Lebanon: In Beirut where it is illegal to be gay, gays have found use of an interactive map to show them when it is safe to hold hands while in a car for example without feeling threatened, reports policymic.com.
This map of Beirut succeeds in representing relationships among time, space, emotion, politics and the potential for violence using methods that are graphically innovative, highly legible, and potentially useful for a number of fields.
Read in lines, as in musical notation, the map depicts the movement of gay lovers through various neighborhoods in the semi-private space of their car, which constitutes an all-too-permeable shelter for their forbidden relationship, said the report in policymic.com.
The map tracks the formerly unconscious motions of the partners holding and unholding their hands and correlates it with the presence of passers-by, army checkpoints—or just their own gossip about a guy at the gym.
In this map by Omar Mismar, entitled A Hands Routine, the artist explores one such space in Beirut, a car.
The map explains how the space of a car provides an opportunity to rebel, however small: “Revolt does happen every once in a while […] we keep the hands together. It feels like resisting, like making a point,” reports policymic.com.
A Hands Routine is a loving map of miniature revolts and momentary concessions in the streets of Beirut and a stark reminder of some of the dangers facing homosexuals in parts of the world where laws make their love illegal.
Last year, Lebanon took a big step forward in official attitudes toward homosexuality when the Lebanese Psychiatric Society ruled that that homosexuality is not a mental illness. However, for gays in the country’s capital, times remain hard. Though homosexuality in Lebanon is no longer considered a mental disorder, it is still punishable under Article 534 of the country’s penal code.
In fact, the psychiatric society’s ruling came only a few months after a police raid on a popular gay meeting space in Beirut, where suspected homosexuals were faced with arrest and intimidation and subjected to invasive and humiliating “tests,” said to determine their sexuality.
For fear of police harassment and abuse, homosexuals are forced to seek out covert spaces where love and intimacy can be expressed with some semblance of safety.