May 17, 2015 – Reported by Haaretz.com – As Lebanon’s gay community kicks off a new public campaign to counter discrimination and the social taboos against homosexuality, its message is simple: “Being different isn’t shameful. What’s shameful is fighting diversity.”
The group, Proud Lebanon, has roped in celebrities such as actors Christian Chueiri, Zeina Dakash and Fouad Yameen for its video, ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHO) that is being marked on Sunday.
“Many in the Middle East region, and not just Lebanon, they look at gay people, whether they are a male or female, like they are sinners and shameful people,” says Toufic, a 34-year-old bartender, who prefers to keep his last name anonymous.
“With this video, featuring Lebanese celebrities, people might take a minute and think: My brother or my sister might be one. And then think twice (about) how do they judge us.”
While Lebanon is sometimes dubbed the “gay paradise” of the Arab world, the community still remains vulnerable to exploitation, including by state institutions such as the security services and judiciary…story continues below…