The vast majority of the discourse about gays in the YouTube sample was found in the video about homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon (26/29 instances), followed by some user responses to a video about the Prime Minister of Lebanon returning to Beirut after an abrupt resignation while in Saudi Arabia (2/29 instances). The most salient discussions to arise from these videos were associated with gays and French President ‘Macron’ (2 instances, logDice = 11.99), ‘openly’ (1 instance, logDice = 11.09), and ‘proudly’ (1 instance, logDice = 11.09). Other notable terms associated with gays were negative ones, including ‘addict’ (1 instance, logDice = 11.09), ‘agaisnt’ (1 instance, logDice = 11), and ‘unhealthy’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.91).
Other important terms associated with gays related to sexual intercourse, such as ‘boner’ (1 instance, logDice = 11.09), ‘anal’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.91), and being ‘safe’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.47). Additional terms included descriptive words like ‘patient’ (1 instance, logDice = 11.09), ‘Danish’ (1 instance, logDice = 11), ‘off’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.91), ‘straight’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.82), ‘Arabs’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.82), ‘lesbian’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.75), ‘bear’ (2 instances, logDice = 10.64), ‘friendly’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.54), ‘major’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.54), and ‘mainly’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.24). A number of other words were associated with gays, including ‘ameen’ (1 instance, logDice = 11.09), ‘Benjamin’ (1 instance, logDice = 10.82), and ‘middle’, (1 instance, logDice = 10.82).
Within these discussions about gays, anti-gay sentiment was oftentimes linked to conversations about religion, whether from a Christian or Islamic perspective. A common opinion held across these religious views, was the importance of upholding “traditional values” – in the name of God. As one user explained it:
“We Arab Muslims are proud of our values get the fuck out of the middle east stop instilling your fucked up western values you ugly scums of the earth. Is raping 9 year old ayesha is also the norm there. […] Qoom lout was destroyed because of homosexuality and even now or that in the future will get severe punishment […] How can a homosexual affect you??? […] God always creates in pairs boy and girl. day and night. hot and cold. Male and female animals The question is Is there a gay animal ?????” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
Numerous YouTube users also noted that sexual activity can only happen between men and women, not homosexuals. This encouraged hateful sentiment against gay communities in general and LGBTQ communities in particular. For example, while discussing the various religions in Lebanon, one user noted that “[…gay rights have] already taken over. No, Christians don't say they [gays] will burn in hell. If they don't repent [it is] God will put LGBT to hell for eternity.” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon) while another user noted that “[…] 90% of Arabs are dumm. Shame to hear they accept Gay sex.” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon). Here, users frequently mentioned that it was God who forbid same sex marriage. As a result, some users called for the citizens of Lebanon to maintain their traditional views on marriage. As one user best explained it:
“Marriage orginated in the Bible so don't take what was never ment for you!. I had no problem with gays and have homosexual friends but now to take something sacred between man and woman and try to make it ok for homosexuals is evil. The bible strictly forbids gays. Lebanon keep it real!” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
A number of other users were concerned about LGBTQ communities raising children. Within these discussions, concerns were raised about the dangers of raising children in a gay household. This sparked some hateful sentiment, in which members of the LGBTQ community were narrowly defined as “the transgendered community,” “mentally ill,” and simply wrong. This stems from the basic assumption that same-sex couples are a threat to the Muslim faith. As one user wrote:
“Gentiles need to realize LGBT is used for population genocide where kids are taught at school to doubt their gender at an early age. Only man and woman can create children to recover western aging population from extinction. […] Transgender is s mental illness. It should be banned in Muslim countries because they change the creation of Allah.” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
In the YouTube sample, gays and homosexuals were commonly referred to as “things,” of lesser value than heterosexuals – even a threat to the well-being of Lebanese people. To illustrate, two users noted that:
“They can get consent by body language if a zoofag presents his AIDS anus to a dog and the dog chooses to penetrate. It started as LGB community I don't know why they added the T AND Q into the LGB community , LGB are sexual orientations and the T is gender identity and the Q is a made up community who are confused ,I don't even see how the Q can be a community . I don't even see how Transsexuals get put into the gay community, many muslim countries don't have an issue with transsexuals because they are not committing homosexual acts which is why many trans have surgery ...they fit into society. Homosexuality goes against the Quran which is why it's forbidden . I don't support sin and it shouldn't be broadcasted ,the gay pride looks like an asylum outbreak . The gay community only promotes sexual perversion , lust, relations outside marriage , destruction of the family structure ,especially in the east which is governed by religion […]” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
“They harm society just like pedohpiles its the same concept, being attracted to unnusual stuff. They also visually harm me since when I see one of them […]” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
Fortunately, however, a few users challenged these radical ideas, noting that:
“I was dumbfounded by the disrespect to lgbtq+ community. The more I try to discuss it with my peers the more they try to convince me that it's morally wrong. People from different religions like Christianity and Islam say that the lgbtq+ community must burn in hell or be punished. I hope a day comes where the community is accepted all over the world.” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
“Live & Let live please make more documentaries about Lebanon that is amazing, raising awareness. the biggest problem here is religion and our politics are based on that, thus it means that neither Christians nor Muslims accept gays, which makes it harder for them, but i'm Lebanese myself and i truly support the lgbtq+ community, i even arrived to the point at convincing many of my friends that this is NOT a disease, and it's not something wrong with some good arguments haha They Are Human Too, LET THEM LIVE THEIR LIVES !!” (video source: homosexuality and transsexuality being illegal in Lebanon)
In sum, hate speech associated with gays largely targeted the LGBTQ community, and discussions were largely justified by what some YouTube users saw as traditional family roles established by higher being (i.e., God). In their view, this gave them licence to hate and to other. Worth highlighting, though, is that few users posted hateful content within this discussion topic, but the negative sentiment that was shared was, by far, amongst most heinous of the sample.
|gay mardi gras||1.0||10.6|
The most prominent collocations originated from two threads in the corpus. The first was a discussion in response to the news that homosexual relationships between consenting adults had been decriminalized in Lebanon (Doc 26). The second was a discussion related to a news item about Lebanon being the first country in the Arab world to launch a gay Pride week. (Doc 5).
There was an attempt to distinguish between legal and societal views of homosexuality. While some users applauded the move to decriminalize homosexuality, others were more cynical as to its practical significance. As was the norm in most Reddit threads, there was the usual appeal to data and facts, with several sources being cited. Advanced media literacy also played a role since the source of the information was also often scrutinized:
“Polls show the vast majority of Lebanese reject homosexuality”
“Not Lebanese but **the vast majority of Muslims reject homosexuality**, so this is not surprising. In the UK, a Gallop poll found none of the 500 British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable. By comparison, 35% of French Muslims found homosexual acts to be acceptable - [The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/may/07/muslims-britain-france-germany-homosexuality) (The Guardian is a left wing Newspaper) (Doc 5)
You wouldn't have to worry about being jumped in the streets or anything crazy, but the older generation doesn't really understand it. The younger generation (millennials) are very open and tolerant. You can be openly gay in most parts of Beirut without any problem (Doc 24)
Some discussions explored differences between religions in their approach to homosexuality. While there was some whataboutery involved, users also tended to provide balanced comparisons between different religious viewpoints:
Why? Do you think Christians are inherently more tolerant towards homosexuality? The 40% Christian doesn't exactly help the whole process of gay marriage. Gay marriage is rejected by all major world religions. Even the ancient Greeks, who claimed homosexual love was the truest form of love, did not have Gay marriage. The Greeks were not a monolith, some variance existed... With that said, homosexual behavior was generally frowned upon as childish and imature - something to be quit upon marriage. I believe Plato compared it to incest. Plato said that but he was speaking as a minority view in that regard, so its incorrect of you would use that when talking about a culture (Doc 26)
There was also a considerable amount of argument about the perception that the Arab world was “backward” because it took so long to decriminalize homosexuality. Users supplied data and arguments to show that even in the so called progressive United States, homosexuality was only recently decriminalized, and public perception of homosexuality in many parts of the western world is still conservative:
And until 2003, 13 US states still considered gay sex a crime. Not a "donkeys can't sleep in bathtubs" crime that's on the books but never enforced - an actual crime, that people were still being arrested for. In Idaho it could be punishable by *life in prison.* Michigan had a maximum penalty of 15 years for a first offense, and life in prison for "repeat offenders". That was in 2003. And the SCOTUS decision that struck down these laws was not a unanimous decision, nor was the American public largely in favor (Doc 5)
When was the last time a homosexual was jailed for being gay in the US? Not prostitution mind you, and not pedophilia, but for having consensual adult gay sex. Louisiana is [**still arresting gay men**] (http://www.advocate.com/crime/2013/07/28/louisiana-sheriff-refuses-stop-enforcing-anti-sodomy-law) for violating "sodomy" laws despite it being unconstitutional. When was the last time someone was jailed for being gay in Lebanon? (doc 5)
“And early this year, a Lebanese judge challenged the legal basis for arresting men for gay sex, ruling that this was a violation of the penal code provision protecting freedom of expression, and that an act undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse is not an offense.”