Close readers of this blog will recall past coverage of the Lebanese gay rights organization Helem ("dream") and its new flagship Arabic-language journal Barra ("out"). Now Elaph has picked up the story in reference to a three days of events in Beirut marking IDAHO: the International Day Against Homophobia.
The image at right depicts a flyer advertising the events. It's quite a breakthrough, as Helem is moving discussion beyond its website into public forums. A major taboo issue - both legally and socially - in most Middle Eastern societies is getting addressed in the open.
On Friday, journalist Brian Whitaker will continue the discussion with a presentation to the Lebanese Psychological Association. Whitaker is the author of the newly-published book 'Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East'.
The larger discussion about homophobia clearly hits a nerve (just check out the reader debate on the Elaph article), and it's not clear if the gay rights movement will gain much traction in the region outside of certain neighborhoods in Beirut. But the mere fact that IDAHO is being publicly marked in Lebanon is noteworthy.