Posted by: G-AZZI | March 5, 2011

The Revolution Has Already Started

When we say “revolution,” people immediately imagine huge protests, burning tires, destroying property, and all in all a myriad of violent actions throughout the duration of said revolution.

Following the Kayan incident, a few people called for direct physical action against the bar; one person also said that a revolution can only take place in the streets.

While it is true that in certain contexts, like in Egypt and Tunisia, massive public protests may be the only choice to overturn the dictatorships since all other means of self-expression were suppressed, in Lebanon it is seems absurd to me to attempt to change the society using the same forms of violence that we have had to endure for years.

Huge violent protests, destruction, fires, barricading roads… In Lebanon, we have used and overused all of these methods throughout the years, and continuing to use them will only keep us trapped inside the same vicious circle.

By using violence, we will not only give more power to our opponents, but we will also give homophobic media and excuse to attack us by magnifying any small incident and turning it against us. Plus, for violent action to have a revolutionary impact it has to gather a huge number of people, otherwise the participants are only giving the authorities a legitimate reason to arrest whoever they want.

Rage and anger are extremely important: they are the fuel for any movement and can play a crucial role if used productively and pointed in the right direction. In my opinion, the LGBT revolution has already started in different forms and we can already feel its impact on several different levels:

Public expression:

Never before has the LGBT community been as vocal and visible as it is now. The number of NGOs who are directly or indirectly supporting LGBT rights is growing. Blogs, Facebook pages, informal collectives, journalists, university groups, and many others… have increased exponentially in the last couple of years.

Changing our surroundings:

Almost every LGBT person in Lebanon has been part of this revolution: think about the number of people each one of us has somehow reached out to, affected in one way or another, or participated with in a discussion that resulted in an important and positive change of mind. Four days ago, at an organizing meeting for the protest against sectarianism, one person tried to oppose the participation of Helem in the meeting, which caused an immediate reaction against him from the rest of the civil society participants. This change in the mentality is not the work of one NGO or an exclusive group of people; it is the work of every single person who made an effort to change his/her surroundings by creating small waves that will eventually cause massive ripples of change within the entire society.

If we follow the news on the “LGBT Media Monitor” Facebook page, we can see how the media is becoming more and more careful when talking about homosexuality. The same applies to public figures (actors, singers, etc…).

For those changes to come across and make the effects they have today, we did not need to threaten anyone, we did not need to use violence, all we had to do was to continue being ourselves, to talk about different matters, and to demystify the LGBT community. If I were to compare universities, NGOs, government institutions, and the police ten years ago to what they are now, I cannot but say that a real revolution has indeed happened.


Protesting is an important tool and civil right that should be used when needed. LGBT groups have participated in many public demonstrations as integral citizens of society. Public protests should be targeted ad peaceful, and we should join forces with other movements who support private freedoms. Laique pride is in one month it is the perfect occasion for the LGBT community to be visible within a bigger movement calling for more private freedoms.


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