Update to Response to Information Request LBN24937.E of 23 September 1996 on whether homosexuality is still illegal and on the social situation of homosexuals [LBN29771.E]

Sources such as the Website Gay State of the World 1997, the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Euro-Letter (Dec. 1996) and Amnesty International Breaking the Silence: Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation (1997, 88) state that homosexuality is illegal in Lebanon. It may be of interest to know that these three publications have not reported any additional news on the situation of homosexuals in Lebanon since 1996. In fact, documentary material on homosexuals in Lebanon is scarce at best.

Reports on the social situation of homosexuals in Lebanon since LBN24937.E of 23 September 1996 could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The following information was provided during a 24 July 1998 telephone interview with a Lebanese sociologist who is a researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lebanon.

The sociologist indicated that homosexuals in Lebanon are not actively sought by the security forces unless they conduct their activities publicly. Homosexuality is considered a "private and family matter" and the security forces are reluctant to get involve in a "family matter". There have been no reported cases of homosexuals arrested, imprisoned or put on trial for their sexual orientation since 1990 in Lebanon. In practice, homosexuality is generally not prosecuted in Lebanon. There are places where homosexuals can meet such as a club called "Le B018" located in East Beirut. The club, which also has heterosexual customers, is well-known to the Lebanese security forces but there have been no arrests of homosexuals in this establishment since 1990.

According to information available on its Website, Euro-Letter is published on behalf of ILGA by the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians (LBL) in cooperation with Gay and Lesbian International Lobby.

Two sources at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) in San Franscisco could not provide information on the social situation of homosexuals in Lebanon or whether people were being prosecuted on the basis of their homosexuality (24 July 1998).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Amnesty International (AI). 1997. Breaking the Silence: Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation. New York: Amnesty International Publications.

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), San Franscisco. 24 July 1998. Telephone interview with two sources.

International Lesbian and Gay Association. December 1996. Euro-Letter. No. 46. [Internet] http://www.casti.com/FQRD/assocs/ilga/euroletter/46.html [Accessed on 24 July 1998]

Gay State of the World 1997. [Internet] http://www.outandabout.com/gaystate97.html [Accessed on 24 July 1998]

Sociologist, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lebanon, Beirut. 24 July 1998. Telephone interview.

Additional Sources Consulted

Arabies [Paris]. January 1989 - 1998. Monthly.

Arab Law Quarterly [London]. 1993 - 1998. Quarterly.

Arab Studies Quarterly [Lake Forest, Ill.]. 1995 - 1998. Quarterly.

Dialogue [London]. October 1993 - 1998. Monthly.

ILGA Newsletter. 1997-1998.

Resource Centre Country Files: Lebanon

Jane's Intelligence Review. Monthly. 1997-1998.

The Middle East [London]. November 1995 - 1998. Monthly.

Middle East International [London]. January 1995 - 1998. Bi-weekly.

Middle East Report [Washington]. September 1995 - 1997. Bi-monthly.

Monde Arabe Maghreb-Machrek [Paris]. January 1995 - 1998. Quarterly.

News From Middle East Watch [New York]. 1996 - 1998.

Pointer. a newsletter published by the Jane's Group, London.

Electronic sources: IRB database, Global Newsbank, LEXIS/NEXIS, Internet, REFWORLD, WNC.