About the organization
Helem, is the first LGBTQIA+ rights organization in the Arab world, officially established in Beirut, Lebanon in 2001. Its mission is to lead the struggle for the liberation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Intersex, Transgendered, Queer (LGBTQIA+) and other people with non-conforming sexualities and/or gender identities in Lebanon and the SWANA region from all sorts of violations of their individual and collective civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Our goal is to empower young LGBTQIA+ leaders to advocate for their own liberation. We seek to create initiatives and spaces where our communities can leverage unity through diversity and build power. We protect and support individuals with the resources to resist the harm caused by homophobia and transphobia. We empower our youth through education and community building, and we mobilize to change the laws, policies, and practices that deny us equality and reduce our quality of life.
Helem runs various programs and advocacy campaigns and provides a wide range of services to members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Lebanon, including emergency response, case management, legal assistance, social support, family support, and mental health support. It also runs one of the largest non-commercial queer spaces in the MENA region through its community center and prioritizes decriminalization, labor rights, housing, hate speech, and economic empowerment as advocacy priorities.
What the FAQ ?
While Helem does not work on providing or facilitating asylum for individuals, we are happy to provide information on the available pathways for resettlement, to be able to obtain this information kindly contact our services and protection department through email or the hotline, the operators will receive your request and refer it to our protection officers.
Yes. Helem works with LGBTQIA+ individuals of all nationalities who are living in Lebanon If you are facing a protection risk, an emergency, or need a specific service that Helem provides, get in touch with our services and protection department through email or the hotline.
Our services outside Lebanon are limited, however, if you are facing a protection risk or need a life-saving service, kindly send us an email at email@example.com, our protection officers might be able to direct you to resources or safe spaces and services within your current country of residence. Helem cannot assist in relocating anyone to Lebanon.
For any emergency case, kindly contact the hotline. This is the only number where we process emergencies and all other numbers for Helem are for non-urgent matters. Our hotline is available 24/7 for emergencies only.
-The right to get a phone call; we encourage you to use that call to contact our hotline so we can provide legal assistance. -The right to have a lawyer; you have the right to refuse to start the investigation until your lawyer arrives, if you do not have a lawyer and/or cannot afford one, kindly call our hotline so we can provide you a lawyer. -The right to start the investigation within an hour; a well-known technique that security forces use is that they leave individuals without investigation for days to increase their chances of getting a confession. Make sure to ask for your right to start the investigation process as soon as your lawyer arrives. -The right to refuse any blood or urine tests; blood and urine tests are only necessary when you are arrested on a drug use violation, if that was not your case, you have the right to refuse the tests. -The right to refuse anal testing; while security forces might inform you that the test is obligatory, this is not the truth, you have the full right to completely refuse the test, Helem encourages you not to take it as it is shameful, dangerous and inhumane. -The right not to open your phone; you have the right not to open your phone unless you were provided with a warrant signed and stamped by the investigative judge, if you were provided with a warrant, we encourage you to make sure if it is signed and stamped, in case it was not, you maintain your right to refuse to open your phone. You have many other rights that are important for you to know. If you are currently facing a high risk of detention, kindly call our hotline to schedule an urgent one-on-one “Know your rights” training that will be provided to you by a protection officer. If it was not urgent, and you would like to attend the training to prevent the risk of detention and to know more about what your rights are and what you can do in detention, kindly contact our community safeline or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can put your name on the next Bootcamp “Know your rights” training. Our hotline number is: 71916146. Our community safeline is: 70707757.
If you need any support that is not an emergency or related to an arrest or detention case, you can call our hotline anytime Monday to Friday between 9 AM and 5 PM for inquiries and appointments. Please know that Helem cannot offer any services over the phone except under special circumstances and that all individuals seeking services must meet protection officers in person. If you are already under our case management program and you are facing a medium to a low-risk case you may contact the protection officer who is working with you directly. Please be aware that due to the high volume of calls and the need to prioritize higher-risk cases protection officers are not always able to answer immediately, if your case becomes urgent and requires immediate attention, kindly call the hotline.
Definitely, if you are aware of someone who is detained based on their SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sexual characteristics), call our hotline and provide them with the necessary information.
If you experienced any form of violation discriminating against your SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sexual characteristics) at work, we encourage you to call our hotline to set up a phone or in-person appointment to document your case and receive legal counseling, or legal intervention if required.
For protection reasons, we are unable to receive requests for services on behalf of individuals, we advise you to encourage the person you know to contact us through email or our hotline. All calls and inquiries made to Helem are treated with the strictest confidentiality and all individuals are treated with the highest levels of respect and professionalism.
Our services and protection programming are diverse and extensive. To know more about our services, please click here, https://www.helem.net/support
No, currently Helem does not provide STI testing or other physical health-related services, however, our hotline or protection officers can refer you to trusted LGBTQIA+ inclusive sexual health clinics.
If you currently have any questions concerning your SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sexual characteristics), we encourage you to call our hotline and request receiving SOGIESC counseling. Individuals who are questioning their sexuality have the right to safely access specialized services that are free of any stigma or discrimination. Once you contact us your request will be forwarded to our SOGIESC counselor who will contact you to set up an appointment.
Yes. Helem has a mental health support program that is geared towards providing professional, specialized, free services for LGBTQIA+ individuals facing difficulties. This includes therapy and counseling and higher risk cases are prioritized. To request receiving mental health services, you can contact us through our hotline or by email at email@example.com and proceed to fill out an assessment that determines your eligibility. If you do not wish to receive your therapy in our offices, you can contact us and ask for LGBTQIA+ inclusive external mental health providers, our hotline officers will make sure to provide the referral. Call our Hotline.
If you have an idea or a project to pitch, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org We will make sure it reaches the right person or department for follow-up.
To get notified about Helem’s events and activities, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We post our monthly calendar on the website too. If you register to become a Helem volunteer, we will add you to our broadcast list so that you don’t miss anything!
Helem’s community center is not only a safe space for queer people, it is also an activist space. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies can convene to bond, heal, grow, learn, solve collective problems, and build power. It is a place for engaged and passionate people who want to be active and contribute while also having fun. All Helem members are activists in their own right and according to their own resources and abilities. We ask all those who come here to respect this positive and constructive spirit.
Helem’s community center is located in the heart of the historic Mar Mikhael in Beirut. Our safe space is open from Monday to Friday from 11 AM till 5 PM except during public holidays. Everyone is welcome anytime you want within that time frame. The center might be closed or reserved for private events or functions, a schedule of those will be posted online. Helem follows strict COVID safety protocols including temperature testing, masks, and social distancing.
Helem is a safe space where members of our community can rest, reflect, regroup, and re-engage. Our center is open for individuals to exist in an environment free of stigma, discrimination, and judgment - and is also a space where we engage in dialogue through discussion and active listening. We have zero tolerance for any misogynist, transphobic, homophobic, racist, classist, or any other harmful behavior or language. Any person engaging in harmful behavior will be asked to leave immediately, might be banned entirely from the center, and could have their Helem membership revoked. Our community center welcomes all LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies regardless of their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, educational level, choice of profession, religion, sect, age, disability, health, or status.
Helem members and volunteers can join any club of their choice and/or any committee with which they identify that is currently active in the center. If there is a club or committee that does not exist at Helem yet but that you deem is important to create and would like to help us make it happen: pitch your idea to us by sending an email to email@example.com or text/call at +96170707757.
Yes. Helem is a place where people work for LGBTQ liberation and rights, not just a place for LGBTQ-identifying individuals. Everyone who considers themselves as an ally to the LGBTQI+ community is welcome at Helem as we believe all individuals have a role to play in advancing gender equality and achieving LGBTQI+ rights.
Yes. LGBTQ liberation does not recognize borders and knows no boundaries. If you live abroad but want to help us achieve our mission please follow the same registration process and our meeting with you will be online instead of in-person. There are many ways for you to contribute and be part of the important work we are doing.
After registering as a member, you can choose to become a volunteer at Helem by filling out this form available on our website (https://www.helem.net/community), sending us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling us on our community center line at +96170707757. Your request will be processed shortly after and you’ll be given an appointment to meet us in person and/or online to officially sign up.
Yes. Any individual who identifies as a member of the LGBTQI+ community or as an ally can become a Helem member. All prospective members at Helem are required to sign and uphold our community code of conduct and undergo a series of free mandatory workshops upon registration. To become a member kindly fill out the form found on this page here (https://www.helem.net/community) or email the community center at email@example.com.
Yes. Helem staff members are available for interviews according to their expertise and availability. Priority is given to researchers from the SWANA region and journalists publishing content in Arabic. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes. Helem can showcase your work at the discrepancy of its communications and administrative staff provided it coincides with our mission and values and pending any technical considerations as well as, relevance, schedule, and availability.
No. Helem cannot under any circumstances connect or broker interviews or surveys with members or applicants in the community due to strict privacy policies. Helem allows or facilitates interviews and surveys with community members only through pre-determined official partnerships and joint-programming, as well as special initiatives following strict vetting and oversight with prior formal agreements and safeguards.