BY RICHARD HALL / GlobalPost
BEIRUT — The Middle East is not a friendly place for the LGBT community.
Although a number of laws criminalizing homosexuality remain on the books (article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code states that "sexual intercourse contrary to nature" is punishable for up to one year in prison), successful prosecutions are rare.
Campaigners had cause for celebration in 2013, when Lebanon’s Psychiatric Society declared that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. Early last year, a Lebanese judge dismissed a case against a transgender woman charged with “unnatural sexual intercourse,” a ruling that activists said renders the anti-gay legislation meaningless.
As progress has been made on the legal side, gay rights campaigners have turned their attention to changing societal attitudes toward the LGBT community. A 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center found that only 18 percent of Lebanese people believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.
To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHO) on May 17, a group by the name of Proud Lebanon has released a video calling for an end to discrimination against LGBT people in the country — including by changing the current discriminatory laws.
The video, which features a number of Lebanese celebrities, says that “being different isn’t shameful.”
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...