So yesterday we had the IDAHO 2013 event. For those who have not heard of it, it’s an acronym for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. During this we day, we celebrate the act of de-patholization of homosexuality by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. From that day on, homosexuality was officially taken out from the classification of diseases in the world.
Every year, we come together to celebrate that day and call for the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Lebanese law through Article 534. And this year, IDAHO 2013 was no different though it was slightly interesting. I will start first with the highlights of the event and then conclude my post with the grand surprise that some wonderful people had organized for us.
The event featured three amazing short movies from students in Lebanese universities who tackled the issues of homosexuality, gender identity and related discrimination. The movies were as follows;
- Nazal Kafer-Hanem (نزل كفر هانم) by Antoine Chidiac
- The F word by Ghida Mahfouz
- Room 534 by Omar Moujaes
Attorneys Nizar Saghieh and Ghida Frangieh presented a new publication as a template defense for lawyers to adopt when they are presenting a person charged with 534. The document is based on a different rhetoric when dealing with charges of 534. Instead of asking the defendant to deny that he/she is gay and are therefore “innocent” from the conviction of being so, Frangieh explains that this template is based on dissociating article 534 from the person orientation. In other words, this document aims to stop of the application of article 534 on homosexuality and people charged with “being” gay.
The document is an interesting resource for lawyers, judges and any person who might be persecuted by article 534. Please refer to a soft copy of the document on the following LINK.
Finally, the event was followed by a talk on the futility of reparative therapy by Dr.Carole Saade and a movie by Alex Jenkins on excepts from the Egyptian cinema that depicts moments of queer desire.
But was was really interesting is the small gathering of people who formed an counter-protest against the event at the theater place. As the momentary feelings of tread washed over us, we calmed down and we could see how silly and scared these people are. This is first time that any group of people gather against such an event or in support of the homophobic policies of the country. I think that’s a very good sign. If you do piss someone one, they you are probably doing something right.
I leave you with this very interesting picture! (somewhere, a grammar nazi killed himself)