LGBT are oftentimes spoke of in the geopolitical and cultural context of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It remains one of the more taboo human rights issues in the region.
The Palestinian territories have no specific, stand alone civil rights legislation that protects LGBT people from discrimination or harassment. The Basic Law of the Palestinian Constitution does, however, guarantee freedom of belief and expression, freedom of bodily integrity, freedom from discrimination "because of race, sex, color, religion, political views, or disability" and protection of human rights, all of which have served the basis of campaigns for explicit LGBT rights in other countries.
Some LGBT Palestinians have fled, legally or illegally, mostly to Israel's urban centers, like Tel Aviv, seeking tolerance there. There are some reports of LGBT Arabs and Jews having relationships, thus breaking ethnic, religious and gender-based taboos. LGBT Jews and Arabs are among the least prejudiced people in the region, as seen by the cross-cultural relationships and the fact that gay bars are often a peaceful mixture of Arabs and Jews.
Male to male relationships: Not legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 10 years or more
Female to female relationships: Legal
Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals
Marriage and substitutes for marriage: No law
More on the Palestinian law at ilga.org
Information about the social climate for Palestinian LGBT people at ilga.org
- Aswat group: http://www.aswatgroup.org/
Aswat group is a lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and queer Palestinian women. In 2002 they established a home for Palestinian LBTQI women to allow safe, supportive and empowering spaces to express and address the personal, social and political struggles as a national indigenous minority living inside Israel; as women in a patriarchal society; and as LBTQI women in a wider hetro-normative culture.
- Al Qaws: www.alqaws.org
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society is a group of LGBT) Palestinian activists who work collaboratively to break down gendered and hetero-normative barriers. alQaws seeks to create an open space for all its members so that they may be engaged and energized in the struggle for equality and inclusion.
Today more than ever, a growing number of Palestinians claim their sexual orientation and gender identity and identify themselves as LGBTQ persons. Although it is growing fast, the LGBTQ Palestinian community is still in its early stages.
alQaws is founded on a set of core values that are entrenched in the activism and everyday community and movement building that it does. alQaws strives for the social change and liberation that result from directly challenging and breaking oppressive social structures. They therefore view the adoption of 'feminism' as a means to break existing power relations and challenge hegemony in society to be a must. Hence alqaws reaffirm rejection of all forms of oppression in its various manifestations, whether these be patriarchal, economic, nationalistic or ethnic, in order to ensure genuine inclusivity in the community and for other marginalized groups. alQaws sees itself as an integral part of the wider movements that aim to shape Palestinian society and seeks to engage and interact with these different social and political struggles moving forward.