Lebanon’s oldest queer advocacy group is already back to work helping the community in the wake of the deadly Beirut blast

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08/16/2020

The offices of Lebanon’s oldest LGBT+ advocacy group were almost destroyed in the devastating Beirut blast, but staff are already back providing vital support to the queer community. Founded in 2001, Helem is a non-governmental organisation based in Beirut, and is the oldest group in Lebanon fighting for justice and equality for LGBT+ people. The group promotes awareness of LGBT+ issues in Lebanon and tackles public misinformation and misconceptions, especially in Arabic. It provides legal advocacy, campaigning against law 534 of the Lebanese penal code, which states that “unnatural sexual intercourse” is punishable by up to one year imprisonment, and runs health initiatives, raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, STIs and trying to get LGBT+ sexual health on the Lebanese political agenda.

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