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Transgender woman in Lebanon (Photo courtesy of The Daily Star)
Landmark ruling rubbishes anti-gay law in Lebanon

in LEBANON, 09/03/2014

A judge presiding over a case prosecuting homosexuality has ruled that a notorious piece of legislation criminalizing gay sex is not valid, a decision that has been hailed as a major achievement by activists in Lebanon.

The latest edition of The Legal Agenda, a quarterly magazine published by the non-governmental organization of the same name, reported Tuesday that, in January, Judge Naji al-Dahdah cleared a transsexual woman of having a same-sex relationship with a man, an act criminalized under Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code.

“It’s a big step; it shows we’re moving in the right direction,” said Georges Azzi, a prominent activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights who is also the co-founder of Helem, a Lebanese group that has long been campaigning to change the law.

“The more we have decisions like this the more Article 534 becomes irrelevant,” Azzi told The Daily Star. “Any legal change takes a lot of time but at least this article might stop being used to persecute gay and transgender people in Lebanon.”

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