Rodney Croome writes that Helem and Proud Lebanon make a real difference in the lives of LGBTIQ+ Lebanese but need support after the recent deadly explosion in Beirut.
Every day we hear of another overseas theocrat or authoritarian persecuting LGBTIQ people.
But what can Australians do to make a positive difference for our queer kin in other countries?
Following the deadly explosion in Beirut, we have a very real opportunity to make a difference.
The explosion devastated the LGBTIQ district, including the offices of Helem and Proud Lebanon.
Lebanon is one of the least LGBTIQ-intolerant Arabic-speaking countries
Beirut has a cosmopolitan history and many members of the Lebanese diaspora support pluralism and democracy in their homeland.
Between them, they successfully challenged Lebanon’s anti-gay laws, built a strong sense of community among LGBTIQ Beirutis, educated the wider Lebanese community about the lives of LGBTIQ people, and also challenged homophobia and transphobia throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Because of their effectiveness, Helem and Proud Lebanon have been attacked by politicians, the police and Islamic fundamentalists.
But they refuse to back down.
Helem and Proud Lebanon supporting LGBTIQ+ victims
Now their resources are stretched to the limit providing health care, food and housing to those LGBTIQ people affected by the explosion.
We can’t let these organisation be defeated by this tragic event.
By donating we show that Australians care about LGBTIQ people in other countries.
We show that we value signs of hope in the Islamic world.
We send a signal of support for Australia’s queer Lebanese in their struggle against prejudice, both sexual and racial.
Most of all, we show that in a world where empathy and fellow-feeling are under siege, we care enough to reach out.
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