5 Short Stories about Homophobia in Lebanon
Here are the first 5 sotries submitted to the coalition of Lebanese LGBT bloggers and published on LebIDAHO blog . The blog was launched on April 25th, 2011 in praparation for the International Day Against Homophobia IDAHO in Lebanon.
“The goal is to provide a voice to people who suffer from the daily burden of homophobia and are completely ignored by mainstream media, marginalized by their society and threatened by law under article 534 of the Lebanese penal code” says Raynbow founder. “We are so grateful to our LGBT community and straight allies for the enormous response to our call-to-action. We received stories enough to publish a-story-a-day for at least a month and counting.”
Here are the first 5 stories. Help us raise awareness. Please share, blog, email, facebook and tweet.
It’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference. I never thought twice about the public displays of affection I would see on campus or in the street . Couples holding hands or kissing was not a shocking sight. No big deal, right?
But it is a big deal to those in the LGBT community. I know several wonderful couples who must hold back in public. No holding hands, no kissing, no nothing. They can’t even be free at LGBT-friendly nightclubs because the bouncers will stop them. Being LGBT-friendly doesn’t negate the fact that Article 534 still exists and some clubs may not want to risk being “too gay” and getting in trouble – whether they are justified or not.
It pains me greatly to see these couples having to act like “friends” in public. It hurts that I could do so many things that they can’t. It’s not fair. We may be one of the most liberal Arab countries when it comes to gay rights, but that’s not enough. Maybe one day we all can take holding hands in public for granted, LGBT or not. This will only happen if we keep fighting, and fight we shall.
– Rita El-Haddad
”Homophobia” is a funny sounding word if you want to come and think about it! But it’s really ironic how a word so funny has some extremely strong impact on some people’s lives. To be quite frank, homophobia has affected me in many more ways than I can actually recall, mostly throughout my years in school. Back then I was forced to sit, eat, and walk alone on my lunch-breaks, all because I was “gay.”
When I started university, I met a lot of gay-friendly people, who just loved me for who I am. But sometimes, up until this day, this funny sounding word still haunts me from time to time. To give you an example, I have two sisters, one is a total fag hag, and the other is just the total opposite, the utmost bitter homophobic female I encountered in my life. While one supports me, the other constantly tries to put me down, but always ends up failing!
In my university life, homophobia prevented me from having heterosexual male friends, not because I’m feminine, no, but because I’m out, and VERY proud. It’s really their loss!
I pray that people would soon forget that this word exists, wishing never hurts.
When I was 19, my father pulled a gun in my face. I could see in his eyes, back then, that he could very well pull the trigger and end this long struggle between the two of us: Me: the gay son who was kicked out of the house at the age of 14 and now lives on his own with *gasp* a boyfriend. Him: Muslim man; naturally homophobic. I couldn’t see determination in his eyes, though, what I saw was fear; he was more scared than angry, he seemed like he was the one facing the gun, not me.
Fast-forward seven years: This half-Syrian, half-Lebanese man is still alive and kicking. Still gets insomnia at times; dreaming of the sound of the bullet that never came; still tells the story to his friends trying to overcome; still wanting to just let go. Yet, every time this story is told; it gets more engraved in my brain.
I don’t believe I’m out of the closet now because of courage; I’m out of the closet because of necessity: I’m worried that if one day; someone I love, someone I look up to, someone I care about, might find out about my homosexuality; then pulls a trigger at me. I take a shortcut and just tell them right away.
– Danny Ramadan @DannyRamadan
Homophobia is a very heavy word isn’t it?
It literally translates to fear of homosexuals. What I do not understand is why anyone would have an actual fear of us. What is there to be afraid of? Aren’t we human? Are we not made of the same flesh and blood? Are we not all born the same way? Does it really matter that some people are attracted to the same sex as opposed to the opposite?
The answer should be no, I still do not know what all the fuss is about. Living in an Arab society, coming out is like committing an act of murder. It is like murdering your religion, your identity, your nationality, because apparently being gay goes against all of the above. I only came out to a couple of friends whom I trust, because you cannot trust anyone. We are not a disease, we are not lepers.
I only felt like I fit in when I traveled abroad, to other more developed countries than ours, where religious ideals are not so deeply rooted and the people are more open minded.
Homophobia started to seem irrelevant to me after attending a Mashrou3 Leila concert last year in Byblos, and seeing the diversity, and seeing everyone -gay, straight, and bisexual- gathered under the one big banner that is music. The high point was seeing Hamed Sinno raise the gay flag, proudly fluttering suspended above the audience, because it was then that I knew that we can all overcome this, nothing and no one can touch us if we don’t allow them.
– Ralph H.
“By the authority vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and husband”.
Is it that hard to imagine two guys (or two girls) loving each other and tying the knot?
It’s not hard at all actually. But it’s almost impossible to come true in this country thanks to closed minded homophobes who spread hatred and intolerance.
According to my dear dictionary, “love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection”. I would like to emphasize on “all of human kindness”.
Now here’s MY definition of love. Love doesn’t restrain. Love doesn’t stereotype and differentiate. Love is respecting everyone and eliminating hatred. It’s the solution to every single problem existing in the world.
I don’t even like using labels because if it was up to me, people would all be equal and without any virtual barcodes on the back of their necks.
Everybody deserves to be loved and find their happy ending.
I’m not gay but I’m certainly not a homophobe. My best friend who I love to death is gay. That’s why I will be at the IDAHO event standing next to him to spread this message to the world!
All Graphic are by @Zoozel creative