Lebanon’s interior minister has been criticised by activists after he told security forces to crack down on LGBTQ+ events during Pride month and said such gatherings would spread “sexual perversion” and run against the country’s religious values.
Rights groups have responded with derision and anger to minister Bassam Mawlawi’s message, published by the ministry on Friday, saying they have the right to free expression and would not be deterred. “It is perplexing why a caretaker minister thinks it is part of his duties to incite violence and hate speech against a marginalized community of his own citizens,” Lebanon’s biggest LGBTQ+ group, Helem, said in a statement.
Most countries in the Middle East do not tolerate open celebrations of LGBTQ+ life, with many criminalising lesbian, gay, and transgender citizens, and reports of social exclusion and abuse commonplace.
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