alQaws: for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society and 7amleh: Arab Center for Social Media Advancement” are proud to release the first video of its new social media campaign “Difference never Justifies Violence – stand up against violence toward LGBTQs!” alQaws and 7amleh’s campaign to root out violence against LGBTQs in Palestinian society comprises three videos, as well as a series of posters and educational material, which all appear on a brightly colored mini-website.

Palestinian society has withstood many efforts to break its spirit, divide it, and destroy it. We have a responsibility to resist threats to divide us from within as well, and to stand firmly against all forms of violence that marginalize and oppress. LGBTQs in Palestine are not victims waiting to be saved; in fact, young and old LGBTQ activists are leading this first-of-its-kind anti-violence video campaign to build a stronger Palestinian society that celebrates all forms of diversity.

alQaws and 7amleh partnered up last year to begin planning a video campaign to combat violence—in all its forms—against LGBTQ individuals and groups in our society. Aiming to completely root out violence, we decided to focus on its everyday forms (like “micro-aggressions,” such as verbal violence, “jokes,” stereotypes, and misconceptions) that are so prevalent in our streets, schools, families, and workplaces. Unlike spectacular forms of violence, like physical attacks, which are easier to denounce and claim as someone else’s problem, micro-aggressions touch all of our lives, and are ultimately linked to the root causes of more blatant forms of violence. The videos and educational campaign show how something as simple as a chat with a family member, a morning break during school hours, or walk to the store can become an opportunity to change society at a deep level.

The first video that was launched yesterday presents a conversation between three activists who discuss local and universal misconceptions and myths that legitimize violence against LGBTQ in Palestine. These popular myths, which have no scientific basis, create a social and cultural atmosphere that blames LGBTQ individuals, groups, and organizations for the violence committed against them, and demonize LGBTQ people to legitimize their isolation and marginalization (You can watch here with English Subtitles).

During the coming week, we will launch two additional videos, the first addresses daily experiences faced by LGBTQ Palestinians, such as street violence, school bullying, social isolation, distrust of family members and professionals, and the inability to share daily life and feelings. The second is an animated video about verbal violence that sheds light on our society’s shockingly negative vocabulary about gender and sexual diversity.

For a long time, gender and sexual diversity issues were considered “too sensitive” for the current political, social, and cultural environment in Palestine. After decades of on-the-ground activism and organizing, the most seasoned Palestinian LGBTQ grassroots professionals, enthusiastic youth activists, and cautious civil society institutional partners alike agree: Palestinian society at large is ready for change on gender and sexual diversity issues. Changing attitudes takes time, yet the time for violence against LGBTQs is up—now is the time to stand firmly and openly against it!

To watch the first video: https://youtu.be/2Kl4l-yKbUw

For campaign website:http://www.alqaws.org/7amleh/

This project is supported by The Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF).