A gay parade in Lebanon For people routinely harassed and sometimes arrested by the Lebanese authorities, it was refreshing to be able to attend a public event without fear of being detained. But the gun-toting policemen standing outside the hotel were not there to carry out a raid against the dozens of people who had gathered inside for the press conference by the gay rights organization, Helem. Instead, the police were there to ensure the safety of the event.

The press conference part of a three-day event organized by Helem to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia, which marks the day in May 1990 on which the World Health Organization took homosexuality off its list of mental disorders. Source: [BBC]

Frankly, I never thought I would live to see the day when Arab homosexuals could organize a public event and talk about the fact that they do exist. But then again Lebanon is different. Perhaps this was bound to happen. My opinion: Good for them!

Meanwhile, Al Arabiya covered the event [Arabic] but alleged that the organizers of the parade were showing "porn movies." The head of the organization, Helem (‘Dream’ in Arabic), that put together the event denied the accusation, saying that what was shown were social movies about the status of homosexuals in Lebanon and the Arab world.