No, In 2017, Being Gay Is Still Not Legal In Lebanon… But We’re Getting There

lgbt_lebanon-metn-ruling

Lebanon, rejoice. A judge in the Metn area has issued, according to the legal agenda, what most Lebanese would consider one of the more liberal decisions to happen in the country in a long time by declaring that “homosexuality is a personal choice, and not a punishable offense.”

Of course, people were quick to start the celebrations. The ruling, which was championed by LGBT-rights advocate NGO Helem, is a step forward without a debt. But it remains, more or less, symbolic in a country where the actual constitution still stipulates that consensual sexual relations between two consenting adults who happen to be of the same gender unnatural is still there. This judge’s decision is limited to the jurisdiction of his court and could be overruled by Lebanon’s supreme court if they please because of the presence of the aforementioned article 534 in Lebanon’s penal code.

This is also not the first time that a Lebanese judge issues a decision regarding homosexuality as not being “unnatural.” The first time – and the actual pioneering step in this aspect – was through a judge in Batroun (home state pride!) in 2009. The second time was also in the Metn area, back in January 2014. The third time was in January 2016 when a judge allowed trans-people to legally change their genders. 

Another milestone was a 2013 decision by the Lebanese Syndicate of Psychiatry to remove homosexuality off the list of mental health disorders, which has been the case in scientific literature since the 1970s. 40 years late, perhaps, but the move was still the first in the entire Middle East and Northern Africa region.

The common denominator for all previous three rulings is that they remain limited to what the judge in question decreed, because the penal code is unchanged and, thus, homosexuality is still a “crime” in 2017, in the Middle East’s most liberal country.

The ramification of that is that, despite how excellent and pioneering those rulings are, the state and its backwards policemen can still target LGBT people using article 534 and subject them to all kinds of human rights abuses.

And while the ruling is to be commended, the language it uses further perpetuates the commonly-held stereotype, even among LGBT-friendly individuals, that homosexuality, or any non-heterosexual behavior, is a “personal choice.” It’s not a choice. It’s how someone is built. One does not choose their sexual orientation the same way one doesn’t choose the country they’re born in. It’s really that simple.

One of the main problems facing further changes in mentalities towards the LGBT community today in the country and the region is the fact that education about the topic is severely lacking, many people believe the religion they were born into is enough reference about the particular topic and politicians that we vote for couldn’t care less about the issue to begin with.

Exhibits from Facebook comments on the latest posts about the Metn judge’s ruling:

Moving forward, we have to enable more LGBT-friendly parliament members to get to power by showing them that Lebanese progressives are as active voters as the conservatives they wish to court every single elections. And we cannot be content with important but essentially trivial rulings that can be overruled at any moment when our constitution still thinks being gay is an abomination. The core is rotten, and that’s what needs to be fixed still.

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Arab Porn?

I was linked to this YouTube video by a friend:

After watching it, I was like: Ok, this is funny and the girl is hot but that’s pretty much it. Then I looked at the view and it had 160K.

Then I glanced at the comments and saw ones that went like this:

–  i just got a boner :O – by alyehab

– omg this video causes two things:

1- hard work to the right hand.

2- I have to wash my p>. – by abufaisal1980

– the more appropriate title would be ” how to make a lebanese girl give you a BJ extremely fast” – by lifesnojoke333

There are far more comments of this nature on the video. The thing in common between the users? they’re from the Arab Gulf and they are so sexually deprived, it’s getting ridiculous.

According to my friend Paul Gadallah, Arabs would “find a bar in Beirut to be porn” – and I never thought I would agree to that until I saw the comments on this video. Fine, the girl has shown cleavage – big deal. Why don’t they ask for change in their countries so seeing cleavage doesn’t become this “OMG, I JUST SAW A PART OF A BREAST” moment.

Until then, it’s our sad fate, dear Lebanese, that whenever one of our women wear something even slightly revealing, it would automatically become the jerk off material for some (yes, I’m aware this doesn’t apply to everyone so spare me the comments of you not being like this) Arabs across the Middle East.

Arabs often stereotype Lebanese women as “easy” merely because they show some skin.  Is it their fault for such a stereotype? Absolutely not.  Although Lebanon still has a long way to go in terms of gender equality, regionally speaking it is much more open and is one of the few countries in the region where women can dress up, go party, and in have a regular boyfriend.  Lebanon even hosts the region’s first sexuality magazine, Jassad, owned by the famous Joumana Haddad.  In many Arab countries, especially the Gulf, women are seen as docile creatures and in Saudi Arabia, they still cannot even drive.  To them women going out showing some skin, could only mean that they are sinners; wanting sex bad and are akin to whores, but men going out and partying is perfectly fine, cementing the prevailing hypocrisy and justifying the ever prevalent sexual harassment in the region.

We, Lebanese, are proud of our women – as corny as it may be – just the way they are. Whether they choose to show skin or not, it’s not anyone’s business. And it certainly shouldn’t turn into a repressed Arab’s material for some good time.