(Blogmensgo, gay blog of May 23, 2017) After a week of event in Beirut and the rest of the country, the LGBT community of Lebanon celebrated Beirut Pride on May 21, 2017. Although there were not the usual parade and masses of people, this was the first Pride event in the Arab world that was not marked by homophobia or repressed by the police.
At the Rainbow Week from May 14 to 21, 2017, there was a flair of LGBT atmosphere in Beirut and the entire country – despite article 534 of the Lebanese penal code that still punishes homosexuality with up to one year in prison and a 600 EUR fine. Unfortunately, security forces and religious extremists (mostly Islamists) still refer this law in order to intimidate or oppress others.
It is not a coincidence that the timing of the Rainbow Week was planned around May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. More than 4000 people came to the events during the week.
Some events were canceled due to the pressure from Islamists. There is still a lot to be done in Lebanon before homo- and transphobia, ignorance and stupidity will be defeated.
Instead of the usual large events and parades, the organizers of #BeirutPride limited themselves to a minimum: There was a festive luncheon in a restaurant in Batrun, a seaside resort in the North od Lebanon plus some smaller events in Beirut.
The night before May 21, about 15 bars and restaurants in the upscale neighborhood Mar Mkhayel were decorated with rainbow flags – once again, a big and important premiere in Lebanon.