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Content about Middle East

April 13, 2015

World Bank is investigating one of its employees for an alleged leak of information. Fabrice Houdart, who was the president of the bank’s LGBT employee organization, denies any wrongdoing

A leading advocate for LGBTI global rights within the World Bank is under investigation for allegedly leaking documents.

But Fabrice Houdart denies wrongdoing and claims he is being targeted by his bosses because he criticised the organization’s president and his senior management team for awarding bonuses at a time of cut-backs in the bank.

Houdart has hired lawyers who specialise in working with whistle-blowers to represent him but currently remains employed and working at the bank.

March 13, 2015

Lebanese father living in Berlin beat his 'pansy' son with cables and threatened to 'ram a knife' into his throat

When 15-year-old Nasser El-Ahmed came out as gay to his parents, he never expected how his father would respond.

The teen's father beat him, poured boiling water over him and threatened to ram a knife into his throat.

The uncle of the Lebanese teen born in Berlin also doused him in petrol and threatened to set him on fire.

He called the teen several homophobic slurs, including 'pansy', and would beat him with cables.

Speaking to Bild newspaper, the now 18-year-old El-Ahmed said he 'paralyzed' with fear after coming out.

March 5, 2015

Human rights group says the trial seems unfair

A Moroccan court has jailed two men for gay sex in what a human rights group says seems like an unfair trial.

An elected local official in his 50s and a student in his 20s were arrested in al Hoceima province on 13 December.

Only five days after their arrest, a court convicted the men of sexual deviancy and public indecency based on confessions they made to police then repudiated in court. No witnesses were called to testify.

February 26, 2015

Now working for World Bank as a Senior Country Officer for Maghreb, Houdart reflects on coming out at work and the journey that business has undertaken in respect to LGBTI workplace equality

In 2001, when I was 23 years old, I started my career at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

At the time I was in the process of coming out to my parents and friends. My father warned me that being gay would irrevocably hurt my career prospects, which fed my existing insecurities.

I was terrified that my colleagues and clients, who came from diverse cultural backgrounds and were often deeply religious, would discover the truth and take a dim view of me.

January 8, 2015

Stylist is barred from both the male and female sections of the holy site

A transgender woman Monday (5 January) was barred from both the male and female sections of the Western Wall in Israel, the country with the most progressive trans policies in the Middle East.

Stylist Kay Long from Tel Aviv visited Jerusalem with a friend from Madrid, but was refused entry to the female section of the wall by a 'modesty volunteer' who said she was not a woman. She was then yelled away from the men's area.

The Western Wall, or Kotel, is the only remaining part of the Temple Mount and is the holiest site in Judaism.

December 20, 2014

Meanwhile, a Swiss film festival, which is represented in Egypt by the same journalist who filmed and broadcasted the raid, has come to her defense backing her claim that she was investigating sex trafficking

Several well-known organizations in the Middle East and North Africa have issued a joint statement to condemn the raid of a gay bathhouse in Cairo on Dec 7 in which 26 or 33 men, according to various media reports, have been arrested.

The men were arrested for the alleged 'group practice of deviance' in exchange for money inside the bathhouse.

November 25, 2014

Openly gay Emmerdale actress on loving California and the Lake District

She recently won Entertainer of the Year at the Stonewall Awards, for her role as Ruby Haswell in Emmerdale. And here the out and proud Alicya Eyo – who also made her directing debut last year with the queer short Brace – shares her travel tales, from experiencing discrimination in Egypt to the gay rite of passage which is San Francisco...

November 25, 2014

Unlock the ancient, enigmatic glamour of the Turkish metropolis with our guide

Pushed and pulled by the eastern and western worlds for centuries, absorbing influences and attitudes from both Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is astoundingly resilient.

And Istanbul, with 14 million people, has been the cosmopolitan centre of the region since it was founded as Constantinople in 330 AD. The Bosphorus Strait, a shipping lane that links the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea dividing Istanbul in two, is one of the boundaries between Europe and Asia.

November 24, 2014

Israeli city to host two-week queer party, launching next month

Tel Aviv has announced a two-week 'Pink Winter' Festival for the festive period, taking place between 24 December and 7 January.

The event will encompass non-stop street parties and beach parties (including a chill-out party at Hilton Beach), as well as a queer film festival.

Christmas tree and Hanukkah candle lightings will also take place on Christmas Eve, to mark the official launch of the festival.

November 1, 2014

Each of the men were sentenced to three years in prison

Today, 1 November, an Egyptian court sentenced eight men for their appearance in a purported same-sex wedding video.

According to the Associated Press, each of the men were sentenced to three years in prison.

September 22, 2014

The event's poster was inspired by the jihadist group's beheading videos

Israeli gay party organizer Dreck has drawn sharp criticism online for using imagery inspired by the Islamic State jihadist group to promote an event.

The group, also known as ISIS, has beheaded three Westerners in the last month and branded gay people as the 'worst of creatures.'

September 19, 2014

A former GSN intern sends us some postcards from her autumn getaway

A year ago Anisa Easterbrook, while interning for Gay Star News, sent us a postcard from her trip to Malaysia.

Now an independent reporter, on London’s lesbian scene and more, she sends us some more postcards, from an enviable trip on Egypt’s coast.

'I have traveled around the world, but I've found Egypt knows how to take luxury to a new level.

September 7, 2014

A video allegedly showing two men getting married has sparked outrage in Egypt, with a prosecutor claiming the ‘devilish’ video violates public decency

The Egyptian prosecutor general has ordered the arrest of nine men, after a YouTube video depicting a ‘gay marriage’ surfaced.

The video, filmed in April but has only gone viral in recent weeks, is entitled ‘Egypt’s First Gay Marriage’ shows two men appearing to have a marriage ceremony on a Nile boat.

The two men hug, exchange rings and are surrounded by male guests.

Several charges have been levelled against the men including ‘inciting debauchery and violating public decency’.

August 14, 2014

The CNN anchor confirms the incident but not a report that it left him in tears

It's well known that the late Lauren Bacall did not suffer fools.

Or, it seems, teenagers who express a political opinion different from her own - even of that teenager happened to be future CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

The year was 1982 and Cooper's mom, heiress and businesswoman Gloria Vanderbilt, had invited Bacall to a dinner at her Southampton house for actress Claudette Colbert.

July 19, 2014

In need of some star-gazing and wallaby-watching, Gareth Johnson leaves the world behind for a slower pace of life in Australia's idyllic beach town Port Douglas

In The Lego Movie, when the main character Emmet orders an over-priced coffee to start the day, it’s 'Awesome!' because everything is awesome in the world of Lego.

However as I collected my over-priced coffee at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, things around the world felt far from awesome...

May 19, 2014

Egyptian activists report increase in LGBTI arrests, particularly targeting gay men and trans people, and stories of torture and mistreatment by police

Gay rights activists in Egypt report police are cracking down on LGBTI people, and in some cases even resorting to torture.

A report compiled by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) shows the crackdown, which particularly targets gay men and trans people, began in November 2012 when seven people were arrested in an apartment in Nasr city and taken to Nohza police station.

October 16, 2013

Three Kuwaiti lawmakers have attacked Amnesty International for questioning their country’s proposed ban on homosexuals entering the country, saying the organization should abandon its advocacy for the rights of ‘deviants’

A group of lawmakers in Kuwait have lashed out at human rights group Amnesty International for criticizing a proposal to introduce medical examinations to identify and bar homosexual or transgender foreigners from entering and working in any of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member counties.

October 16, 2013

Three Kuwaiti lawmakers have attacked Amnesty International for questioning their country’s proposed ban on homosexuals entering the country, saying the organization should abandon its advocacy for the rights of ‘deviants’

A group of lawmakers in Kuwait have lashed out at human rights group Amnesty International for criticizing a proposal to introduce medical examinations to identify and bar homosexual or transgender foreigners from entering and working in any of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member counties.

October 14, 2013

Reports ‘gay’ men were taken to police station naked after the raid and are facing anal probe torture tests. Total arrests may be greater than 14

Neighbors have broken into a gym and sauna in Egypt and ‘destroyed it’ after a police raid against gay sex, according to unconfirmed reports GSN has received.

It’s the latest development after at least 14 men were arrested for practicing ‘immorality’ or 'homosexual acts' inside the premises in the working-class El Marg district of Cairo.

October 12, 2013

Bahrain MP rejects medical screening idea, saying it can lead to discrimination against people from Asia and Europe

Oil-rich Middle East state Kuwait’s controversial proposal to start a medical test to screen transgender visitors and ban their entry in the Arabian Gulf region has been rejected by rights organizations as well as a fellow Arab state, which called the plan crazy and a violation of rights.

October 11, 2013

Lebanon’s capital is famous for the Middle East’s most handsome men, inspiring cuisine and open, yet discrete, gay life

When the topic of travel destinations arises amongst travellers, Beirut may as well stop the conversation in its tracks.

However, don’t let anyone dismay you- Lebanon is a complex nation that refuses to be reduced to an evening news sound bite.

To those fortunate enough to see this indomitable city, a knowing smile will be your reward from fellow travellers who have reveled in its nightlife, been wrapped warm by the hospitality of its people, and tasted the rich tapestry of its food.

September 23, 2013

Islamist group Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya has accused Egypt’s Constituent Assembly of opening the door to same-sex marriage by amending the constitution to ensure that non-Muslims may not be punished for living non-Islamic lives

Egyptian Islamist group Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya has accused Egyptian lawmakers of opening the door to same-sex marriage after they amended Article 3 of the country’s constitution to ensure non-Muslims could not be punished under sharia law.

Article 3 states that the personal and religious affairs of non-Muslim Egyptians should be governed by their own religious communities’ standards, not by those of Islam.

September 12, 2013

'I was filled with fear, anger and a stubborn resistance that had built up'

Wentworth Miller is opening up about his journey from closeted TV star to openly gay man speaking out for equality.

Miller, who shared with an audience at an Human Rights Campaign dinner in Seattle that he tried to commit suicide as a teen, also spoke about how his experiences growing up and his sudden fame kept him firmly closeted until last month.

September 9, 2013

From Russia to Rome: Fronte Nazionale released hundreds of banners saying 'I agree with Putin'. Roman LGBT associations ask the mayor to ban the campaign

An Italian far right movement has started campaigning in Rome in favor of Russian anti-gay laws.

Fronte Nazionale party released hundreds of banners in the Italian capital with the motto ‘Io sto con Putin’ (I agree with Putin).

The party’s founder, Adriano Tilgher, wrote on Facebook: ‘We stand by the Russian president because he said “no” to the war in the Middle East and because he is fighting the gay lobbies.