(Beirut, April 16, 2018) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists from Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa are defying state-sponsored repression and social stigma, Human Rights Watch and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) said in a video series issued today, accompanied by a new report by Human Rights Watch.
In the 75-page report, “Audacity in Adversity: LGBT Activism in the Middle East and North Africa” and video series, “No Longer Alone,” activists tell their stories and describe how they are building their movements. To confront myths and counteract the isolation of many LGBT people in the region, Human Rights Watch and AFE teamed up to produce the videos featuring Arabic-speaking LGBT activists describing their journeys of self-acceptance. Through the video series, they offer messages of support and encouragement to LGBT people throughout the Arabic-speaking world.
“We don’t want the image anymore of just being victims,” says Zoheir, a gay activist from Algeria. “We want to speak about reality, speak about violence, but also to [show what is] positive.”
The report is based on interviews with 34 activists from 16 Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa, interviewed between July 2017 and March 2018. Eighteen activists and artists from ten countries participated in the video series.