SOGI-related events that you should go to this week

Three events are taking place this week that are really interesting to those of you following issues of gender and sexuality.

(I am organizing two of them, so this is slightly a bit of shameless promotion..shhh)

1. Round table discussion on cases of “Transwomen’s Navigation of Arrest and Detention in Beirut”

The round table discussion will tackle the paper to be published by  Lebanon Support, written by Ms Qubbaia and Mr Saleh, which looks into detention practices as manifested in the cases of detained transwomen in the context of wider policing of gender and sexuality norms, bodies, and behaviors in Beirut

Held by: Lebanon Support
Date: Thursday 30th of October, 2004
Time: 6:00PM
Location: Adlieh, Beirut – Najib Azouri Street, Shaghouri Building (3rd floor)
Click for map

2. “Dardashat Jandariya”; Selling Sex: Intersections of Morality, Patriarchy, Violence, Consent, Freedom and Feminism

Where does Lebanese civil society stand with regards to the selling of sex? What is the Lebanese legal context with regards to commercial sexual services or performances? What are the major differences between commercial sex, trafficking, and exploitation and how can we disentangle them? What are potential implications of awareness-raising, organization, and criminalization? Finally, how do we ensure that such discussions do not exclude people who sell sex from representing themselves?

The talk aims to provide a space for an open discussion that encompasses sexual freedoms, feminism, patriarchy, and morality

Held By: Arab Foundation For Freedom & Equality
Date: Thursday 30th of October, 2014
Time: 7:30PM
Location: AltCity – Hamra, Montreal Building (1st/M floor)
Click for map

3. Article 534: Contesting Dominant Activist Discourse and Examining Alternative Strategies

– How has article 534 been interpreted and used by police forces, the
legal apparatus and activists?
– How do the rulings in the Batroun (2009) and Metn (2014) courts
shape these readings? How can we use these rulings for further
advocacy work?
– What are the dominant activist discourses and strategies on article
534? What are the fallouts and limits of these discourses and
– Is working towards annulling article 534 the best strategy in
decriminalizing same sex acts and/or desires? How does it fit into the
broader efforts to counter and fight against the policing of
sexuality, sexual desires, and acts?
– What alternative and more inclusive strategies can be envisioned and pursued?

Held By; Helem
Date: Friday 31st of October, 2014
Location: AltCity – Hamra, Montreal Building (1st/M floor)
Click for map


The Fixation on Being the “First”

Last week, I collaborated with some friends to hold an event called “TransFocus: A Trans* Film Festival”. Together, we were able to hold the event independently from any party, collective or organization working in Lebanon in order to explore different spaces of activism that I have not been accustomed to work in previously.

One of the policies that we followed was limited media exposure and to some degree, we resisted any coverage from foreign and non-local media outlets. The few reporters who did reach out to us to cover the event were turned down and we talked to them on the reasons for such. We resist that our event be made representative of the Trans* community and the (non-existent) Trans* movement in Lebanon.

The event ran from November 29th till December 1st and we really enjoyed the discussions that were raised within and the new spaces that we were discovering. As we started working on documenting the event’s proceedings and the discussions, an article was published on December 2nd that covered the event (last day of the event at least) in NOW by Mr. Alberto Mucci. Unfortunately, the article was titled “Lebanon’s First Transgender Festival” even though we have made it clear on different occasions and places that we resist being represented as the “First” of anything or seen as representing anyone or any community or population.

I would like to elaborate on this point in this post. Being called the “First” presupposes that there were no previous similar event before. That is something that we do not know since there might have been one that we were not aware of (which is very likely since these events are usually done underground and away from media coverage and attention). Moreover, the purpose of using the word “First” is to “measure” the progress that a certain group or country have achieved in terms of queer activism and specifically Trans* activism.

Edit 1: A very interesting fact that @myra_m pointed my attention at is that the term “First” also presupposes that the event in question is the “true” and “original” one and all subsequent ones are imitation of that one singular event.

Our event did not progress anything in this country nor in this “Arab” world (whatever that terms includes/excludes). In fact, and as my colleague Dree put it, our event did not help or change the life of a single Trans* person in Lebanon or anywhere else and we do not (and can not) claim that it did anything of that sorts.

The only thing that we did achieve with this event is that we were able to explore existing laws and regulations that police Trans* bodies; from the available medical services to the process of identity change to the ways Trans* people navigate laws surrounding identification and “public morality” (again, whatever that means). Moreover, we were also able to explore new alliances and map out some gaps that we need to cover in the services that are provided/found in Lebanon.

If there is something that the media can help out is to share our call to share resources.