‘LGBTQ rights have become a litmus test in Palestinian society’

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Joint List MK Aida Touma-Suleiman campaigns in Tel Aviv ahead of the Israeli elections, February 24, 2021. (photo: Oren Ziv)
The growing visibility of queer Palestinians poses a challenge to Arab political parties that are exploiting homophobia ahead of the Israeli election.

By Edo Konrad | +972 Magazine | Mar 17, 2021

“LGBTQ rights have become a kind of litmus test in Palestinian society,”
Fady Khoury, a queer Palestinian human rights attorney and a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School.

The Palestinian LGBTQ community isn’t used to being at the heart of their society’s most heated political debates. Yet in the months leading up to Israel’s fourth election in two years, queer Palestinians are now being pushed to center stage.

In an interview earlier this month that went viral on Arabic and Hebrew social media, Ahmad Tibi, one of the most prominent Palestinian members of Knesset, stated that he was against the promotion of what he called “the LGBTQ phenomenon.” His party Ta’al, he said, rejects any legislation that promotes LGBTQ rights, opposes pride marches, and believes LGBTQ individuals should not be allowed into classrooms to meet with schoolchildren as part of the curriculum.

The interview was one of the latest incidents illustrating the growing visibility of queer Palestinians in recent years — and the massive hurdles they still face in asserting their rights and their existence, including those imposed by their political leaders.

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