LGBT rights in Jordan
|LGBT rights in Jordan|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1951|
|No recognition of same-sex couples|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons may still face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised in Jordan since 1951.
The Jordanian penal code no longer permits family members to beat or kill a member of their own family whose "illicit" sexuality is interpreted as bringing "dishonor" to the entire family. As of 2013, the newly revised Penal Code makes honor killings, as a legal justification for murder, illegal.
In 1999, a Jordanian family living in the United States repeatedly beat their adult daughter and attempted to forcibly return her home after they discovered that she was a homosexual. Likewise, a gay Jordanian who fled to Canada talked about similar acts of violence committed by family members who felt that his sexual orientation was bringing dishonor to the family.
Media and press
The National Press Law (aka "Press and Publication Law") was amended in 1998 and 2004. The initial document prohibited the depiction or endorsement of "sexual perversion", which may have included homosexuality. The revised edition in 2004 has a few provisions of direct impact on LGBT rights. First, the content ban on "sexual perversion" has been replaced with a general requirement that the press "respect the values of ... the Arab and Islamic nation" and that the press must also avoid encroaching into people's private lives.
Gay-themed Jordanian publications are legal. In 2007, the first gay-themed Jordanian publication arose. A year later, My.Kali started publication online, named after openly-gay model Khalid (mentioned below), making major headlines, as it is the 1st LGBT publication to ever exist in the MENA region.
In an article for Al Jazeera English titled 'Pushing for Sexual Equality in Jordan' stated: "Earlier this year, they published the magazine’s 50th issue, and celebrated the magazine’s seven-year anniversary. Kali is on the cover, hugging a sculpture head, his naked torso covered in white dust. The headline reads: “Tell Me Little White Secrets!”" the article was soon removed by the official site, and pasted on blogs and pages instead, due to the huge stir the article caused at the time. The magazine regularly features non-LGBT artists on their covers to promote acceptance among other communities and was the first publication to give many underground and regional artists their first covers like Yasmine Hamdan, both lead singer and violinist of band Mashrou' Leila, Hamed Sinno and Haig Papazian, Alaa Wardi, Zahed Sultan and many more. “Jordan is a very traditional country, and we're considered controversial in Jordan for simply breaking the stereotype and stepping out of norm,” Khalid told Egypt Independent.
Events were held in the Jordanian capital Amman on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in 2014 and 2015, mainly for educational purposes and for the purpose of raising voice for the community and discussing challenges. many activists and members of the LGBT community and LGBT allies in Jordan attended the events. in the second event held in 2015 American ambassador in Jordan Alice G Wells was one of the speakers.
LGBT recognition and rights
The first time that the Jordanian government made any public statement regarding LGBT rights was at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in 1995. The international conference sought to address women's rights issues on a global scale, and a proposal was made to have the conference formally address the human rights of gay and bisexual women. The Jordanian delegates to the conference helped to defeat the proposal. More recently, the kingdom's United Nations delegates have also opposed efforts to have the United Nations itself support LGBT rights, although this later proposal was eventually adopted by the United Nations.
To date no law exists or has been proposed in the Jordanian parliament to address sexual identity-based discrimination or bias motivated crimes. Same-sex marriages, or more limited civil unions, are not legally recognized in Jordan and there is no public effort in Jordan to modify these laws.
However, outside the realm of LGBT rights and party politics there is a growing level of tolerance and visibility in certain artistic or chic-cosmopolitan parts of Jordan, especially in Amman.
Books@Cafe opened up in 1997 and remains a popular bookstore and cafe for patrons supportive of "creativity, diversity and tolerance". In the twenty-first century, a Jordanian male model, Khalid, publicly came out and has been supportive of a general interest, gay-themed magazine published in Jordan. "Growing up, it was hard for me to find topics, subjects and publications that I could relate to! In my country, most magazines rejected me and my ideas due to my young age at the time, and I felt like an outcast in my own society!" Khalid told soginews.com
Recent reports suggest that although a large number LGBT citizens are in the closet and often have to lead double lives, a new wave of younger LGBT are beginning to come out of the closet and are becoming more visible in the country, working to establish a vibrant LGBT community of filmmakers, journalists, writers, artists and other young professionals. Only a few young Jordanians of the upper class are able to remain single. Most of these more "open" Jordanians are well educated and from prosperous middle class or wealthy families.
Initial research into the LGBT community in Jordan suggests that many of the same sort of social biases and conventions that exist within the gay community in the United States or Europe, also exist in Jordan.
Following the wave of celebrations after The Supreme Court of the United States made same-sex marriage legal nationwide in the United States of America, and over a month after the controversial aforementioned IDAHOT meeting held in Amman, the Jordanian ministry of Interior published a statement from the minister's office stating " The first clause: The Jordanian state is keen on respecting the Islamic dogma and the true islamic religion's doctrine which was clearly affirmed in the first article of the Jordanian Constitution that states: "Islam is the religion of the Jordanian State" and the provisions of the Jordanian civil law are in line with the provisions of the Islamic Sharia law, jurisprudence and customs as they are the source of legislation; therefore, recognizing LGBT groups is considered as a breach of the Islamic Sharia and subsequently the Jordanian Constitution. Any proposals by the sexually perverted to breach the provisions of Sharia Law and the general order, and for that the aforementioned proposals are considered a crime punishable by law. Second clause: Concerning the IDAHOT meeting; the government did not give its consent for it to be held, knowing that the Law of General Meetings number 7 of year 2004 and its amendments is responsible in organizing any public meeting and so the administrative governor should be informed about the meeting should it be held, which did not happen. Third clause: The Government does not posses any assuring intelligence for the existence of and official sponsorship by a foreign mission including the Embassy of the United States to the aforementioned meeting. Final clause: The government wont tolerate in enforcing the law's provisions to maintain security order and decorum while preserving its Muslim Arab principles and traditions; Therefore, we shall pursue whoever is proven to have breached these principles and submit them to the judiciary to execute the necessary legal action against them.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Since 1951)|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSM allowed to donate blood|
In the News
According to afp, 10 gays and lesbians were arrested in Amman on 26 February 2014 for having held a reception at a party hall with the aim to get to know each other. The reason given was to ″prevent a disturbance of the peace.″
- "Where is it illegal to be gay?". BBC News. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- [Schmitt, Arno & Sofer, Jehoeda, 1992, Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies, Binghamton: Harrington Park Press, 1992, ISBN 0-918393-91-4, pages 137-138.
- "Middle East 'Honour killings' law blocked". BBC News. 8 September 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- "Gay Jordanian Now "Gloriously Free" in Canada". Sodomylaws.org. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- [dead link]
- "Jordan: a gay magazine gives an hope to Middle East", Ilgrandecolibri.com, retrieved 11 August 2012
- "Gay Egypy". Gay Middle East. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- "Movie Reviews | Three Stories From Amman at The Black Iris of Jordan". Black-iris.com. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- "الداخلية تتوعد ملاحقة "المثليين" قضائياً". Jordanian Ministry of Interior. 29 June 2015.
- Andy Towle, Jordanian police arrest 10 gays and lesbians for holding gathering, towleroad.com, 28 February 2014