Posts Tagged ‘Beirut’

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.

                                    WhatsApp Image 2018-06-13 at 12.24.40 PM (3)

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?

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What Do They Say About You? Lebanese Attitudes Towards LGBTQ In Numbers!

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment


How many times have you heard someone in Lebanon say “I am fine with gays as long as they do not approach me” ??? That simply implies that LGBT  people are ready to approach every single person of their interest?!!!


People, websites, media, politicians and many others do talk a lot about LGBTQ… But what do Lebanese people in particular say?


Some international media have continuously praised Lebanon for being the first LGBTQ-haven in the Arab World! Quite great right?


Others saw the full picture and recognized the long road we still have to run before proclaiming Lebanon an LGBTQ-haven…


Away from the popular media, a study was conducted back in 2015 by N. Nasr and T. Zeidan under the title of “As long as they stay away: Exploring Lebanese Attitudes Towards Sexualities and Gender Identities.”


The study was held at a national level.


So what do numbers say about what Lebanese say about the LGBTQ?


60% said homosexuals can stop being “homo”sexuals!

72% said homosexuals are hormonally or mentally sick!

79% said homosexuals should be treated…

76% said homosexuals being recognized as “normal” wouldn’t be beneficial for society

∼90% said homosexuals should do their best to overcome their feelings

61.7% said homosexuals shouldn’t be offered society-protection from discrimination?!?


We can of course feel sorry for what this study had shown about our society’s attitude towards… just another part of our society!

However, we can also look at the bright, rainbow-ish side of the picture: this great initiative showed us where we are at the moment and this is just a perfect way to move on and progress.

If we acknowledge what we are and how we think, we can start pinpointing every problem at a time and work on solving it until we reach our dream tolerant-society!

Maya Diab: “People Who Don’t See LGBTQ People As People, Should Learn How To Become People!”

September 5, 2017 Leave a comment


Lebanese artist, anchor and influencer Maya Diab was hosted by Future TV anchor Paula Yaacoubian on her weekly Inter-Views on Wednesday August 23rd. Paula hosting Maya on her political show was already deemed controversial. That they would be discussing LGBTQ rights and tolerance in Lebanon was just an elephant in the room!

Both ladies are already known for their supportive statements with regard to the LGBTQ community and that was witnessed when they were both hosted by Mona Abou Hamzeh on Talk of the Town on MTV Lebanon few months ago.   

Despite her explicit support, Paula still fell in the trap of terminologies where she referred to the LGBTQ community as “irregulars/outlaws/abnormals” aka “shawath/شواذ” more than three times throughout the talk.  

To all the people attacking her for “cheering” for the LGBTQ community, Maya responded that she refuses to be accused of cheering for anyone: “I am not a cheerleader here, and this is not an event that needs cheering. Neither accepting, rejecting nor even cheering for the LGBTQ community is an option anymore, they simply exist and they have always existed.”

Oddly enough, Maya still had to justify her performance at a gay club in Beirut to the public, even after more than a year since the controversial party took place. At that time, Maya launched a social media campaign defending her right to sing for whomever she wants. Back then, She was both praised and massively attacked for vigorously defending the LGBTQ rights.

After reiterating how her music should only be seen as a tool of unification and communication and after mocking the so called “democratic system” of Lebanon, Maya continued to refuse any “trophy” from any LGBTQ organization due to her belief that she is only doing what everyone else should be doing!  

Maya also told a recent anecdote in which her sister handed her a written message from a fan who told her how he could have never imagined a celebrity speaking about his community publicly. Maya stressed on the fact that the fan was subject to sexual assault in his childhood and that he is still struggling with the cruelty of his parents and the society.

Once again, Paula couldn’t avoid falling for yet another terminological fallacy where she generalized that the LGBTQ are people who choose to be as such, and that was ironically right after Maya told the story of the victim/fan who clearly had no choice! This does not change the fact that Paula was supportive throughout the rest of the talk.

Maya concluded with a couple of very impactful and moving statements. “We are not oil and water, we are one! People who don’t see LGBTQ people as people, should learn how to become people!”

Inter-views 24/08/2017 مع الفنانة مايا دياب

شو السبب؟ ?Shu el Sabab

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

ما بهم شو السبب، المثليّة منّا مرض: فيلم تثقيفي حول التصنيف الطبي للمثليّة الجنسية. “شو السبب؟” هو السؤال الأول الذي يراودنا عند مقاربة موضوع المثلية الجنسية في لبنان

أظهرت دراسة حديثة أعدها مركز الموارد الجندرية والجنسانية لدى المؤسسة العربية للحرية والمساواة أن ٧٢٪ من اللبنانيين واللبنانيات يعتقدون بأن المثلية الجنسية هي حالة اضطراب نفسي، لا سيما وأن بعض مهنيي الصحة النفسية في لبنان ما زالوا يمارسون أنواع مختلفة من علاجات تحويل الميول الجنسي وذلك خلافاً لأعراف الطب النفسي العالمية واللبنانية

تأسّست الجمعية الطبية اللبنانية للصحة الجنسية (لبماش) في لبنان في ٤ أيلول/سبتمبر ٢٠١٢، وهي منظّمةٌ غبر حكوميّةٍ لا تبغي الرّبح. تهدف جمعية لبماش إلى تحسين الصحّة الجنسية لجميع الأفراد في لبنان، مع التركيز بشكلٍ خاصٍّ على المثليين والمثليات ومزدوجي/ات الميول الجنسيّة والمتحوّلين/ات جنسيًا، وغيرهم/ن من الفئات المهمّشة في لبنان

لتصويب الرأي العام حول تصنيف المثلية الجنسية كحالة اجتماعية غير مرضية، أعدَّت جمعية لبماش فيلم رسوم متحركة يسلط الضوء على الموضوع ويشير إلى عدم جدوى علاجات تحويل الميول الجنسي والتي غالباً ما يكون تأثيرها سلبياً

شو السبب؟ هو فيلم رسوم متحركة يستند على شهادات حياة لمثليين ومثليّات من لبنان، شاركوا في مجموعات تركيز أجرتها لبماش لِتدوين تجربتهم/ن الشخصية، صَمَّمته ونفّذته جيسيكا عازار بتمويل كريم من السفارة السويسريّة في بيروت

Shu el Sabab? (what is the cause?) is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding homosexuality in Lebanon. A recent study conducted by the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) at the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) showed that 72% of the Lebanese population perceive homosexuality as a mental disorder. Some mental health professionals in Lebanon continue to practice various forms of conversion therapy against the recommendations of international and Lebanese mental health professional organizations

The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) produced this movie to address these issues and increase awareness regarding homosexuality, its “cause”, lack of efficacy of conversion therapy, and its potential harmful effects

This movie was designed and animated by the talented Jessica Azar. It was made possible by a generous grant from the Swiss Embassy in Lebanon. This movie is based on the stories of gay and lesbian individuals living in Lebanon who participated in focus groups conducted by LebMASH

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

مثلية ومساواة في السفارة الفرنسية

June 5, 2013 1 comment

حفلت الأسابيع الأخيرة منذ شهر نيسان/ أبريل بمواضيع متعددة على علاقة بمجتمع ال م.م.م.م. (مثليين، مثليات، مزدوجي الجنس، متحولي الجنس) في لبنان. فمن إقفال ملهى “غوست” الليلي الى التوقيف الإعتباطي والخطف والتعدي على أربعة أشخاص من رواد هذا الملهى الصديق للمثليين الى مواقف رئيس بلدية الدكوانة ورجال الدين وإثارة جو معلوف للموضوع على الهواء والرد القاسي لقناة ال “أم تي في” على خلفية هذا الموضوع بالتخلي عن خدمات الأخير وصولاً الى موقف وزير الداخلية المستقيل مروان شربل من المثليين في لبنان وخارجه والذي غيّر بمواقفه وآرائه لعدّة مرات.

مع كل هذا الجنون الذي ضرب الساحة والذي وضع قضايا وشؤون ال م.م.م.م. في لبنان في واجهة الأحداث الإجتماعية كان لا بدّ من الإضاءة على حدثين مهمين حصلا داخل حرم السفارة الفرنسية وفي مركزها الثقافي في بيروت دعماً لحقوق ال م.م.م.م. في لبنان خلال شهر أيار.

تمثل الحدث الأول بعقد لقاء مع الباحث والصحافي والكاتب الفرنسي “فريديرك مارتال” عن موضوع المساواة والتسامح وتقبل الأخر (Egalité et Tolérance) تحت عنوان“Egualité et Tolérance: quand le monde change”.عقد اللقاء في العاشر من أيار في السفارة الفرنسية في بيروت بحضور مدير مركز الدفاع عن الحريات الإعلامية والثقافية “سكايز” (عيون سمير قصير) الصحافي أيمن مهنا وعدد من الصحافين والمدونين وناشطي المجتمع المدني كما حضر اللقاء ممثلين عن السفارة الفرنسية في بيروت.

المصدر: صفحة الفايسبوك للمركز الثقافي الفرنسي في لبنان

المصدر: صفحة الفايسبوك للمركز الثقافي الفرنسي في لبنان

بدأ اللقاء بمراجعة تاريخية لفصل الدين عن الدولة والتركيز على علمانية الدولة الفرنسية التي ساهمت بشكل جذري، حسب مارتال، بقوننة الزواج المدني والمساكنة في الماضي وزواج المثليين أو ما يعرف بالزواج للجميع (marriage pour tous) في يومنا هذا. تتطرق النقاش مع مارتال الى تحقيق المساواة بين المغايرين والمثليين في العالم  كما في فرنسا ولبنان من حيث الحقوق لينتقل الكلام بعدها عن ماهيّة ونوعية الوسائل القانونية والمدنية التي تساهم في تغيير القوانيين التميزية والعقليات وبالتالي تطوير المجتمع.  نوّه “مارتال” بحركات تحرر المثليين والمثليات وأكدّ على دور الدول المتطورة على صعيد احترام حقوق الانسان في دعم الدول الأقل تطوراً والضغط عليها من أجل تحقيق المساواة بين الجميع.

أمّا الحدث الثاني فتمثل بعرض فيلم وثائقي فرنسي تحت عنوان “الخفيون” أو “طاقية الاخفاء” Les Invisibles من إخراج المخرج والسيناريست الفرنسي سباستيان ليفشيتز في المعهد الفرنسي في بيروت بالتعاون مع جمعية حلم وجريدة الأخبار وذلك في الثامن عشر من أيار. يتكلم الفيلم عن مرحلة الستينيات والسبعينيات من حياة مثليين ومثليات عاصروا هذه الفترة في فرنسا حيث كانت المثلية الجنسية من المحرمات فيشاركوننا من خلال هذا الوثائقي شهادات حياتهم. تناول الفيلم الوثائقي التحركات التي حصلت في تلك الحقبة ضدّ التمييز ورفض المجتمع مصوّراً مرحلة نضال المثليين والمثليات في كسب حقوقهم.

نقاس مع مونيك ايسيلي

بعد عرض الفيلم والذي دام لحوالي الساعتين، نٌظِم نقاش جمع بالإضافة الى السيدة مونيك ايسيلي، وهي إحدى المشاركات التي روت تجربتها في الفيلم الوثائقي، نائب رئيس صحيفة الأخبار، الصحافي بيار أبي صعب وعضو الهيئة الإدارية في جمعية حلم السيد عمر حرفوش حيث تكلمت مونيك عن مشاركتها في الوثائقي وانطباعها قبل أن تستمع لأسئلة الحاضرين.

تجدر الإشارة الى أنّ هذا الفيلم الوثائقي قد نال جائزة «سيزار» كأفضل وثائقي لعام 2013.

بلبناني  Blebnani

Media Alert for IDAHO 2013


IDAHO 2013

WHAT: IDAHO, international day against homophobia and transphobia, will take place this year in “Dowar Al Shames Theater”, an event organized by Helem. The event this year will be more powerful than the previous years because of all the attention (positive and negative) the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transsexual) community received in the last few months. Helem is a Lebanese non-governmental organization that aims to protect the LGBT community in Lebanon. Helem offers legal services, provide a safe space at their community center and also offer social services for LGBT individuals in distress. They lead a struggle against discrimination at its different levels.

WHO: The event will be open to the public and is not limited to the LGBT community. Straight allies and sister organizations will be present.

Lawyer Nizar Saghieh will discuss how to help deactivate article 534 of the Lebanese penal code. Psychologist Carol Saade will discuss the dangers of attempts at changing ones sexual orientation. Three short movies by audio visual students from different Lebanese universities and with a Lebanese LGBT theme will be screened.

WHY: This event is quarantined to satisfy. It will help raise awareness about prevalent homophobia within our society, our legal and healthcare systems. It will help you spread facts and dispel myths about sexual orientations and gender identity. Your presence would be a great support to this marginalized community.

WHERE: Dowar Al Shames Theater – Tayoune –

WHEN: Sunday 9th of June.


MEDIA OPPERTUNITIES: To help protect personal liberties and raise awareness about human right violations and abuses and to be a partner in our strive for a more righteous Lebanon media is urged to attend and cover this event.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information contact “Helem” page on facebook. Or just visit the page of the event

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