Readings' Summaries Sexual Orientation

Readings' Summaries Sexual Orientation - Lebanon's gays...

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Lebanon' s gays struggle with law Helem : group in Lebanon that works in the improvement of the rights, the legal and social status of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals . Helem is an Arabic word that means "Dream" but it is also the Arabic acronym for Lebanese Protection for the LGBT community. Helem works with this community to help her be accepted by society and to try to change the law. Freedom of association is protected by the law and the Lebanese Constitution but despite this, homosexuality is still illegal because of an article of the Penal Code, the article 534. The article 534 says that " unnatural sexual intercourse" is a criminal act and can lead up to one year's imprisonment. But still, Helem works with government agencies, civil institutions. No homosexual has been tried and sentenced under this article but the police can exploited it. But just because of the existence of this article, the homosexuals do not enjoy full legal protection as other Lebanese do. And the police won't help them if their rights are violated because again of this article. Some gays were even blackmailed, harassed, lost their jobs, humiliated, abused (especially those who are more effeminate). Doctors or lawyers are in a difficult position, people will not trust them, will think they are not able to treat them or provide legal advices. Even their families can make their lives difficult by threatening them or forcing them to move out. But , the Helem`s co-ordinator admits that in Beirut things have changed. Lebanese are more aware that gay people exist, they do not deny them. The homosexuals are more "visible".
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It is more difficult for the lesbians. Because they usually break two taboos: she admits that she has extra-marital sex and also same-sex relationship . Landmark Meeting for gay Lebanese In May 1990, the World Health Organization took homosexuality off its lists of mental disorders. To coincide with this, Helem organized a three-day event . Among these events, there was a press conference held in a hotel Many more people attended the events b/c the gays are more accepted and Helem is much more visible They got a lot of support. Today they work w/ a lot of NGOs who would not work w/ them at first Helem's main goal is to remove the article 534 from the law.
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