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Where do gay rights come in the Arab protests?

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The revolutionary protests sweeping across the Arab world has left me wondering if this is one step closer to gay rights or if we have yet to reach that stage of tolerance, open mindedness and acceptance in our lifetime.

The protests are inspiring and each day millions are risking their lives to publicly demand freedom and their rights. It makes me proud to be an Arab and prouder to have witnessed and taken part in these historical moments.

A part of me can't help but wonder if those protests succeed, whether or not we will have any presentation in these movements and new societies or if it will be better or worse or.... ? What does all of this mean for gay rights?

Religion and certain traditions still play a major role amongst the protesters and once new governments are formed I believe the mindset behind gay rights will not change and we will still be denied the freedom to express our own demands for freedom and equality.

Curious to know what everyone else thinks. .

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  • I think we all have to start somewhere. This request for greater freedoms for everyone might grant us free speech, the freedom to protest or the freedom to do what everyone today is struggling to do, which is basically to go out there and demand their rights. This shows that as a people we are strong and are not willing to silently allow for the oppression and corruption to continue. I'm confident one day it will be a gay rights movement that is sweeping the Arab streets, but to get there we have to achieve this step first. Before that happens we need to have freer and transparent governments, where no human rights crime will go unpunished. In the meantime I feel represented in these protests in every way, and once we achieve other levels of freedom we can get to this part, we first need to help build an institution that is actually prepared to deal with this.

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    Anonymous
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    the 'Gay Rights movement is necessary examine the gay rights history and realise the historical changes they brought about to the community and society as a whole through lobbying for changes when you cherish all members of society you then have a just society devalue one group means you under value and make them less important Dangerous concept.

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    Anonymous
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    Civil rights come with small steps and two steps forward, one step back. The Arab Spring is a big leap forward for everyone, but full equal rights will still take a long journey. Keep your spirit up, my heart, love and support are with you.

    Daan de Leeuw, The Netherlands.

    • 17-24_m_b_h3_f1
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      I entirely agree with this opinion. It's usually a walk back and forth until we get somewhere reasonable. Patience is a must. You can't expect someone to accept full marriage equality if they think that it's only about the fucking.

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    • 17-24_m_b_h3_f1
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      Ahem, excuse the F word. :P

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    Personally I believe looking at LGBT Rights purely is too narrow an approach. I don't want to play the game of exclusive rights rather than that of politics of inclusion. In other words, I would like people to advocate human rights that embrace the protection of any individual, regardless of any sexuality. Otherwise we risk creating spheres and enclaves in society that are protected while others are exposed to violence and the absence of rights altogether. LGBT Rights should be recognised as sexual citizenship, the idea that you can enjoy all rights that your fellow citizens enjoy. Of course my argument isn't to dismiss LGBT Rights groups. What I'm saying is, I'd like a solidarity movement to grow to prevent the deviation of other human beings. Therefore, it's not a question of before and after. Instead sexual rights must be established simultaneously for everyone. I who identify as homosexual suffer similarly as someone who may be straight but lacks protection because he or she does not subscribe to any confession. But we suffer in different ways. And in order for my sexual right to be recognised I will fight for her or his right and expect him or her to fight for my rights in return. I'd like to live with people not against people.

    • 25-34_m_w_h4_f4
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      What approach would you recommend for local LGBT advocacy groups? Personally I believe fighting the censorship around this topic is the way to go. Gay rights doesn't have to be an exclusive subject to fight for, but it kills the cause when no one is allowed to bring it up without an immediate backlash of some kind.

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    • I think Samir82, there's an issue there which is beyond politics: In the European model of 'revolution', the political revolutions and demands for civil rights were preceded by the criticism of authority and religion, since what happened in Arab Spring is unprecedented (though not entirely born out of nothing if you look at the years of struggle, underground movements, political awareness, etc. in the different countries). I agree to what they said above about the step by step approach, but still, because most of the regimes were kind of semi-secular, the religious come-back that many are taking is not necessarily a good thing, so like some Egyptian friend told me, we might need yet a hundred revolutions more. At least to be able to bring the gay topic in public discourse is a way to begin, something tells me that's where advocacy should go for the time being. I for example deal professionally with a lot of very 'liberal' Arabs connected to different movements in Egypt, Bahrain, etc. and while mostly everything is open and possible to discuss, the gay thing remains taboo for most of them and they get particularly embarrassed when I approach the topic...

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  • 25-34_f_w_h1_f2
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    I dont think the arab world is ready yet. that being said comes due to all kinds of reasons, first being Arab alone is an issue, double that if you're a Muslim or probably any kinda strict religion, triple that if your parents are homophobes.. the list goes on and on..

    call me a pessimist, but i think we need a minimum of 50 years to actually take a step closer towards that kind of freedom. if ever.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h1_f4
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    They don't. Because there is just a minority of us who believe in them unfortunately. We always come last.

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  • 25-34_m_w_h4_f4
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    That has yet to be seen. People don't seem ready to be taking these discussions to mainstream audiences as it's still very much taboo, and some might claim, currently irrelevant even if we feel differently.

    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
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      Even though I think it's too general to say that people aren't ready to take these discussions to the conventional crowd, I do completely agree that it's irrelevant at the moment.

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