LGBTQI Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Laws, Discourses, and Challenges

Tolino, Serena (2020). LGBTQI Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Laws, Discourses, and Challenges. In: Salvatore, Armando; Hanafi, Sari; Obuse, Kieko (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East (pp. 1-23). Oxford: Oxford University Press 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190087470.013.28

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This chapter presents an overview of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersexual) rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, focusing in particular on three case studies: Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. After a general introduction on LGBTQI rights in the MENA region, the chapter addresses the issue of Islamic law and homosexuality. It then focuses on anti-homosexuality laws in these three countries, their history and their implementation, showing how each country has a different approach to homosexuality. The Lebanese Penal Code, for example, has an article criminalizing “any sexual act against nature,” while the Tunisian Penal Code has an article criminalizing liwat (sodomy) and sihaq (tribadism). The Egyptian Penal Code does not criminalize specifically homosexuality. However, a law against “male prostitution” is applied to punish gay men. Finally, the chapter looks at LGBTQI organizations in these three countries.

Item Type:

Book Section (Encyclopedia Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Tolino, Serena


200 Religion > 290 Other religions
200 Religion
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Oxford University Press




Serena Tolino

Date Deposited:

05 Mar 2021 15:38

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:46

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

homosexuality, penal law, MENA, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon




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