On the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the European Union in Lebanon stands together with the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons in the country, for the respect of their human rights and the fight against all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
All human beings are equal in dignity and all are entitled to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In spite of this, the right of LGBTI persons are often challenged, resulting in unfair treatment, and in some cases even harm and violence. This is particularly true during a global crisis like COVID-19, where LGBTI persons are more vulnerable and at risk due to poor or no access to healthcare.
In Lebanon, the European Union supports an open and inclusive society for everyone. This is also key in the workplace and in the public sphere, including through ensuring access to healthcare, education and social coverage. Yet, LGBTI persons are still targets of stigmatization and marginalization. The European Union urges Lebanon to adopt all-encompassing anti-discrimination legislation and abolish Article 534 of the Penal Code to further protect LGBTI persons.
This year, through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union launched two projects protecting and promoting the rights of LGBTI persons in Lebanon. The first project focuses on increasing employability of LGBTI people and their inclusion in the workplace. Together with Soins Infirmiers et Développement Communautaire (SIDC) and Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), the European Union takes a holistic approach to the work environment, seeking to improve workplaces by making them more inclusive and responsive to the rights of LGBTI people in Lebanon.
Through our partnership with OXFAM and Qorras Sociètè Civile, the European Union will contribute to the protection and promotion of LGBTI rights in Lebanon by challenging common stereotypes about them. With this new project, we will support local civil society organizations to reduce discrimination and promote the fundamental legal and health rights of LGBTI individuals.
We all have the right to be treated equally and live in dignity, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity. On 17 May 2020, the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, we will “go rainbow” once again this year, raising the rainbow flag at the office premises of the European Union Delegation to Lebanon.