Lebanon protests seen as an ‘opportunity’ for LGBT+ community

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11/15/2019

Despite being seen as a bastion of relative freedom in the largely conservative Middle East, Lebanese society remains reluctant to extend rights to the LGBT+ community. Nationwide protests that have thrown Lebanon into political and economic turmoil could end up being an opportunity for the LGBT+ community, according to the head of the country’s most prominent LGBT+ rights organisation. Tarek Zeidan, executive director of Helem, said the anti-government demonstrations that prompted Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign could usher in a new leadership “more willing to relax its iron grip … on social and human rights issues”. Despite being seen as a bastion of relative freedom in the largely conservative Middle East, Lebanese society remains reluctant to extend rights to the LGBT+ community. By law “sexual intercourse against nature” – often interpreted by authorities as gay sex – remains illegal with a possible jail term of one year, although there have been six recent cases in which judges have refused to enforce the law.

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