Anti-LGBTQ backlash grows across Middle East, echoing U.S. culture wars

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from The Washington Post,

When Turkish activists announced they would hold their annual Pride parade in Istanbul’s main square last month, authorities put the city on lockdown. Subways and highways were closed. The square was cordoned off by police.
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It had all been a ruse. With police distracted, LGBTQ people agreed to meet up in other parts of the city. It was still a celebration, if a more subdued one.

“The community is basically playing whack-a-mole at this point,” said Talya Aydin, a trans woman who ran in Turkey’s parliamentary elections this year. “And the community will win every time.”

Across the Middle East, LGBTQ communities face a growing crackdown, echoing efforts by prominent American conservatives to restrict the rights of gay and transgender people and erase their influence from society.

In the Jordanian capital of Amman, a movie screening with a gay male lead was canceled recently on orders from the governor. In Lebanon, a beer commercial that appeared to include a gender nonconforming person was met with widespread derision online, similar to the backlash faced by Bud Light in the United States after it partnered with a transgender TikTok star. “Just like BudLight…go woke, go broke!” read one comment on Twitter, now known as X.

Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have always stood out in the region on LGBTQ issues. All have queer scenes, all have hosted Pride parades or similar events. But in all three places, the community exists in a legal gray area — neither criminalized nor protected by the law.

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