Helem’s latest publication, Only 534, offers a concise and informative analysis of article 534 of the Lebanese penal code, which criminalizes “unnatural sexual intercourse”. Following Nizar Saghieh’s excellent legal analysis of the application of article 534 published by Helem earlier this year (link), this booklet aims to distill some of the most relevant ideas in a manner that is clear, accessible, and useful for LGBTs in Lebanon. It is also unique in pushing forward very explicit rights-based language for issues of sexual orientation (and to a lesser degree) gender identity.
Helem, the first public gay and lesbian organization in the Arab World, launched on Thursday, October 29, 2009, in Beirut, the awareness-raising booklet “Homosexualities and Bisexualities: Myths and Realities”. Helem’s George Azzi and psychologist and psychotherapist Dr. Maha Rabbath, who prepared the booklet, headed the panel. Following Mr. Azzi’s overview of Helem’s advocacy work against homophobia, on the one hand, and support of the LGBT community in Lebanon on the other, Dr. Rabbath introduced the booklet, a project three years in the making.