Lebanon: Gay rights group persists, with pride, in Beirut

Hadi Damien began planning Beirut Pride last summer as a special week to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17. From May 14-21, multiple events are being held in Beirut's cultural centers, bars, offices and outdoor venues. A statement posted on the Beirut Pride website says, "Beirut Pride is a happy, friendly, constructive platform that invites people to express themselves, in an attempt to contribute to our liberation from the destructive hate that poisons our country and forces many fellow citizens out toward other countries that guarantee their basic rights."

The message apparently wasn't appreciated by some members of the League of Muslim Scholars in Lebanon, which used social media to call for the first event of the week to be canceled. They urged other religious groups and the government to take action. The May 14 event, organized by the nongovernmental organization Proud Lebanon, was supposed to be a full day of talk, music and performances at Hotel Monroe in downtown Beirut, to celebrate IDAHOT a few days in advance.

Although that event wasn't officially a part of Beirut Pride week, its goal was the same: to promote respect and tolerance toward the LGBTQ+ community. "Our day was canceled because the hotel received threats and the Islamist organization put pressure on the management, which became afraid for the security," Causette Maalouf, Proud Lebanon's advocacy officer, explained to Al-Monitor. Read more via Al-Monitor