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Mira Dandan 17 May 2017

In Honour Of Beirut Pride Week We Spoke To Beirut’s Favourite Party Goer, Lary

This week marks Beirut Pride Week, whereby organisations and society in general come together to raise awareness for the LGBTQI community and LGBTQI rights in the country.

What better person to speak to for some perspective than Lary, Beirut’s life of the party and probably the coolest guy you’ll ever run into. Recently, we watched him on our screens talking to the BBC Pop Up about Lebanon’s LGBT community, where Benjamin tried very, very, hard to keep up with the fun.

We had a conversation with Lary that is nothing short of inspiring, which we can only hope is a nudge (or rather, a slap in the face) for society to wake up and move towards acceptance and tolerance for all. Here’s what he had to say.

What are the struggles you face everyday in Lebanon?
t’s mostly the weird looks regarding the way I dress, which is always followed by the question: was that a boy or a girl?

What steps do we need to take in order to make a change?
The first step for change is to educate society about the LGBTQI community. Education is the key to change, and the more you teach people around about the struggles of the LGBTQI, their history, and that we are born this way.

Where do you hope to see Lebanon in 10 years?
I’d like to see Lebanon as place of tolerance, where being gay is not something looked down upon and a safe place for the community.

Have you noticed any change in the past few years?
Honestly, yes. The LGBTQI is growing bigger because a lot of people aren’t afraid to hide anymore, and it’s mostly due to the fight that the previous generation of LGBTQI initiated and we’re starting to see its fruits now. Gay people aren’t afraid to go out and be out in clubs and such, and the people around stopped minding it. Not everyone, of course, the fight is still long and eventful, but I do believe we’re getting there. Even the way it’s covered in the media has seen a lot of positive changes, especially regarding semantics and the jargon used to describe the community.

What advice would you give young LGBT members, if you could go back in time and give them to yourself?
Just be out, don’t hide, find yourself a group, and stand up against bullies. No one can hurt you anymore if you know how to fight back. And never keep it to yourself; most suicide attempts happen because victims are afraid/ashamed to share their experience. Also, always put yourself in people’s shoes. No one is born a bully, some life events make you a bully; there’s always a way to fight this without anyone getting hurt. I found that my sense of humor was very helpful at standing up against bullies at a certain time.

What’s the best part about Lebanon’s nightlife?
Lebanon’s nightlife offers great music, with international standards, and you’ll find that when we’re high on music, we’re all equal; there’s no discrimination.

In honour of pride week, what fills you with the most pride?
Honestly, witnessing the first pride week in Beirut and being able to openly participate. I’ve attended pride week in New York and Paris, and the feeling was beyond amazing. I still get goosebumps whenever I think of it. So being here for the first edition of pride week in Beirut makes me super proud. These are interesting times we’re living in.

Lary is as inspiring as they come. Telling us what he hopes the future will hold, he ignites a sense of pride among us all.”I just hope that my story inspires people to stop hiding and be themselves. We’re one community and we’re all here for each other. Knowing that someone was inspired by my story or found solace in it, knowing that it changed someone’s life, is more than enough for me, because it means that I did good, and that is all I care about; doing good.”