Lebanon this week turns into the primary Arab nation to celebrate gay pride, however, the opening event was canceled after Islamists threatened violence.
Proud Lebanon, a non-benefit group promoting equal rights, was due to host an event last Sunday as a kickoff to the whole week.
But because of threats from the Association of Muslim Scholars in Lebanon, they dropped the venue.
While the gay rights movement has developed in Beirut, homosexuality can still land you up to a year in jail.
Bertho Makso, executive of Proud Lebanon, said the week denoted a watershed in gay, lesbian, promiscuous and transgender life.
“It’s truly stunning, a major accomplishment. It’s a greater presentation,”
“Before we used to be individual NGOs, all over, doing activities, however now it’s an entire week of activities occurring around the city. It will reach more individuals and spread more resistance,”
Most nations in the region don’t tolerate an open celebration of LBGT life. Many risk fines, imprisonment, and even death, with reports of social rejection and abuse.
Turkey hosts a gay pride parade in Istanbul every year and Israel holds seven days of events in Tel Aviv each June.
Pride events are regularly held amid June – LGBT Pride Month, or during a period that celebrates a defining moment in a nation’s own LGBT history.
Wednesday denoted Lebanon’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biophobia (IDAHOBT).
“I needed to pick a typical date, a day that would be confident,”
“What we need to have is to make sure that people are aware is that diversity is totally okay. And what is not okay is when you have one mold in which you want to put everybody ”
Said Hadi Damien, who set up Beirut Pride.
Surveys show most of the Lebanese reject homosexuality. In any case, Beirut is making strides towards decriminalization. A court deciding this year that homosexuality is not a crime but rather individual decision.