LGBT community. Those hopes have not been borne… 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 »

Israel to legalise surrogacy for gay couples

Israel will legalise surrogacy for gay couples and has begun to issue passports for babies born via surrogacy abroad, ministers have announced. Currently, surrogacy is only legal for married couples, meaning that all same-sex couples have to travel abroad if they want to use a surrogate. However, under the changes, it will become legal for… Read more »

Yemen: 25-year-old man shot dead for being gay

Reports out of Yemen say a gunman in the southern province of Lahj has killed a man for being gay. Eyewitness Ahmed Hadi told the Associated Press that Waleed Saleh Awedan, 25, was shot by a man riding a motorbike near his home on Monday evening. The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorised… Read more »

Israel’s first memorial to gay Holocaust victims unveiled

Israel’s first memorial to the homosexual victims of the Nazis was inaugurated on Tuesday in a Tel Aviv park near the city’s Gay Center Israel now has its first memorial to the gay victims of the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, with a public memorial to them unveiled in Tel Aviv’s Meir Park on Tuesday.… Read more »

Being gay in Syria

When Syrian rebels took Racca last March, one would have thought that the capture of this northern city that was previously controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would suffice them. They do not get involved in the private lives of citizens by Amir, a Syrian from the city. This quiet period did not… Read more »

Israeli President Shimon Peres says he supports same-sex marriage

Shimon Peres has told Israeli news agency YNet that he supports same-sex marriage because all human beings should have the same rights, during a state visit to Mexico Israeli President Shimon Peres has become the highest ranking Israeli politician to announce their support for same-sex couples having the right to marry – although his role… 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 »

Iran: Still hostile to gays

Rouhani’s so-called moderation has changed precious little on the ground for the Islamic Republic’s LGBT community A reformer? Really? The expectation that the election of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would curtail persecution of minorities has proved a bitter disappointment for his country’s struggling gay community. Sadly, human rights under the so-called “moderate” Rouhani presidency… Read more »

Denied Identity: Human Rights Abuses Against Iran’s LGBT Community

Since its inception, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has discriminated, in law and in practice, against its lesbian and gay population. While transgender Iranians are legally protected if they start the sex-change process, there is significant concern that gay and lesbian individuals could be unnecessarily encouraged to undergo sex-reassignment surgery. In addition, LGBT (lesbian,… Read more »

Being Gay in Tel Aviv, the Manhattan of the Middle East

My mom is a gay civil rights activist. Let’s get down to it: The reason I support Israel is that I found a different cause from my mom’s. Yet I remain deeply invested in gay civil rights. I cried when gay marriage was legalized in New York on June 24, 2011. New Yorkers, gay and… 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 »

Comment: With all eyes on anti-gay Russia, there are three countries with a shocking need for coverage

Paul Canning looks critically at media coverage of the LGBT situation in Russia, highlighting other areas around the globe where hate crimes and violence have also soared, yet where media coverage is still minimal. It’s Russia, Russia, Russia when it comes to ‘foreign gay news’ these days. But it’s a much bigger and badder gay… 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 »

Israel to honour gay Holocaust victims with first monument

Israel has announced that it is to erect a monument in the honour of gay victims of the Holocaust, the first of its kind in the country. The memorial is to be completed in Meir Park, Tel Aviv later this year, and the first of its kind in Israel. Like other monuments around the world,… Read more »

No Place for Gays in Yemen

Sana’a (IPS) – As he gets ready to go to a café in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, Husam tucks his long tresses inside a hood before getting into the back of his friend’s car. “Still problematic,” his friend tells him, assessing him in the rear view mirror. Husam pushes his hair further inside. A short drive… Read more »

Syria Gay Activists Launch First Magazine

The magazine hopes to highlight threats against homosexuals, especially in wartime Syrian homosexuals marched through the center of Istanbul on Thursday, raising both Syrian revolution and regime flags. The controversial rally, which took place the central Istiklal Street was organized by Mawaleh (salty nuts), Syria’s first gay magazine. In an interview with Zaman al-Wasl, the… Read more »

HIV Prevalence and Related Risk Behaviors in Men Who Have Sex with Men, Yemen 2011.

Source Regional Knowledge Hub, and WHO Collaborating Centre for HIV Surveillance, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran, ali.mirzazadeh@hivhub.ir. Abstract Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at growing risk of HIV infection in many parts of the world; however, the epidemic has not been well explored among… Read more »

Al-Qaida linked militants kill another gay man in Yemen

emeni security officials say a 20-year-old man has been executed on suspicion of being homosexual by militants from an Al-Qaida linked group in what may be the 34th such extrajudicial killing of LGBTs in the country Militants from the Al-Qaida linked Ansar Al Sharia islamist group have shot dead a 20-year-old they suspected of being… 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 »

Conjugal visits approved for gay and lesbian prisoners in Israel

The Israel Prison Service has announced its prisoner’s ordinance allows conjugal visits for homosexual prisoners Homosexual prisoners in Israel have now been granted conjugal visits. Gay and lesbian prisoners in Israel have been granted the same conjugal visitation rights as straight prisoners. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Israel Prison… 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 »

Gay Yemeni activist facing death threats seeks to stay in Canada

Ala’a Jarban begins refugee claim process An internationally known youth activist involved in the 2011 Yemeni revolution is seeking refugee status in Canada after he was inundated with death threats in reaction to a blog posting declaring he was gay. Ala’a Jarban, who is currently in Montreal, has been weighing the difficult decision of whether… Read more »

Video: Montreal a human rights ‘hot spot’

  Montreal – There are no gays in Yemen. That’s the Middle Eastern republic’s official position on homosexuality. But in the event that a person is caught committing a homosexual act in one of Yemen’s southeastern provinces, two kinds of punishment are meted out: flogging and death. In the face of the country’s profoundly homophobic… Read more »

Israel’s Tel Aviv holds annual gay pride parade

Tel Aviv, Israel (AP) — Drag queens, politicians, grandmothers and shirtless men descended on Tel Aviv in their thousands Friday to party in the annual gay pride parade, the 15th march to be held in an Israeli city that has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly. Loud dance music beat along the parade’s… Read more »

Three arrested for Israel gay youth shooting

Israeli police arrested three suspects in connection with a shooting which left two dead and dozens injuried at a Tel-Aviv gay youth center shooting in 2009 Israeli police have arrested three suspects in connection with a shooting at Tel-Aviv’s gay youth center in 2009. The three suspects who were arrested today (5 June) will appear… Read more »

Politics of a Queer

Growing up in KSA, I witnessed a Pakistani and an Indian being executed in Medina for being gay. The image of the two beheaded bodies still haunts me until now. It never fails to stir anger and despise against the Saudi kings and princes, especially that I know for a fact that Prince Abdulmajid, the… Read more »

Being queer without fear: films on LGBTS from Iran, Pakistan

What must it be like to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in a conservative country? This year, the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will highlight the travails of the LGBT community by screening films from countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Serbia and Israel. Still from Noor, a film about the LGBT community… 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 »

Young man assaulted and injured on a Jerusalem bus for being gay

A young man from Jerusalem, Israel was verbally abused and brutally assaulted on a night bus for being gay, while passengers and security stood by and did not intervene A young gay man was attacked on a Jerusalem night bus, receiving facial injuries. The youth in his early twenties went out with friends in Jerusalem,… Read more »