"When it comes to Lebanon's LGBTQ community, its increased organizing and activism towards a more inclusive, non-discriminatory health care system seldom makes headlines."
My first story for Tonic/Vice talks about discriminatory practices in Lebanon's health care institutions towards the LGBTIQ+ community.
I had the chance to talk doctors and others working with LebMash and Marsa Sexual Health Center, both only a couple of organizations that work towards an inclusive healthcare system.
I also was very fortunate to speak to a wide array of folks from the LGBTIQ+ community who shared their experiences with me on heteronormativity (the default assumption that someone is straight and cisgender) and other forms of discriminatory practices.
I'd like to thank everyone who spoke to me, anonymously or not, as well as those who looked through my work and gave me valuable advice. You all know who you are.
It was rather unfortunate that I could not include the entire conversations I had with everyone, that goes beyond this particular issue and into LGBTQI+ activism in Lebanon in general.
Their activism is not a recent phenomenon, and have struggled for years against abusive practices from all sorts of institutions, including the police.
Activists have regularly protested and held sit-ins, including at police stations where these things usually happen.
And something I was often told during the interview process was that this particular issue of LGBTQ+ rights, including access and respect in health care, is part of Lebanon's bigger issue of authoritarianism, corruption, and discrimination especially towards other marginalized communities; this it political and intersectional.
In short, their activism is not recent, and it's not limited to talks and awareness campaigns either.
And though my opinion on this matter isn't (or shouldn't) be of any importance, I really do think it's time that Lebanon's civil society in all its forms show more formidable solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community and their struggle rights and dignity.