Beirut Pride, the only gay pride event in the Arab world, cancelled after organizer arrested

Outlet: / Editor: Michelle Howsworth / Language: English / Date of publication: 17 May 2018 / Estimated reading time: 1 minute.

Despite having a large Muslim population, Lebanon is considered the most gay-friendly Arab country and the local law prohibiting "any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature" isn't enforced. Last year, it was celebrated for being the first Arab country to allow a gay pride week, but it seems the tradition isn't lasting.

The 2018 Beirut Pride events started on Saturday, but yesterday (Tue) local police arrested Hadi Damien, the organizer of the events, and demanded that he cancel the rest of the week if he wants to be released. Damien acquiesced and the remaining events have been cancelled. 

He later told BBC that he's disappointed in the result, adding that gay people are now worried of an upcoming crackdown.


1. LGBTIQ+ individuals were worried of direct intimidations in the wake of the detention and suspension. Beirut Pride was not canceled, and while this episode is not amusing on the short term, it does not hinder Beirut Pride's upcoming plans. The suspended activities are being retrieved, and its projects and initiatives continue as planned.

2. Beirut Pride's events were suspended on the decision of the General Prosecutor of Beirut, independently of the agreement, consent or refusal of Hadi Damien. The decision to suspend the events was effective whether Hadi Damien was detained or release. The pledge he was asked to sign was for him to acknowledge the decision of the General Prosecutor. He did not sign off on the shutdown. For a full account of the detention, refer to the Statement about the Suspension of Beirut Pride Events – 14 May 2018.