HELEM means “dream” in Arabic and is the acronym for Lebanese Protection for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders (LGBTs), which includes protection for persons with nonnormative sexualities and gender identity expressions. The organization presented its official registration documents as an LGBT rights group to the Lebanese government in 2004. But its inception dates to 1998, as increased Internet access in Lebanon led to the establishment of queer social groups, such as the Gay Lebanon forum and mailing list and the underground group Club Free. While the Internet offered space for connecting and debating, several regional events were central to HELEM’s formation. Most notable was the 2001 Queen Boat raid by the Central Security Forces in Cairo. Outrage at state oppression of nonnormative sexualities resonated regionally and locally (Makarem 2011). HELEM evolved into a registered group with the...

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