Since its inception as the first LGBTQIA+ rights organization in Lebanon and the SWANA region, Helem has worked tirelessly to advocate for the removal of anti-LGBTQ articles from the Lebanese penal code, including Articles 534, 531, 532, 533, 521, and other articles designed to criminalize and control queer bodies. Our work on decriminalization revolves around advocating with state and non-state institutions, human rights violations documentation, and research on the cost and harm produced by maintaining these laws and other related government policies and procedures. Our work also centers around creating and expanding a network of fully trained lawyers and paralegals who are able to advocate with and on behalf of detained queer individuals using the model defense against Article 534 jointly developed by Helem and the Legal Agenda.
To Oppose Power
About Our Advocacy
Helem is a space where LGBTQIA+ people can work on building power to oppose power. The topics we concentrate on are derived from close connections with members of our own community and from clear and compelling data which is constantly harvested from our personal interactions as well as our service provision. Helem recognizes that working intersectionality with and across diverse groups and issues requires great responsibility, flexibility, and strategic depth. We therefore work not only on issues related to identity and civil/political rights, but also prioritize social and economic rights by leveraging law, development, and community mobilization as tools for equality and liberation. We do not only ask "How do we improve institutions?" but more so, "How do we improve lives?". Our success is measured by how much we integrate queer issues and priorities into the greater civil, social, and economic movements in our own contexts.