Here are some frequently asked questions:
- What is the highlight of the Beirut Pride?
The BP is proud to be an inclusive platform that brings people together in order not to feel alone. It is a fun, chill, relax calendar that lists several activities without curating a given programme. For its first edition, and its upcoming two, it will not have a specific theme and will try to stay away from over-intellectualisation.
- Is the Lebanese society ready for a Beirut Pride?
The Lebanese society is not on the verge of collapsing, and therefore is ready for everything. Lebanese people, from the city and the mountains, have access to the TV cable and to the Internet. They are aware of what happens in the world and are conscious that they are not a secluded civilisation. Using the negation “Lebanese society is not ready” is an excuse for not engaging in a social debate that would make the whole society aware of the reality of diversity and its wealth. Tackling pending issues breaks the wall of disinformation, stereotypes and labels, and proves that improving the existence of numerous citizens is a possible aim that uplifts the whole society, as it lessens the suffering of some and moves the society forward, in empowerment and positive return.
- What does the Beirut Pride advocate?
If the BP could speak it would say “It is not because you think the other might be different from you that it is ok to bully, harass, humiliate, bash and aggress”. It is a call for no-hate and no-discrimination.
- Is the BP and LGBITQ+ event?
The BP particularly denounces hate and discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people, and is articulated around the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. However, it is an inclusive event, which means it is accessible to any person who does not display a disrespectful behaviour.
- What does LGBTIQ+ mean?
It is an acronym best explained as gender and sexual diversity. It literally means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, but is not limited to them.
- Why does Lebanon need a Pride?
A pride is a positive, happy event that brings people together, outdoors, in music, dance and laughs. It reflects on social stigma and discrimination and seeks self-affirmation and empowerment. A great number of the Lebanese citizens feel discriminated, and if “peaceful” cities all over the world yearn for the Pride festivities, then, in Lebanon, we need a pride every day!
- How come is the Beirut Pride not a western concept brought to Lebanon?
Throughout the world, the Pride is a series of artistic, cultural, sport, social, religious, political, commercial events that celebrate diversity and human beings. This is not a western idea, but a universal one. The Beirut Pride programmes a series of events that are specific to the Lebanese realities and needs. Meaningful happenings, brought by Lebanese creative, that reflect on our daily lives and aspirations without even the endorsement or patronage of embassies.
- Do Lebanese LGBTIQ+ people need a Beirut Pride?
Yes! LGBTIQ+ are often segregated, bullied, harassed, humiliated, bashed and aggressed. But it all depends on the social rank and the opportunities that come along. Those of a medium to high social standing manage to surround themselves with acquaintances who would support them. They have the means to travel and have some breather. Nevertheless, plenty of people do not have this luxury and are confined into “closed” societies, which makes it difficult to live their life, or even, to lead a double life. If the Beirut Pride manages to spread a positive, affirmative word, then this is already something great!
- What is the situation of LGBTIQ+ people in Lebanon?
The Lebanese society displays a certain behaviour often found in post-war societies. The other (whether an LGBTIQ+, a refugee or someone from a different social/religious background) is often frowned upon, and is perceived as a foreigner who would compromise the fragile existence of the society. When at war every party wants to end the other, the idea of one predominant profil is still existing in Lebanon. A national identity has never been constructed, and people often base their identity on their religious communities. While socially privileged people are generally queer-friendly, some others believe that LGBTIQ+ are a threat to the sustainability of society. Some even reject initiatives similar to the “Beirut Pride” because they believe they “encourage people to become gay”. It is therefore obvious that education is required. People are often negatively conditioned by social taboos and misinterpretations of religions. The media landscape does a lot of damage as media outlets very often convey a stereotype, a mocking representation of LGBTIQ+ people, in comedy and talk shows alike, in order to boost their ratings at the expense of people's integrity. On a legal matter, being LGBTIQ+ in Lebanon is not a crime. Nevertheless, Article 534 from the Penal Code criminalises “unnatural intercourse”. Open to multiple interpretations, one stipulating that “gay sex is not natural”, many judges “punish” homosexual acts in virtue of this article, with a fine. However, it is during detention that some practices are sordid and LGBTIQ+ are abused by law enforcement officers.
- Why do LGBTIQ+ people need to ask for their rights?
The LGBTIQ+ situation in Lebanon is precarious, and anytime, people could be arbitrarily detained for simple suspicious of homosexual behaviour. Looking feminine or lacking virility has been a reason to arrest individuals in some parts of the country. As marginalisation is rampant, it is crucial that basic rights and basic security are secured to avoid distressing reports.
- Will there be a parade in Beirut Pride 2017?
Due to safety apprehensions expressed by many organisations, there will not be a public parade in 2017. But who knows.
- Could the Beirut Pride be called Beirut Pride if there is no parade?
Yes. Even though the parade has become the biggest entertainment event in Prides worldwide, it is still a happening like any other one in the calendar of a Pride. It is worth remembering here that today’s carnavalesque parades started as riots and protests for basic LGBTIQ+ rights. They have lately taken on a spectacular dimension as they celebrate LGBTIQ+ accomplishments and successes. A Pride is mostly a positive stance against hate and discrimination. It brings people together for self-affirmation and empowerment.
- What do parades around the world look like?
Click here to be redirected to the article "Pride Around the World".
- Would future parades in Beirut look like those abroad?
No: each parade is singular and specific to the city that organises it. A pride is also representative of the people who participate in it. Public display of affection (french-kissing in the street for example) is not very much part of the Lebanese society, this is why it is very rare to see a heterosexual couple kissing. It will be the same for a homosexual couple. But given the excitement of Lebanese people and our over-the-top parties, future parades in Beirut promise to be an exaltation of joy, music and colours!
- How can I participate in the activities of the Beirut Pride?
Check the programme on the website, check our social media profiles and just attend!
- How can I help?
Start by spreading the world and do not hesitate to bring along some of your friends and relatives who have some preconceived ideas about LGBTIQ+ people.
- Who organises and funds the Beirut Pride?
The Beirut Pride is a collaborative platform that brings together members of the creative industries in Lebanon and the LGBTIQ+ local NGOs. It does not require any funding.
- How can I help the LGBTIQ+ people in Lebanon in their pursue of equal rights and protection?
According to a recent study, a great percentage of the Lebanese society opposes any form of legal discrimination against LGBTIQ+ as well as violence and agression. But when it comes to positions made in public, many people avoid being vocally supportive of LGBTIQ+ rights, for not being considered “gay”. This is another limit imposed by the negative conditioning of society and religious interpretations. These people remain silent, while negative people who hate and discriminate against LGBTIQ+ voice their opinions in the loudest way. They become the predominantly heard voice and seem to represent the stance of the Lebanese society. In this frame, the first thing to do to help, is to voice your non-discrimination attitude. The second thing to do is to read and educate yourself on particularly relevant matters to the LGBTIQ+, so you be able to engage in a healthy, articulate conversation. Anyone could help from their position. Every voice matters.