Lebanon’s anti-LGBT law is invalid, judge rules

Good news from Lebanon, reported by that country’s Daily Star:

Landmark ruling rubbishes anti-gay law in Lebanon

Transgender woman in Lebanon (Photo courtesy of The Daily Star)
Transgender woman in Lebanon (Photo courtesy of The Daily Star)

BEIRUT — A judge presiding over a case prosecuting homosexuality has ruled that a notorious piece of legislation criminalizing gay sex is not valid, a decision that has been hailed as a major achievement by activists in Lebanon.

The latest edition of The Legal Agenda, a quarterly magazine published by the non-governmental organization of the same name, reported Tuesday that, in January, Judge Naji al-Dahdah cleared a transsexual woman of having a same-sex relationship with a man, an act criminalized under Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code.

“It’s a big step; it shows we’re moving in the right direction,” said Georges Azzi, a prominent activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights who is also the co-founder of Helem, a Lebanese group that has long been campaigning to change the law.

“The more we have decisions like this the more Article 534 becomes irrelevant,” Azzi told The Daily Star. “Any legal change takes a lot of time but at least this article might stop being used to persecute gay and transgender people in Lebanon.”

For more information, read the full article “Landmark ruling rubbishes anti-gay law in Lebanon.”

Under Lebanese law, sexual relations between men or between women (described as “any sexual intercourse against nature”) is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Related article:

Lebanon‬ becomes the first ‪Arab‬ country to declassify being ‪‎gay‬ as a ‘disease’, and saying no ‘treatment’ necessary (LGBTQ Nation, July 12, 2013)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated, the Lebanese Psychiatric Society LPS said Thursday in a statement published by the Ministry of Information.

“Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities,” LPS said, in response to recent arrests and mistreatment of LGBT people in Lebanon.


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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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