“There is nobody left in my life who hasn’t hurt me.”
Jawad worked in sales in Syria before the war began. When his father found out he was gay, he had him arrested.
After five years of hard labour, he emerged a broken man, only to find his country at war. Estranged from his family, he found himself dangerously exposed.
Soon after his release, he was gang raped at gun point by four men from an armed group.
“They could tell I was gay,” he told me, through stifled sobs, looking out over the Beirut cityscape.
His vulnerability made him an easy target for this brutal weapon of war. Now in Lebanon, where he thought he could start again, he works as a prostitute.
“I have nothing but my body to sell. That was my reward for the Syrian revolution.”
It might come as little surprise that gay men and women don’t have the easiest time in the Middle East. But it was not always so.
In many ways modern attitudes to homosexuality in the Middle East are similar to western European attitudes of the 19th and 20th Century – religious zeal and a specific vision of gender roles…