10 Lebanese LGBT Publications

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This week and next, we’ll be looking back at a decade of LGBT activism in Lebanon, counting down our favorite moments and analyzing our greatest accomplishments. As we turn a new page of a new year, we must also acknowledge all the work it took to get us here. We start with the Top 10 Lebanese LGBT publications that came out over the past 10 years. I cannot but stand in awe of the amazing feat accomplished collectively by individuals and organizations working for LGBT justice in Lebanon. Here they are in chronological order:

  1. Raynbow.org’s Human Rights and Health Monitor is a fantastic archive of media clippings dating back to 1998 and throughout which one can trace the public face of the LGBT movement in Lebanon. Hundreds of links to press articles and stories are documented in this commendable effort by Raynbow.
  2. Barra Magazine is the mother of all Arab gay magazines still sought out today by LGBTs who were inpired by the courage of the Barra editorial team  headed by Munir Abdallah back in 2005. Three issues, the last of which came out in May 2006, were published by Helem and thousands of copies were distributed by volunteers in Beirut streets and bookstores. Download issues zero, one, and two.
  3. Rouhab Al-Mithliyya: Mawaqef wa Ara’ (Homophobia: Positions and Opinions) is probably the most under-publicized piece of historic work to ever come out on homosexuality in Lebanon. The brainchild of Mazen Khaled and published by Helem & La CD-Theque in May 2006, Rouhab Al Mithliyya is a collection of essays  from prominent Lebanese writers and thinkers such as Rabih Alameddine, Hanan Al-Sheikh, Omar Nashabe, Marie-Rose Zalzal and others. The essays critically discuss homophobia from sociological, literary, legal, psychological, and human rights perspectives. At the time of its publication, the book broke all publishing taboos and placed local voices for LGBT justice on Arabic bookshelves for the first time in our region. You can buy it online here.
  4. Souhaq is the smallest of our featured publications and only came out in two issues, its first only 4 pages – barely 1000 words in total. But it led, irreversibly, to dangerous awakenings: the lesbians had found a voice of their own. The zine called for the formation of Helem Girls in September 2006, a women-only group inside Helem, and spread like a virus across what was then an invisible network of lesbians. Download Issue 1 here.
  5. Koutayyib Mish Aan AnNabat (2007) is the most creatively laid-out booklet in our collection (see excerpts here) on the topic of sexual health for LGBTs. Covering not only HIV and STDs but also mental health, it was the first manual of its kind to approach same sex relations from a positive and affirmative angle. Contact Helem for free copies.
  6. Ouhibouhoum… Wa Lakin (I Love Them… But) is a parental guide to understanding homosexuality, a publication ahead of its time for Lebanese families. Launched by Helem and SIDC in a press conference last September, the booklet walks parents through different answers to questions of denial, anger, and rejection to reach acceptance through understanding the facts about human sexuality. Contact Helem for free copies.
  7. Bareed Mista3jil (Mail in a Hurry) was the ground-breaking book of 41 true stories from Lebanon’s queer women and transgender communities, published by Meem in May 2009. Hundreds attended the first reading in Beirut and other readings have been staged in Amman, Ramallah, Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco, and Brussels. A best-seller at Virgin Megastores and Antoine Libraries across Lebanon, Bareed Mista3ijl has sold over 3,000 copies to date.
  8. Bekhsoos.com (that’s us!) came in on September 7, 2009 to introduce a new dimension to our LGBT publication timeline, publishing weekly with news, reviews, columns, opinion pieces, creative work, reports, features, comics, and much more, covering not only Lebanon but many Arab countries as well. Read over 60,000 times to date, Bekhsoos.com positioned itself as a viable and consistent news source and archive on Arab queerness. Read some of our 2009 statistics here.
  9. Homosexualities and Bisexualities: Myths and Facts very recently came out by Dr. Maha Rabbath, a psychotherapist who works with the LGBT community at Helem. As the title indicates, the booklet aims to de-mystify misconceptions and prejudgments on human sexuality, setting the record straight scientifically, pscyhologically, and socially. Contact Helem for free copies.
  10. Al Ilaqat Al Mithliyya Fee Qanoun Al Ouqoubat (Homosexual Relations in Criminal Law) prepared by Maitre Nizar Saghieh, long-time defender of human rights in Lebanon just came out at the very end of 2009 and adds a much-needed comprehensive legal study to our list of publications. We just covered the launch of booklet in our last Bekhsoos issue and Helem just made the study downloadable online here.

There you have it, 10 must-read publications for your reading list in 2010.


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