In Libya, where a gay activist told Human Rights Watch that he only knew of two other people in his country that he would consider to be LGBT rights activists, along with about five other Libyans living abroad, building community is a priority—and the internet is regarded as the safest place to do it.
My picture was there. For instance, in Lebanon, until a few years ago, police from the Internal Security Forces ISF frequently subjected persons arrested on charges of same-sex conduct to torture and ill-treatment. But that shows the reports have impact.
We are deeply grateful to the 34 activists from throughout the Middle East and North Africa who agreed to be interviewed for this report and, in some cases, reviewed sections of the report and provided feedback and additional background information.
It also highlights creative approaches used in less repressive contexts to gain public support, identify government allies, and mainstream the rights of LGBT people in broader conversations about human rights and gender. Mistrust within communities, where there is fear that groups may be infiltrated, poses challenges to organizing.
The gender identity of people whose sex assigned at birth does not conform to their identified or lived gender. They are telling their stories, building alliances, networking across borders, developing national and regional movements, and finding creative ways to combat homophobia and transphobia.
In Algeria, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen , and part of Palestine Gaza  , laws explicitly prohibit same-sex acts, with language that is gender-neutral or explicitly includes both women and men. Kali, a magazine in Jordan that provides positive coverage of LGBT issues, described coming out in No one else came out in the media during this time—I was the only one.