It’s a dark night in Beirut, the San Francisco of the Middle East. This darkness is powerful. It represents Beirut’s past, its present, and its bleak future. But tonight, it also represents the state of gay people in this Middle Eastern city by the sea.
Hassan, whose name I have changed to protect his privacy even though there are thousands of Ahmeds in Lebanon, is sipping on a gin and tonic, and in doing so, powerfully defies his religion. For him, having grown up in a Muslim household, religion has turned its back on him, because you see, Hassan is gay. A gay Muslim. In Beirut. Shocking.
Hassan tells me how hard it is to come out in Beirut. This story is very specific to the Arab world, because everywhere else on this planet, it’s so easy to come out. We are sitting in Bardo, a gay bar in Hamra…
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