Members of Lebanon's LGBTQ community attend a picnic the coastal city of Batroun, north of Beirut, on May 21, 2017, as part of the Beirut Pride week aimed at raising awarness about the rights of the community. / AFP / IBRAHIM CHALHOUB
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A week of LGBT-focused festivities and activism was well-received by both the community as well as local and international media, but was also marred by the latest backlash from religious groups that pushed for government institutions to force the cancellation of multiple events. Friday saw the relocation of a conference on the major issues facing Lebanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people organized by Helem – the Arab world's first NGO dedicated to LGBT issues – and including the Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality (AFE), sexual health clinic Marsa, MOSAIC, Legal Aid and others, set to be held the following day at Metro al-Madina in Hamra. Much of the outcry against the cancellations of these events focused on the government not protecting the rights of citizens, with representatives from LGBT and human rights organizations telling The Daily Star after the Proud Lebanon event's cancellation that they were concerned that it represented a "threat to freedom of assembly and opinion".
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