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Lebanon Blocked Grindr on State-Owned Internet Service Provider

Grindr blocked in Lebanon.

“This is part of a bigger campaign and strategy to limit the spaces of the [LGBTQ+] community.”

The Lebanese government has blocked access to Grindr as the climate for LGBTQ+ people in the country grows increasingly hostile.

Many Lebanese Grindr users found themselves unable to access the geosocial LGBTQ+ app over the weekend on orders of the public prosecutor's office, The Independentreports. The move only affects users of Lebanon's state-owned internet service provider for the time being, but Grindr, which lets users message and meet up with other people in their area, will apparently be blocked by all internet service providers before long.

The exact reason for the impending blanket ban remains unclear, but a memo from the Internal Security Forces Anti-Crime Bureau obtained by The Daily Star says that Grindr "secures romantic and sexual liaisons for homosexuals and bisexuals."

"This is not an independent incident, this is part of a bigger campaign and strategy to limit the spaces of the [LGBTQ+] community," Georges Azzi, the Executive Director of the Arab Foundation For Freedoms and Equality, told The Independent. "The groups behind this campaign operate in an atmosphere where the government and security apparatuses are encouraging attacks on freedom of expression. We are being controlled by medieval forces."

Though LGBTQ+ progress has been promising in Lebanon -- a colonial-era anti-sodomy code was overturned just last year -- Human Rights Watch filed a complaint with the United Nations earlier this year claiming that the country's security forces "repeatedly interfered with human rights events related to gender and sexuality."

"The decision to ban Grindr in Lebanon is a deeply regressive step and a blow for the human rights of the local [LGBTQ+] community," said Amnesty International's Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf in a statement. "As well as being a flagrant assault on the right to freedom of expression, this move will serve to entrench and legitimize homophobic views within the country."

"No one should face discrimination or punishment for their sexual orientation," Maalouf continued. "Instead of blocking apps used by the gay community, the Lebanese authorities should immediately revoke this ban and focus their efforts on ending their crackdown against [LGBTQ+] people."

RELATED | U.S. Government Forces Grindr to Find New Buyer Citing National Security Risk

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