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Author Topic: Lebanon: gays gradually gaining a level of acceptance?
Hephaestion
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Babbler # 4795

posted 13 January 2006 08:04 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
From aljazeera.net

quote:
But amid regular reports of draconian measures, one group of gay activists in Lebanon is challenging what is one of the biggest taboos in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Helem, an acronym in Arabic for the "Lebanese protection of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community", is the first public gay-rights group in the Arab world.

[Didn't we recently hear the same thing about the Turkish gay group?]

A non-governmental, non-profit organisation registered in Quebec, Canada, it maintains support groups in Australia, France and the US as well.

Last summer, the group released a quarterly magazine for gays and lesbians - the first widely distributed gay publication in the Arabic language.

Entitled Barra (Arabic for "Out") the magazine has been accessed over the internet by readers across the Arab world and the website receives 60,000 hits a month.

[...]

He said Helem had to overcome resistance from many gays in Lebanon who were fearful of the consequences of appearing publicly. 

"Helem was rejected by a big part of the community because they didn't want anything that visible. They wanted to stay invisible," he says.

Although homosexuality is still illegal in Lebanon, Helem is now able to work openly and there are bars and cafes where gays are able to openly congregate. The group has taken part in several public events including the Beirut marathon.

Helem has also registered itself with the Lebanese authorities suggesting that the government is at least willing to tolerate such an organisation.

Some activists say homosexuality is on the verge of being decriminalised and expect a change in the law within a year.

[...]

The group is also wary about emulating Western gay rights groups who have often taken militant stances including the naming of homosexuals who had sought to keep their sexuality a secret.

International gay-rights groups have been accused of being "missionaries" who used terminology that could not be applied to sexual habits in Middle Eastern societies.

"I don't think they really understand the priorities here," says Makarem. "They might turn the issue into something that movement is not ready for."

"We know there are lots of (gay) people in the parliament, in the government, in the media and public personalities. But we are not in the business of outing people."


Want a contact for Helem? Here ya go: http://www.helem.net/

[ 13 January 2006: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 13 January 2006 09:00 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Here's another good resource: http://www.queerarab.blogspot.com/
From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6718

posted 13 January 2006 09:24 AM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Hephaestion:
Helem, an acronym in Arabic for the "Lebanese protection of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community", is the first public gay-rights group in the Arab world.

[Didn't we recently hear the same thing about the Turkish gay group?]


When did Turkey become Arabic?


From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 13 January 2006 09:27 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Whoop... you're right. I was thinking "Muslim", which is what they were saying in the other article...
From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged

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