The Arab Muslim world seems to have a fascination with inspecting human orifices. Egypt conducts virginity tests, although they recently banned it for female detainees in military detention centers only. And in Iraq, court ordered virginity tests are becoming commonplace. Now in Lebanon, a country that one would consider a tad more enlightened than, say, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, people are protesting the practice of forced anal "tests" on men officials believe might be homosexuals. Apparently, they haul men off to jail to determine if they are gay or not, which is what happened to 36 men after a raid at a "gay venue" on July 28. This, in turn, led to the demonstrations in Beirut.
Lebanon-based HELEM, considered the Arab world's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group, called for the rally under the slogan: “Stand up against the tests of shame, vaginal or anal.”
It also voiced solidarity with women subjected to so-called “virginity tests.”
“We’re here because we want a clear statement from the ministry of justice that these kind of tests should be completely abolished and punished by the law,” said participant George Azzi.
“The syndicate of doctors has declared these tests are irrelevant scientifically and it’s illegal for doctors to do these tests, but that doesn't mean police can't still request it,” he said.
Not only are the men being subjected to the involuntary testing, allegedly they are also being forced to pay for it- if one of the signs at the demonstration can be trusted:
“The cost of forensic rape: 125,000 Lebanese lira”
That's around $85.00 for having their rights violated. And then, if they are proved to be gay, they can be sentenced for up to a year in jail. I guess they can thank Allah they don't live in Iran where they would be hanged for that "offense".
There was a cross section of people at the protest- from gays and lesbians to heterosexuals who were there in solidarity- holding signs and banners, including:
“United to abolish the tests of shame”, and “Honorable minister, before you test my anus, at least take me out to dinner.”