Archive for the ‘LGBT – Politics’ Category

Tunisia about to Legalize Homosexuality!


The LGBT community across the Arab World and the world anticipates with great hope the recent laws being drafted in Tunisia which include a clear and explicit call to ban the punishment of homosexuals based on their sexual orientation.

It all started with The Committee on Individual Freedoms and Equality which published its report on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 after presenting it to the President of the country. The report is of over 230 pages and calls for several amendments to the constitution. Among the drafted suggestions, many are expected to arouse vast waves of controversy across Arab and Islamic countries and communities.

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The report does not exclusively discuss the legality of homosexuality but goes as far as suggesting the right of women to pass their last names onto their children. As its title implies, the document goes on to cover various aspects of individual rights & freedoms  and equality and discusses both the latter and the former in two separate parts.                       

Interestingly, the document claims that it is the product of thinkers consulting not only sociological sources as one might expect, but also religious ones. It is also worth mentioning that among the thinkers whose input resulted in the aforementioned document, are people who have been known as political Islamists such as Salaheddine El Jorshy who is an advocate of Islamic Leftism.

Jorshy, who is also a well known media figure in Tunisia, was interviewed by “El Jawhara fm” in Tunis where he stated that this is the first time individual freedoms and personal rights are being officially discussed by “experts”.


When asked about the part of the report that touches upon homosexuality and its legality, he said that “the phenomenon of homosexuality must be admitted and while every human is entitled freedom when it comes to his body, it is the demeaning and insulting practices against these people that should be banned.”

While the Tunisian street is not by any means exempted from opponents to the suggested drafts, the country and social justice advocates elsewhere seem to await the approval of the document with unprecedented hope. With Lebanon being in the process of forming the new cabinet of ministers, one cannot but wonder, are we next?

 Document PDF



Backstage Interview with Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila

August 7, 2014 1 comment

Back Stage Interview with Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila

by: Rabih B. El Koussa & Lisa R. Riskalas


 We were lucky enough to be able to interview Hamed Sinno backstage at Light FM’s 25th anniversary celebratory concert at Zouk Mikael. Our sincere apologies for the delay, and we hope you’ll let us know of any questions you would like us to ask in an upcoming interview.

Q: Surely, you’re used to homophobic comments here and there by now. But what was your reaction to Fouad Al Adem’s campaign to keep you out of Zouk Mikael due to your sexuality?

Hamed: Honestly Al-Adem didn’t say anything that I don’t see anywhere on my Twitter notifications board or YouTube comments on a daily basis. At first I dismissed it, the way I’ve grown accustomed to doing, but then started to panic a little bit when I saw how much of a big deal the media was making of it. I feel like in these situations, when homophobes are given so much legitimacy and affirmations for their statements, they are given more incentive to actually commit non-verbal hate crime. It was also interesting to see this happening in Zouk because it re-affirmed my take on these things being that hate stems from all sorts of fanaticism, not just the age-old-tale stereotyping the Islamic community as the sole force of bigotry in the Middle East.

Q: Were you surprised by fans’ reactions? And do you think that Fouad Al Adem influenced this performance’s crowd in any way possible?

Hamed: I’m always overwhelmed when I see so much support coming from the LGBT community during these events. It means much more to me than would be easy to articulate. I think in some twisted way Al Adem actually made the performance better, in that it reminded the audience of the politics that are actually always there in the fabric of events leading up to a stage performance. It’s easy to forget about the courage that it takes for a performer, queer-identified or otherwise, to get up on stage and subject themselves to the terror of social observation.

Q: Despite fans’ requests (including myself,) to hear Shim el Yasmine, you didn’t sing that song. Is there a certain reason behind that?

Hamed: The reason is very simple: we were doing our job, which was to put on a good show, and we were trying to keep the show as upbeat and pumped as possible. Save for Ne Me Quittes Pas, which was played as one of our two covers for the evening (the framework for all the bands involved,) we only played our more up-tempo tracks.

Q: On your first album, we find a cause in every one of your songs, from LGBTQ rights, to domestic violence, to dealing with corrupt political system, which would you consider the ultimate cause?

Hamed: The ultimate cause is to keep making music, in whatever shape or form.

Q: In the light of the homophobic movements, what can you advise the LGBTQ community?

Hamed: Do not tire. And never disregard the value of creating sustainable queer networks and support systems, even when they are for personal purposes, they have the power to renegotiate the entire foundations of the societies we inhabit.

The Tests of Shame Return to Lebanon

In recent days, it has become evident that anal tests or “Shame Tests” have returned to Lebanon, as Dr. Ahmad Mokdad, a Lebanese forensic doctor, has been examining individuals using the abusive test in order to determine their sexual orientation. The test, banned on August 7th 2012 by the Lebanese Order of Physicians, includes the forcible insertion of a metal egg-shaped object into the anal rectum, which supposedly tells if an individual had anal intercourse. Obviously, the test is a sham, as it fails to prove anything. Firstly, consensual anal intercourse does not leave permanent scarring or result in deformities of the anus or penis. Secondly, homosexuality, which is what the test is intended to prove, is not only about anal sex but is a much more complex concept, based on attraction, behaviour and identity.

In August 2012, the Lebanese police arrested 35 men (which is reported here, on the Daily Star website) at a cinema in the Bourj Hammoud district of Beirut, as they had received a tip-off that the men were watching homosexual pornography. All the men were subjected to the test and forced to pay the $85 which the test costs. Three of the men were later charged of ‘unnatural sex’ under the archaic and condemned Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code. Whatever the conviction, the anal probe still scarred all 35 men. The Lebanese Order of Physicians, politicians and human rights activists came out strongly against the tests; there were protests staged around Beirut, denouncing the tests of shame, as they came to be known. Apparently the “Provincetown of the Middle East” (a claim made by the New York Times) is only a “gay haven” for tourists, not for locals, and definitely not for refugees (which became evident after the Dekwaneh scandal).

The anal tests in 2012 caused an outbreak of protests across Beirut. Helem, the Arab World's leading LGBT organisation was at the frontline protesting this crime.

The anal tests in 2012 caused an outbreak of protests across Beirut. Helem, the Arab World’s leading LGBT organisation was at the frontline protesting this crime.

The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH)  just released a position statement ( on anal tests to assess someone’s sexual orientation. LebMASH has responded to the Legal Agenda’s report on shame tests still being performed in Lebanon, where 5 men recently were subjected to the test (in Arabic). LebMASH urges the Lebanese Order of Physicians (LOP) to discipline Dr. Ahmad Mokdad and offers to provide the LOP’s members with cultural competency training and scientifically sound educational sessions on the topic.

Unknownlegal agenda

I, Jonathan Lawrence, thank for hosting my post. I decry the lack of media attention to this story. There are regular reports in Western media concerning homosexuality and homosexual rights, yet these outrageous invasive and abusive tests, which can permanently damage an individual, both mentally and physically, have largely been ignored by Western media outlets.


Jonathan Lawrence

قضية الدكوانة – معلوف : هل أصبح هذا الأخير ضحية؟


وكأن جو معلوف أصبح هو القضية .


هذا الاعلامي المثير للجدل الذي دافع مراراً وتكراراً عن قاضيا إنسانية من خلال طرحه لها عبر برنامجه “أنت حر” على محطة ال MTV، طرد بعدما تطرق لحادثة الدكوانه. 


وفي تفاصيل الحادثة ، أن جو معلوف هاجم في حلقته الأخيرة رئيس بلدية الدكوانه “أنطوان شخطورة” بعدما أقدم هذا الأخير على توقيف عدداً من المثليين والمتحولين جنسياً في ملهى ليلي في الدكوانه وتم تعريتهم/ن وتصويرهم/ن بالقوة في مبنى البلدية  وقام  بإرسال هذه الصور إلى مختلف وسائل الإعلام  داعماً موقفه بأنه يريد تنظيف الدكوانه من “تجار الفساد” و-“اللواط” كما ذكر في تصريحٍ له بعد الحادثة.


و ما  إن أشار معلوف في برنامجه لمختلف وسائل المس في حقوق الانسان والانتهاكات التي قام بها شخطورة بحق هؤلاء الأشخاص مسلطاً الضوء على أعمال هذا الأخير  التعسفية في حق كل من هو “غير دكواني أصيل” من عمال اجانب وسوريين ، إلى مثليين و-“أنصاف رجال”  ، قامت محطة الMTV  بتوقيف برنامجه وطرده هو وفريق عمله.


وهنا نطرح السؤال التالي : هل قضية الدكوانه هي قضية طرد جو معلوف وتوقيف برناجمه؟ أم انها قضيةٌ أخرى تم التعتيم عليها لتغطية الشخطورة ومصالحه الإنتخابية؟


لم يتوارى يوماً برنامج المعلوف عن إبراز مهاراتٍ في التمييز العنصري ، إن كان ضد العمال السوريين الذين وبحسب حلقة من حلقات “أنت حر” أنهم ينتهكون حرية الفتيات في منطقة الأشرفية واضعاً هؤلاء العمال في خانة “الزعران” مطالباً حينها أحد المسؤولين السياسين تنظيف الأشرفية .هذا البرنامج نفسه وإن نكر جو معلوف، هو الذي أوقف ٣٨ رجلاً أو “لوطي” بتهمة العار في سينما الحمرا ، واجريت لهم فحوص العار حينها.


هل ننسى كيف تم ألتصوير في سينما في طرابلس تعرض أفلاماً إباحية يزورها فقط رجال أو شاذين وتتم فيها أعمال دعارة ومخدرات حسب المعلوف ؟ هل ننسى كيف عرض المعلوف شريطاً مصوراً يظهر فيه زائر من زوار السينما دون تغير صوته أو إخفاء وجهه ؟ هل ننسى كيف تم عرض الأسماء الثلاثية للذين تم توقيفهم  و اخضاعهم  لفحوصات العار في سينما في الدورة في جريدة الأخبار و نشرة الأخنار عبر ال MTV ؟ وكيف يومها صفقت هذه المحطة لبطلها الذي أوقف الفساد بتوقيفه اللواط ؟


هل ننسى كل هذه الانتهاكات ونسلط الضوء على طرده من المحطة لأسباب سياسية وإنتخابية أصبحت واضحة للجميع ؟


و كل هذه الأفعال التي قام بها المعلوف لن تمنعنا من أن نقدم كل إحترام و تقدير لطريقة عرضه للقضية و طريقة معالجته لهذا الموضوع الحساس الذي عتمت عليه معظم  وسائل الإعلام . فنحن بدورنا نحيي شجاعته و دعمه لقضيةِ إنتهاك حقوق الإنسان ؛ أي انسان كان .

و نطالب كل وسائل الإعلام قبل عرضها لأية قضية تتعلق بإنتهاك حقوق الإنسان أن تأخذ من هذه الحلقة و من المعلوف عبرةً لكي لا تضيع “الطاسه” في المرة القادمة و تتحول القضية من حقوق الإنسان الى قضية مصالح إنتخابية و سياسية و ذاتية .


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Ministre de l’Intérieur déclare: ‘Le Liban est contre la sodomie’

Marwan Charbel, le ministre de l’Intérieur du Liban a déclaré que l’homosexualité est illégale et «demandait » si les homosexuels français mariés devraient être autorisés à entrer dans le pays.

Marwan Charbel

Le ministre libanais de l’Intérieur Marwan Charbel, a déclaré publiquement à la télévision que le Liban est contre la «sodomie» et rhétoriquement demandé si les couples homosexuels français mariés devraient être autorisés à entrer au Liban.

Lors d’une interview avec Al Jadeed TV, Charbel référence aux homosexuels dans un terme religieux extrêmement péjoratif, «liwat», se référant aux personnes maudites de Lot, traduit approximativement par «sodomie» et parfois utilisé pour désigner la notion de «pédés».

Il a dit: ‘Le Liban est contre liwat et conformément à la loi libanaise c’est un crime.

«Et je me demande, après que la France a permis aux homosexuels de se marier, devrions-nous leur permettre d’entrer au Liban?

Cette annonce intervient peu de temps après Antoine Shakhtoura, maire de la banlieue de Beyrouth Dekwaneh, avait arrêtés et transportés dans des coffres de voiture au poste de police six clubbers gays et trans où ils ont été forcément déshabillée, photographié, battu et humilié, dans une incident signalé par GSN la semaine dernière.

Les militants LGBT libanais, dont certains ont participé à une manifestation contre l’arrestation abusive et les coups violents la semaine dernière, a rejeté et critiqué la déclaration du ministre.

En parlant avec Gay Star News, Bertho Makso, propriétaire de la seule société de voyage amicale aux gay du Liban, a déclaré: «Charbel est très prêt à laisser les musulmans radicaux à violer la loi, tandis que son commentaire anti-gay est de la pure ignorance.

«Tout d’abord, la loi qu’il fait référence à, l’article 534, interdit les actes sexuels ‘en contradiction avec les lois de la nature’, qui est punissable jusqu’à un an en prison, ce qui n’est pas un crime. »

«Deuxièmement, en 2009, un juge libanais à Batroun a jugé que le sexe gay n’est pas ‘en contradiction avec la nature’, ce qui fait cet article redondant dans ce cas. »

«Troisièmement, les touristes LGBT profitent de l’hospitalité ici, même si le ministre voulait interdire l’entrée aux homosexuels mariés, il ne pouvait pas le faire légalement, et de nombreux professionnels du tourisme ont simplement moqués ses remarques ridicules.

Joseph Aoun, gérant du gay bar Bardo de Beyrouth a dit à GSN: ‘Nous en avons assez avec les divagations homophobes et maintenant nous répondons en revenant à travailler avec Helem et le Lebanese LGBT media monitoring group.’

«Nous demandons aux gens d’utiliser une photo de profil Facebook et Twitter, qui remplace les deux lignes rouges du drapeau libanais avec le mot ‘droits’ en arabe et un arbre de cèdre colorée en arc en ciel jusqu’au 17 mai, Journée Internationale contre l’Homophobie. »

«Nous gérons également un ‘Marathon pour l’égalité’ et on a commencé un blog pour les gens à échanger des idées sur les nouveaux développements. »

Georges Azzi, le directeur exécutif de la Fondation arabe pour les libertés et l’égalité, a déclaré à GSN: «le ministre a échoué à lutter contre les menaces réelles que connaît le pays, tels que les armes illégales et les enlèvements. »

«Comme tout autre décideur qui ne parvient pas à atteindre ses fonctions, il cherche un bouc émissaire et quelqu’un à blâmer -. Cette fois, la communauté LGBT»

Aujourd’hui (5 mai), le bureau de presse du ministre a publié une «clarification» sur Facebook déclarant que Charbel ne passait pas un jugement, se bornant à indiquer que, bien que le mariage homosexuel a été légalisé récemment en France, il est toujours interdite au Liban.

Johnny Tohme, membre de Helem, un groupe de défense des LGBT libanais, a commenté: ‘Ce qui me fait rire, c’est que vous dites que les homosexuels mènent le pays en ruine, mais ceux qui suivent notre histoire voit que la destruction et la corruption est tout simplement le fruit des politiciens, et les radicaux sociaux et religieux’

This is a translation by a Raynbow volunteer of the following Gay Star News article.

My response to Mayor of Dekwaneh abuses

April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

This is a response of Dr. Hasan Abdessamad to the Dekwaneh arrests on April 21 2013.

Dr. Hasan Abdessamad

Imagine you get a phone call from your sister telling you she was arrested on a night out and her nude photos are already circulating online.

Imagine your closeted best-friend, who fears for his life if his family knew about his sexuality, has his name publicly posted on the door of a recently shut down gay bar.

It can happen to anyone of us or the people we love and care about, so we shall not remain silent.

The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, LBC TV, asked the public to submit their response to the human right abuses committed by Dekwaneh Mayor Antoine Chakhtoura on April 21 2013. That night, Chakhtoura ordered a raid on Ghost Bar that caters for gay bisexual and transgender clientele. His forces carried illegal detention of people. Victims were dragged to the municipality building, where they were insulted, interrogated, forced to undress and their photos were taken. The bar…

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“Closure of a heterosexual bar” – if only #DekAbuse #LebLGBT

April 24, 2013 2 comments

Back to Beirut, after a period of relaxation, and back to our everyday fight.

What if the scenario was any different, just for the sake of change.

Closure of a heterosexual bar:

An attack on people’s basic human rights and sexual rights in the municipality of Dekweneh. What happened on Saturday night?

The police of Dekweneh entered to this bar and attacked the people who were there. Why? Because of their sexual preferences. The municipality doesn’t like heterosexuals.

“I entered and i saw 25 people outside. Men, that looked like men, typically. I saw in the bathrooms this guy talking to this girl, this guy kissing this girl, this guy who’s laying hand on this girl, this guy wearing a Jeans, u know these Unnatural and perverted behaviors”

So the head of the municipality decides to close the bar with red candle tampons, being protective towards the public morals because the people who frequent those places are Heterosexual. He denied the prostitution tho saying that all he saw were sexual behaviors. Anyway, they arrested 4 people and took them to the police station and obliged them to take their clothes off to confirm that they are straight.

“Yes they took off their clothes in our police stations, because we wanted to know what are they, they were breaking the public morals on the roads and we wanted to know if they’re really straight men, or half straight men. I don’t accept this in Dekweneh. Dekweneh is known for its humbleness, and this is our fortress of peace, we were always peaceful and defending the white resistance of Mahatma Ghandi, protecting our morals and the gay pride, not to see those heterosexuals, with all my respect to them, and to human rights, come and practice their perversion in our land.”

Hetero-phobia is dominant nowadays everywhere, while the state and its municipalities are taken by people’s sexuality, where do they get this right from? And under what excuse does it break into people’s personal sexual life?

Chakhtoura Dekwaneh

By Joseph Aoun

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