In May 2017, Beirut became the first Arab capital in the Middle East and North Africa region to host Pride week. There had been other anti-homophobia protests in previous years, but this was an important step for the LGBTQ+ community − the initials stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning with the + denoting other gender identities and sexual orientations.
The gathering was Beirut’s first organized agenda of pro-LGBTQ+ activities with a series of events over a week, including an exhibition on gender fluidity in fashion, film screenings and talks on legal rights in Lebanon.
Some venues received threats from religious groups and some events faced local opposition. Yet the fact that it was allowed to take place demonstrates the progress being made locally by the LGBTQ+ community, albeit largely confined to the capital.