Beirut Pride Statement

Whilst the armed street combats from the Lebanese Civil War series might have ended in 1990, the social war, on the other hand, is wreaking havoc, and the speech that calls for hate and for the rejection of the other is still ongoing. It demonises people, misinforms the masses and negatively conditions society, leading to recurrent waves of agression against a great number of members of the Lebanese society, assaulting them, jeopardising their safety, endangering their health, and marginalising their human, civil, legal and security rights.

Convinced that the sustainability of our country and its good health stem from the consecration of an inclusive society that preserves us in our essence and humanity, so we all feel we belong to one strong entity where fear and toxic social hiding do not rule,

Reverberating on the recent past of our country, in light of Lebanon’s contribution to the foundation of the United Nations and its pledge to abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the Preamble of the Constitution that stipulates that the Lebanese State respects freedom and strives to reinforce social justice and equality in rights and obligations among all citizens without discrimination,

And aligned with the new Administration discourse that seeks to improve the well-being of the Lebanese citizens through initiatives and reforms that reject hate and violence and stand up for a safe society to all citizens,

The Beirut Pride positions itself as a collaborative platform that takes a positive stance against hate and discrimination. It denounces hate speech and violence, especially those based on gender and sexual diversity, and advocates non-aggression and an unbiased approach to preconceived ideas through social awareness initiatives. It aims at promoting self-affirmation and dignity through the contribution of many players from the Lebanese creative industries, as well as local human rights NGOs. "It is not because you think the other might be different from you that it is ok to bully, harass, humiliate, bash and aggress". The Beirut Pride takes place around May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and its programs include a series of talks, discussions, get-togethers, projections, performances, workshops, parties and collaborations—all of them open to the public.

Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is a celebration of humanity in its diversity. The Beirut Pride is not a westernised, imported platform, as its programme and initiatives are local and reflect on the specificities and intricacies of the Lebanese complex social fabrics. It does not endorse or encourage clashes with any social or religious actors, and is entirely ran by Lebanese volunteers with no political affiliations (parties, embassies, etc). The Beirut Pride builds upon decades of work by extraordinary and courageous people who have been tackling many social issues, confronting others for recognition, exhibiting their artworks, going on stage, dancing, singing, speaking in the most casual ways about themselves and their identities, celebrities publicly endorsing sexual and gender diversity, showing courage and pride, and being authentic—at any cost.

First pride in the Arab world, the 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, towards other countries that guarantee their basic rights.

The first instalment of the Beirut Pride will take place May 14–21, 2017 at numerous public venues throughout the city.