From Lebanon, in a Hurry
BY Amita Parashar
July 07 2009 11:00 PM ET
Moawad, who lives in Beirut and works for Lebanon's Feminist Collective, says that the LGBT community often mistakenly uses a "take it or leave it" approach to gain acceptance. Activists expect society to automatically celebrate members of their community, but the effort lies on both sides, she says. "We should also put our stories out there so people can see our perspectives."
The book's introduction argues against the view in many Eastern countries that homosexuality is a modern Western construct (in 2007, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad infamously quipped that his country has no gay people). Fluid sexuality was widely accepted in the Arab world before colonization, as evidenced by celebrated poet Abu Nuwas, who wrote erotic celebrations of male sexual desire.
Despite Lebanon's ancient history, more recent times have not been so kind to LGBT people. Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code currently bans "unnatural sexual intercourse," punishable by imprisonment. Still, Lebanon enjoys a higher degree of free speech than its Middle Eastern neighbors, allowing its citizens to organize around LGBT rights through networks like Meem and Helem, a more visible activism group working to repeal Article 534.
As homophobic as Lebanese society can be, though, Moawad says, "it really needs and wants to listen to these stories."
- Don't Miss the Message in Rome's Beautiful Christmas Lights
- WATCH: Pastor Rick Warren's Orwellian 'Doublespeak' on Marriage Equality
- Colo. Bakery's Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination, Judge Rules
- 22 Russians Who We Won't Let Vladimir Putin Forget Were LGBT
- WATCH: Elton John Slams 'Inhumane, Isolating' Anti-LGBT Laws In Russia
- Hot Sheet: Hark the Herald Angel Swings
- Transgender Gay, Trans Identities Don't Exist, Says Colo. School Board Member 20 min 39 sec ago
- World News PHOTOS: Don't Miss the Message in Rome's Beautiful New Lights 1:47 AM
- Travel Wedding Bells Ring Down Under December 07 2013 3:33 PM
- Religion WATCH: Rick Warren's 'Doublespeak' on Marriage Equality December 07 2013 3:32 PM
- Entertainment News Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Score 7 Grammy Nominations December 07 2013 1:32 PM
- Marriage Equality Washington's Weddings Were 17 Percent Gay Last Year December 07 2013 8:00 AM
- Marriage Equality Colo. Bakery's Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination December 07 2013 7:00 AM