To challenge and reform the legislative framework that criminalizes and stigmatizes LGBTI+ people by advocating for a liberal interpretation of relevant laws, including arrest procedures and the definition of privacy rights during arrests, while supporting the expansion of the LGBTI+ movement and increasing accessibility of health-related and legal services to LGBTI+ individuals.
Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria
Self-determination is key in this project. Despite the rise of religious conservatism and authoritarian regimes in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, LGBTI+ organizations have gone from four in 2010 (in Lebanon and Palestine) to 22 in 2017 across the region. The increased organizational capacity of Lebanese LGBTI+ organizations like Helem and Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality allows them to articulate, defend and promote LGBTI+ rights and advocate for sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
The program helps these organizations share knowledge and best practices so they can use their growing strength to broaden the LGBT+ movement. They also closely collaborate with non-LGBTI+ organizations, and have formed an alliance with LebMASH (health), and Seeds (legal issues). Together they aim to convene a group of civil society organizations, both LGBTI+ and non-LGBTI+, to develop a strategy on LGBTI+ dignity and rights and improve coordination and collaboration between different actors.
Results so far
Through cooperation with the partners, the program has been able to offer safe spaces in Beirut for LGBTI+ individuals, such as Helem’s community center where LGBTI+ individuals can contribute to a variety of social projects. The program has run campaigns in Lebanon and has an increasing network of lawyers, bloggers, journalists and activists that support this work. Across the region, it has intensified collaboration among LGBTI+ organizations, e.g. when Lebanese and Tunisian LGBTI+ organisations held a conference in 2018 to discuss banning anal tests.
Period and budget
2017 – 2019, $300,000.00
Helem, Seeds, Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality (AFE), Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH)