It’s difficult to separate information about Palestinian gays from the Israeli gay scene. Since Palestine is a very homophobic culture many Palestinian gays and lesbians are forced against their cultural and religious will to hide in Israel where homosexuality is much more acceptable and, indeed, protected. Three stories are presented here about gay living and loving in these two lands torn by tribal warfare.
Palestine is a tormented and divided ‘territory’, not a recognized country. The topic of LGBT rights in Palestine remains one of the more taboo issues in the region. Male homosexuality is illegal in Gaza, with laws dating to the British Criminal Code Ordinance of 1936, and it is reported to be legal in the West Bank but there are conflicting reports. Palestine has no civil right laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination or harassment. The Palestinian political organizations, both secular and fundamentalist, tend to avoid the issue of LGBT-rights. Recently, a handful of LGBT-organizations have arisen to aid LGBT Arabs and Palestinians, all of which are headquartered in Israel: Jerusalem Open House, Black Laundry, Aswat ("Voices") for women. Same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships are not remotely given legal recognition in Gaza or the West Bank. Gay Palestinians frequently seek refuge in Israel fearing for their lives, especially fearing death from members of their own families. Also see: Islam and Homosexuality