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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 287 > A ray of light

A ray of light

SMALL STEPS TOWARDS QUEER RIGHTS ARE BEING TAKEN IN LEBANON BUT VIOLENCE AGAINST LGBT+ PEOPLE STILL GOES UNPUNISHED, WHILE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WITH POLITICAL POWER CONTINUE TO RAIL AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY. CONFLICTING IDEOLOGIES WITHIN THE GAY COMMUNITY ARE NOT HELPING EITHER…
POPULAR: Radio Beirut in the Mar Mikhael area of the city draws a mixed crowd

While at Amsterdam Pride last year, Hadi Damien knew it was time his home celebrated its inaugural Pride. But the city he had in mind isn’t in Europe, America or any other part of the world known for its wide-ranging liberal attitudes.

However, 10 months later, about 4,000 people attended Beirut Pride’s eight-day programme of poetry readings, fashion workshops, drag performances, film screenings and parties. Bars in the hip Mar Mikhael neighbourhood raised the Beirut Pride flag in support and by halfway through the week all the event’s official wristbands had gone.

“I was astonished to see people so supportive,” Hadi says. “I knew it would be a success but I never knew it would be this successful.”

One might wonder why Pride had never been celebrated in Lebanon before. After all, Beirut is often hailed as a liberal oasis in the Middle East, home to a vibrant gay scene, vocal activists and LGBT+ organisations that function much more openly than in many neighbouring countries.

But at the centre of Lebanon’s queer struggle is Article 534 of the penal code, which prosecutes “sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature.”

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About Attitude

On the cover: All American Boy Steve Grand in his hottest shoot ever. Plus: the stars from God’s Own Country on why it’s more than just the British Brokeback Mountain, former soldier James Wharton’s chemsex battle, Corrie’s gay DILF Daniel Brocklebank, and what’s gay life like in Beirut?
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