Budget: € 660,000
Date of project: December 2019 – December 2021
Implementing Partner: OXFAM, QORRAS
Issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) are still considered taboo in Lebanon, and limited research has been conducted to fully understand them. Despite a slow positive shift in the situation, data still highlights different forms of discrimination against LGBTI individuals. The Lebanese penal code continues to criminalize sexual practice between consenting adults of the same sex in public or semi-public spaces under Article 534 established under the French Mandate in 1932. The law is predominantly implemented to criminalize homosexual acts primarily by males but has been used against others as well, particularly transwomen who have not amended the legal registration of their gender identity.
The only national study to investigate attitudes towards sexuality and gender identity was carried out in 2015. The study highlighted lack of awareness among the Lebanese public about sexual orientation and the lives of LGBTI individuals. 77% respondents were not aware of Article 534 and 50% believed that homosexuals are not mistreated in the Lebanese society. The study also highlighted major myths and misconceptions, as 79% of respondents categorized homosexuality to be due to a hormonal sickness and 72% believed that it is due to a mental disorder.
Interviews, testimonies, and community-centered documentation have consistently emphasized that LGBTI individuals go about their lives balancing multiple concerns. This includes surviving legal situations, as well as familial and social manifestations of violence. The translation of discrimination into acts of violence is facilitated by the minimal to absent legal shields, combined with social norms and prejudices. This also compromises the experience of queer individuals in the medical sector, preventing them from seeking the needed or desired medical care. Some local organizations provide sexual health and psychosocial support, but these services are largely limited to the capital city of Beirut and are not widely available.