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Trans-Lebanese women subjected to beatings, rape and arbitrary detention

5-9-2019

In collaboration with Helem and MOSAIC associations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) launched on Tuesday a video and report entitled, ‘Don’t punish me for who I am: systemic discrimination against transgender women in Lebanon’ (https://bit.ly/2lUU67W). The report documents abuses suffered by transgender women, including access to basic services like, employment, healthcare and housing, in addition to the violent treatment by security forces and ordinary citizens. The report contained interviews with 50 trans women, including 24 Lebanese, 25 refugees and asylum seekers from Arab countries and one stateless women, as well as human rights activists, lawyers, academics and representatives of concerned international agencies. According to the above report, discrimination against trans women begins at home. Some 38 respondents said they have been subjected to violence from a male relative, including being locked in a room or denied food and water, in addition to battering and sexual and physical assault. Transgender women, the report indicated, are more likely to be arbitrarily detained and placed in men’s cells and made to give coerced confessions. They are mostly denied access to a lawyer. Among the main recommendations released by the report, was an appeal to the Lebanese Legislature to enact laws that ban discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation; allow trans people to change their names and gender markers and abolish Article 534 of the Penal Code which criminalizes any sexual intercourse against nature. On the other hand, and coinciding with the World Sexual Health Day which falls on September 4 of each year, the AUBMC Women’s Health Center launched yesterday the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) program aimed to reduce sexual illiteracy. This is achieved by promoting curricula of sexual health through educational and psychological guidance and medical treatments for sexual problems. The head of the program, Dr. Faisal Qaq, said the program is designed for women who suffer sexual disorders as a result of sexual abuse incidents and early marriage, noting that the program secures a safe space to help a person determine his sexual orientation away from the prevailing stereotypes. (Al –Akhbar 5 September 2019)

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