Thursday, June 19, 2003

Jbeil beach a magnet for homosexuals

From Lebanon's Daily Star

Some public beaches here are gaining a reputation as “the destination of choice for gays.” Some may be just curious, but for others, the chance to gather at these beaches is a way to socialize and meet people.
“You can see them holding each other’s hands,” an employee in one of the prominent resorts in Jbeil told The Daily Star on Wednesday. Jbeil, a city known for its clean beaches, witnessed the opening of many new beach resorts in the last decade. But one small beach is gaining a reputation for being a popular destination for gays.
He said few women came to the beach, and the ones who did were usually foreigners, who took advantage of the situation to sunbathe topless.
An employee at a private beach nearby told The Daily Star that homosexuals usually visit during the weekends.
“Few visit the place during weekdays, but if you come here on Sundays, you will be surprised by the high number of gays,” he said.
The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he was not bothered by the gays’ presence, as they are human beings whose rights must be respected.
“There is nothing you can do to stop them,” he said.
A women who owns a snack bar at the beach told The Daily Star that it was not the only place were gays gathered.
“Go to Halat, Jounieh, Ain al-Mreisseh and many other beaches, and you can see the number of gays who visit these beaches,” she said.
She added that the gays were very polite and never acted in an unethical manner. “I bring my children with me, and I have never witnessed a disturbing scene,” she said.
The law bans sodomy, and homosexuals are arrested if they are caught in a sexual act.
Lawyer Nizar Saghieh, president of the Private Freedoms Association, told The Daily Star that although Article 534 stipulates that homosexuals caught having sex will be prosecuted and may be sentenced to one year in prison, these laws are not applied. He said that the government avoids applying the law, because if all homosexuals were arrested, than this will create a “public debate” about the high number of gays and lesbians in this country.
Saghieh said that “homosexuality is made public whenever it is combined with a crime, as if to show that all homosexuals are criminals.”
He added that a conference was held lately by the association to prove that “homosexuality is not an unnatural copulation, but a natural choice.”


Post a Comment

<< Home