The Lebanese Interior Minister’s statement instructing security forces to ban any gatherings aimed at “promoting sexual perversion,” in anticipation of Pride month has received significant domestic and international condemnation.
This is of particular concern as worsening economic conditions coincide with the deterioration of liberties for the nation’s LGBTQ+ community.
Most recently, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a response calling for the protection of Lebanon’s LGBTQ+ community. The ban is argued to violate the constitutional rights of all citizens to equality, free expression, and free assembly and Lebanon’s obligations under international law.
HRW states that most concerning is the vague and overly broad grounds, absent of any legal basis, upon which determinations of which gatherings are in violation of “customs and traditions” and “principles of religion.”
Lebanon’s nightlife and cultural communities also fear its implications.
Already, numerous acts of aggression and violence towards Lebanon’s LGBTQ+ community have been reported. Among the most visible incidents was the flagrant destruction of a rainbow flag billboard by vigilantes in Achrafieh.
Additionally, the organization of protests in support of LGBTQ+ rights has been indefinitely postponed after a slew of death threats.
However, there are still many LGBTQ+ spots around Beirut that welcome everyone.