Now Reading
Lebanon moves one step closer to decriminalizing homosexuality

Lebanon moves one step closer to decriminalizing homosexuality

Hamed Sinno lead singer mashrou leila

In a landmark case, a judge in Lebanon concedes homosexuality should not be an offense.

Judge Rabih Maalouf declared that ‘homosexuality is a personal choice, and not a punishable offense’ last week.

The ruling referenced Article 183 which states: ‘An act undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse shall not be regarded as an offense.’

This simply means if you’re exercising your freedoms and not hurting anyone, there’s no crime.

Although homosexuality is still technically illegal, this case sets a precedent for future rulings.

Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that are ‘contradicting the laws of nature’.

People caught in breach of this law are punishable for up to one year in prison.

But actual enforcement of the law varies from place to place in Lebanon.

‘As long as they stay away’

A report released in 2015 titled As Long As They Stay Away, highlights the attitudes towards homosexuality.

The report found 64.6% of survey respondents felt LGBTI people should not be accepted into society.

In addition, 75.9% disagreed that it would be beneficial for society to recognize homosexuality as normal with more than half feeling very strongly about their view.

It is still very dangerous to be openly LGBTI in Lebanon.

The International Refugee Assistance Project spoke to Bader, an LGBTI activist and human rights supporter living in Lebanon.

Bader believes it’s very hard to be your authentic self in Lebanon: ‘Stay safe, strong, and positive.’

‘If your sexual orientation is “visible” or you are a transgender person, avoid living in unsafe places,’ he said.

And most importantly: ‘Don’t hate yourself, don’t hate your body.’