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36 Men Arrested in Gay Porn Cinema in Lebanon

36 Men Arrested in Gay Porn Cinema in Lebanon

36 men in a Lebanese gay porn cinema, Plaza Cinema, were arrested on Saturday. A report released on Gay Star News states that the men were then forced to pay for and submit to an anal probe examination to ascertain whether or not the detainees were gay in order to be charged with homosexuality.

The Beirut theater is renowned as a space for gay men to meet in a country where LGBT relationships are flat out illegal. It offered one area of relative discretion where many gay men tried to meet up. Unfortunately, the space was raided on Saturday by a police unit that often searches for prostitution and drug deals.

The arrested men were taken into custody and forced to pay for an anal examination, used in order to ascertain whether the men were gay or not. As Gay Star News summarizes, the examination is basically a form of pseudo-science that also serves as torture:

The police officers of Makhfar Hbeish [a police station] called in a doctor to perform an ‘anal exam’ to ‘determine’ which of the men engaged in anal sex providing ‘proof’ of who is gay.

During this highly criticised and discredited test a doctor asks a man to undress, and then lean over or crouch, submitting to a medical examination of their anus.

The doctor checks for traces of sperm, and takes a picture to ‘study’ the shape of the hole (the larger the width the more ‘likely’ the person is gay, according to this discredited theory). Human Rights Watch previously denounced such anal exams as akin to ‘acts of torture’.

Critics of the anal probe and the treatment of the LGBT community in Lebanon have roundly condemned the episode over the weekend. 33 of the 36 men were released on bail but could still face serious court charges for their presence in the cinema. The three remaining men have stayed in custody on charges of homosexuality. One of the detained men owns the theater and could be charged with showing “immoral” material.

Leaders of the LGBT rights group, Helem, have started to work on how best to defend the men in custody and work towards repealing article 534, which makes homosexual acts illegal currently. The detainees were almost all from working class backgrounds, which means they have less access to legal resources and monetary support. Charbel Maayda points out that conservative political factions often pick out the marginalized groups who are then at the mercy of police. The arrested men now face the consequences of being publicly and involuntarily outed to their families and communities.

Lebanese TV personality Joe Maalouf was an instigator of the cinema raid, after publicly charging that such spaces were breeding grounds for “prostitution” and “perverts.” He encouraged law enforcement to weed out cinemas and spaces that allowed for LGBT relationships in Lebanon.

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Photo Credit: Bertil Videt

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42 comments

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3:37AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Whether or not this was a wise choice in this part of the world, the punishment is far more vile than watching porn. And it is curious that part of the punishment involves a non-consensual probing in the very orifice which the authorities deem too unsavory for sex...hmmm...

3:23AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Why are people so damn ignorant about gay men and women? We don't care what heterosexuals do in private. Why are they so obsessed with others?

3:20AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Why are people so damn ignorant about gay men and women?

8:09AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

what is wrong with us?

2:19AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

oh...

7:32PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Thanks for the article.

7:34AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

People, everywhere, need to be less sensitive about sex.

Being "sensitive" means being intolerant?..

So, by the guide of the Lebanese Authorities, I just became Gay?, right?, I mean I have had prostate exams, on a fairly regular basis, my Doctor's have been both male and female, but , according to Lebanese Authorities...
I must now consider myself Gay?.. OK I have friends that are Gay, guess I'll have to let them know I've left being straight, according to the wise Lebanese anyway...LOL....

12:52AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

omg how horrible....how they will be ok...they have to pay for anal exam,then have a picture taken of it like who does that.....

12:52AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

omg how horrible....how they will be ok...they have to pay for anal exam,then have a picture taken of it like who does that.....

7:34AM PDT on Aug 5, 2012

Elämme vuotta 2012, olisi jo aika ihmisten alkaa ymmärtää ettei homo tai lesbo ,transu, tai mikä hyvänsä voi sille mitään minkälaiseksi on syntynyt.
Miksi ihmiset ovat niin PERKELEEN tiukkapipoisia, on eri asia jos he tai joku muu teitä ahdistelevat ! Neuvon juoksemaan karkuun !!!

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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