Lebanese court throws out case against transgender woman accused of ‘unnatural sex’

A Lebanese judge has found that a transgender woman’s relationship with a man does not constitute ‘unnatural sexual intercourse’ in a further blow to the criminalization of LGBTI people in the majority Muslim nation

Lebanese court throws out case against transgender woman accused of ‘unnatural sex’
05 March 2014

A criminal prosecution against a transgender Lebanese woman in the town of Jdeideh has been thrown out by a judge who found the woman had not broken any law.

The case occurred in January in the district of Matn but was only made public Tuesday in the latest edition of Lebanese legal journal The Legal Agenda.

The woman on trial had been born with an intersex condition and was assigned a male identity at birth but she grew up feeling that she was female and underwent gender reassignment surgery in the 1990s.

However her identity papers still list her as male, and Lebanese prosecutors believed that meant she was in breach of Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code which criminalizes ‘unnatural sexual intercourse’ and has traditionally been used to criminalize same-sex relationships.

Judge Naji al-Dahdah threw out the case on 28 January, ruling that her relationship with a man breached no law in Lebanon.

Al-Dahdah’s ruling cited a December 2009 ruling by Judge Mounir Suleiman that consensual homosexual relations were not against nature and could therefore not be prosecuted under Article 534.

Suleiman found in 2009 that, ‘man is part of nature and is one of its elements, so it cannot be said that any one of his practices or any one of his behaviors goes against nature, even if it is criminal behavior, because it is nature’s ruling.’

The ruling was praised by Lebanese LGBTI rights group Helem.

‘It’s a big step; it shows we’re moving in the right direction,’ Helem co-founder Georges Azzi told Lebanon’s English language The Daily Star.

‘The more we have decisions like this the more Article 534 becomes irrelevant. Any legal change takes a lot of time but at least this article might stop being used to persecute gay and transgender people in Lebanon.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Kim Kardashian u-turns on anti-gay Sultan hotel boycott

The 33-year-old said it’s ‘sad’ to see Beverly Hills hotel workers suffering because of anti-gay laws in effect halfway across the world
No thumbnail available

Actor goes naked to save gay film in Lithuania

22-year-old says it’s a call to action for LGBTIs in Eastern Europe
No thumbnail available

Russian lawmaker: Gay activists must die for 'extremism'

'Gay propaganda' law co-sponsor says he is unconcerned about a US visa ban, saying: 'I've spoken to US politicians, and they support my stance'
No thumbnail available

Obama: Gay rights is one of the 'big hits' of my presidency

As he enters the last 18 months of his presidency, Obama says he has made the country better
No thumbnail available

Rainbow crossings look set to go ahead in Sydney's gay village

Multi-colored crossings to celebrate Mardi Gras gay pride in Australian city's Oxford Street area already approved by council
No thumbnail available

Rick Santorum stops boy from using pink bowling ball

Candidate tells boy in Wisconsin: 'Friends don’t let friends use pink balls'
No thumbnail available

Scotland prepares for first same-sex marriage ceremonies to take place tonight

Following a law change that came into effect on 16 December, Scotland’s first same-sex weddings will take place on Hogmanay
No thumbnail available

EastEnders star speaks out on gay storyline, reaction

British 20-year-old actor reacts to playing a gay character, the drunken kiss and coming out to a Cockney dad
No thumbnail available

Someone is trying to launch a TransJenner clothing line

'It's just happening now, and we still have to work out the details'
No thumbnail available

Will Young: Singer, songwriter, product designer?

Gay pop star shares his love for creating 'naff' merchandise