European Union External Action

Challenging Stereotypes, Providing Services, Convening, and Advocating: a multi-layer approach to promote LGBTI rights in Lebanon

10/11/2020 - 13:45
Democracy and Human Rights

The project aims at contributing to the protection and promotion of LGBTI rights in Lebanon through supporting civil society organizations to effectively reduce discrimination and promoting legal, health, and psychosocial rights of LGBTI individuals.


  • Budget: € 660,000
  • Location: Lebanon
  • 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.


  • Contribute to the protection and promotion of LGBTI rights in Lebanon, through
  • supporting civil society organizations to effectively reduce discrimination
  • promoting legal, health, and psychosocial rights of LGBTI individuals


  • LGBTI individuals


  • Development of a framework to challenge stereotypes and clear misconceptions on LGBTI individuals through “creative knowledge” initiatives
  • Implementation of knowledge creation initiatives to increase awareness on LGBTI experiences, foster dialogue, and strengthen linkages between individuals
  • Mapping the needs and gaps of service provision for LGBTI community in terms of legal, health and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)
  • Development of advocacy products


  • Stereotypes of LGBTI individuals are challenged through different forms of “creative knowledge”
  • Facilitated access to safe legal, health, and psychosocial services for LGBTI individuals
  • Advocacy for the rights of LGBTI individuals through evidence-production and awareness raising campaigns
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