Government Of Lebanon Blocks Gay Dating App Grindr

The government of Lebanon has apparently ordered the gay dating app Grindr blocked for most users in the Arab country.

The government of Lebanon has apparently ordered the gay dating app Grindr blocked for most users in the Arab country.

The Independent reports the Arab nation’s state-owned internet service provider, Ogero, blocked access to the app on the orders of the public prosecutor’s office, and that all internet providers will soon follow suit.

No explanation has been given for the ban, but the court order responsible for the action specifically stated that the app “secures romantic sexual liaisons for homosexuals and bisexuals.”

A similar ban of the app occurred in January, but that was short-lived as access was restored. At the time, the government denied any involvement.

Tarek Zeidan, executive director of Helem, one of the oldest LGBTQ advocacy groups in the region, explains the absence of public spaces for gays to openly meet underscores the importance of the dating app for Lebanese LGBTQs.

“Digital forms of communication like Grindr break the isolation that members of the community feel as many still live with family,” he told The Independent.

“Grindr has also become an effective way to disseminate life-saving information on sexual health and safety – this move will set these efforts back significantly, especially when it comes to contacting difficult-to-reach populations such as individuals living in rural areas, closeted or discreet individuals, and refugees which constitute a sizeable portion of the community,” he added.

Even though Lebanon has been traditionally viewed as one of the more liberal countries in the Middle East in regard to LGBTQ rights, some activists believe this is just the beginning of a series of attacks on the community.

Georges Azzi, executive director of the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, told The Independent, “This is not an independent incident, this is part of a bigger campaign and strategy to limit the spaces of the LGBT community.”

“The groups behind this campaign operate in an atmosphere where the government and security apparatuses are encouraging attacks on freedom of expression,” added Azzi. “We are being controlled by medieval forces.”

Some activists are advising users to use VPN service to bypass the ban.

Recent news reports show a mixed bag when it comes to LGBTQ rights and status.

Last year, judges ruled Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code could not be applied to consensual sex between adults of the same sex. The early 20th century law had been used to persecute gays calling for punishment for “any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature.”

But last October, authorities raided an LGBTQ conference, and in May 2018 police arrested the organizer of Beirut Pride which resulted in the event being cancelled.

Lebanon joins Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the list of Middle East countries that ban Grindr.

Nevada Becomes 9th State To Ban So-Called “Conversion Therapy” For Minors

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval

Today, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law Senate Bill 201, legislation which bans the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”

Via the Human Rights Campaign:

“No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Sandoval and the Nevada State Legislature for passing these crucially important protections for the state’s LGBTQ youth.”

Nevada becomes the tenth jurisdiction — and the third state so far this year — to enact these crucially important protections. Connecticut, California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and the Assembly for their bipartisan support of Senate Bill 201,” said Nevada State Senator David Parks, who sponsored the bill. “Conversion therapy is a dangerous, discredited practice that has been shown to cause anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide among LGBTQ youth. By enacting this ban, Nevada will join eight other states and the District of Columbia in taking a strong stand to protect young people from psychological and physical abuse.”

“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” encompasses a range of practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices are based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured — a theory that has been rejected for decades by every major medical and mental health organization.

Nevada state Sen. David Parks