ADDED ON: 06/10/2020

This Pride Month, Shame on You: Exposing Anti-LGBT Government Strategies in MENA

06/08/2020 | Human Rights Watch

As a researcher and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, I am often asked: “What is it like to be gay in the Middle East?” It is a question that cannot be answered. It assumes a uniform “gay experience” across the region, that does not align with reality. Sexual orientation and gender identity are only one aspect of experience. Social position and economic status also determine “what it is like.” Individual experiences of LGBT people are varied and distinctive and cannot be generalized to an entire country, let alone a region. A better question would be: How do governments in the MENA region use anti-LGBT rhetoric to advance their political agendas? The answer to that question reveals the state-sponsored homophobia that negatively impacts the lives of LGBT people in the region. Pride Month is an opportunity for people around the globe celebrate the visibility and hard-earned victories of LGBT people and movements since the Stonewall uprising in 1969. It is a good time to unshroud government strategies that inhibit equal rights in the MENA region, where anti-LGBT discrimination and violence are rampant.

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