Lebanon Just Did a Whole Lot More Than Legalize Being Gay

Published: March 8, 2014

LGBTQ rights supporters rejoiced on Thursday with news that homosexuality is no longer illegal in Lebanon.  A court ruling abolished a case against an unnamed transwoman – accused of having a “same sex relationship with a man” – stating that homosexuality can no longer be considered a crime because it is “not unnatural.” Lebanese law only prohibits sexual acts “contradicting the laws of nature.”

 
Mirroring coverage of LGBTQ advancement in the Western world, however, a vast majority of reports, blogs, tweets, and celebratory Instagram posts conspicuously erase the critical role of trans people in securing this victory.
 
Conveniently forgetting the “T” in LGBTQ advocacy and communications efforts is not new. In gender battles from the U.S. to the Philippines, trans people are both purposefully and unconsciously excluded from public discourse. The “transgender exclusion” permeates media coverage, advocacy efforts, health care plans, gender-based social services, and extends into the work of prominent and prestigious gay-rights organizations. Human Rights Campaign, widely regarded as America’s preeminent LGBTQ research and advocacy group, is the target of frequent criticism for its historic failure to include trans issues in their advocacy. While HRC has made significant and praiseworthy advancements in trans advocacy and awareness raising efforts in the recent past, it may be worth mentioning that a Google search for “human rights campaign trans” produces this article first: Why The Transgender Community Hates HRC.
 
Coverage of Lebanon’s recent ruling has not been an exception to the global tendency to erase the “T” in LGBTQ. The landmark ruling originated in a case brought against a transwoman, yet coverage of the “historic statement” has almost exclusively used the word “gay:”
 
Lebanon: Being Gay is not a Crime nor Against Nature (Huffington Post UK)
 
Gays in Lebanon Just Snagged a Major Victory (PolicyMic)
 
Landmark ruling rubbishes anti-gay law in Lebanon (The Daily Star)
 
London-based Gay Star News was one of the only sites to use the word “transgender” in the title of their article, giving a rather factual account of the affair: Lebanese court throws out case against transgender woman accused of ‘unnatural sex.’
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