April 22, 2020
10:00 am - 11:00 am


Online only

Acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is low across the Middle East, and LGBTQ+ individuals face a number of unique challenges due to their identity. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a virtual panel which will seek to explore the ways in which these communities have organized in the Middle East in order to raise visibility and advocate for greater rights, and how these efforts are under attack across the region. Panelists will discuss the impacts that governments, laws, and society have on the lives of LGBTQ+ people, and the ways in which grassroots organizations and initiatives strive to support this community in the face of backlash and the challenges of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. 
What are the major challenges LGBTQ+ people face in the Middle East? In what ways have LGBTQ+ rights been integrated into broader social and political movements in countries like Lebanon and Iraq?  How has COVID-19 impacted important advocacy work, and how are activists and organizations adapting to continue to protect these communities? Is there any hope for future protection of LGBTQ+ people in the wake of regional and global crises?

This event is part of a series on human rights in the MENA region in the face of Covid-19.  

Speaker biographies:

Amir Ashour
Founder and executive director, IraQueer

Roula Seghaier
Executive Member, Masaha: Accessible Feminist Knowledge 

Rasha Younes
Researcher, LGBT rights program, Human Rights Watch

Antoun Issa, moderator
Non-resident scholar, MEI