The Closing of Ghost & Lebanon’s LGBT “Crust” Activism?

“Gay people should not exist. They are an abomination.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard this countless times in your life.

It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is. Homophobia is entrenched in Lebanese society and pretending it doesn’t exist because you live in a more “liberal” place in Beirut doesn’t mean it’s not there.

People see someone wearing something they may not fancy and they say he’s gay. People see a girl with super-short hair and not-so girly clothes and she’s a lesbian. People see two close friends from the same gender walking on the street and they’re automatically dating.

And sometimes, when someone has enough power, they act out on their homophobia. It’s very easy to freak out how someone as homophobic as the mayor of dekwane, the newest a place to close down a gay pub, made it to office. But is it any surprise?

Is it any surprise really and honestly that your security task force, which has no problem wolf-whistling your women on the streets, also has no problem in violating people that your law considers as “unnatural?”

I had no idea what “Ghost” was until today. I asked a few LGBT friends the following question: if it had been a hetereosexual place, do you think it closing would have been justified if the same stuff were happening in it?
They answered yes. The question begets itself: is it okay to do whatever people did at Ghost just because it’s a gay place?

Of course, Ghost closed down because it broke one particular Lebanese law, not the many others that, in any normal setting, should have counted. Of course the mayor wanted to protect his city against the “louwat” and whatnot. And you know what’s also interesting? For everyone person outraged by what happened and by what that mayor said, there are many more others who were just convinced to re-elect that mayor. No amount of Facebook sharing and Tweeting will change what people believe in deeply, surely and resoundingly: gay is not right and should not exist.

You know what’s the best way to tell a homophobic official to go to hell with his decisions? To have the law on your side to protect you, to have a law that doesn’t label you as an inferior human being just because of who you want to sleep with.

Until a time when closing down pubs because they’re gay-friendly becomes illegal and raiding cinemas because someone thinks “unnatural” things are happening there becomes not allowed, isn’t getting up in a fit because of those events happening while forgetting the base of the issue sort of like crust-activism whereby the small victories that might result are celebrated but the underlying cause for the struggle leading to those victories remains?

Until a time when homosexuality is removed form Lebanon’s penal code and homosexual men and women are not considered in law with a prefix, pubs will keep closing and cinemas will keep on being raided and activists will keep on panicking. It’s a cycle that will repeat itself indefinitely – until Lebanon’s LGBT community manages to get LGBT-friendly officials on their side in order to advocate for their rights and make laws that can be shoved in the mayor of Dekwane’s face.

I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

8 thoughts on “The Closing of Ghost & Lebanon’s LGBT “Crust” Activism?

  1. I’m happy to see that bigoted Lebanese have a unifying factor with American Evangelists, Israeli religious Zionists, Saudi lawmakers, illiterate tribesmen in northern Nigeria and far-right activists in civilized Paris. Not to mention Russian skinheads. World peace through hatred!

    You know Elie you should check out how governments behave towards homosexuals for all countries. Using this one factor may not suffice as a scientific theory but generally speaking it’s a good way to see how governments feel about human dignity, individual rights and the role of government interference in personal life in general. Like I said it’s not totally solid but on the surface there seems to be a correlation between “treatment of gays and asshole-patronage behavior of the government”. At least Lebanon abstained and not voted against LGBT rights at the UN…

    Speaking from personal experience, most homophobes I met were not always (but often) total dicks, some just reminded me of how my grandmother responds to modern technology.


    • I’d rather see how they behave towards other more pertinent issues first: women rights come to mind, for instance. Lebanon hasn’t legislated decent protective laws for women. The road is long until I can compare/contrast with European countries (at least Western ones). I find the LGBT fights in Lebanon highly interesting given the shortages in laws to many components in Lebanese society.

      But yeah, the country itself is homophobic though I assume it’s much worse around the area.


    • Israeli religious Zionists are against gays? Really? Don’t you know that Israel is like a haven for gays in the Middle East? I’m not sure you even know what Zionism means. There could be religious Zionist Israelites who are themselves a married gay couple. The only Israelis I know who are against gays are some radical orthodox Jews, but they don’t persecute them like gays are persecuted in the Arab world. They just avoid them because they find them filthy.


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