A group of LGBTQI Lebanese expats and allies to host an evening of artwork and live performances to raise money that will help victims of Beirut Blast
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
The UK’s LGBTQI community, their allies and the Lebanese diaspora are coming together next weekend in order to raise funds that will go towards rebuilding Lebanon’s capital Beirut and support all impacted communities.
On Saturday 22 August, The Bell pub in Whitechapel, East London, will host Rebuilding Beirut with Pride, a socially distanced evening of art, live performances and drag, all for a common love for Beirut, its people and its reconstruction.
The event will also be live streamed online for those who cannot attend in person. Due to the pandemic, a limited 40 tickets are available for the in-person event at The Bell, while an additional 300 will be available for the live online event. Tickets can be purchased here.
On 4 August, Beirut was rocked by a colossal explosion involving 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. The blast killed at least 158 people, injured 6000, and hundreds remain missing. With the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, the explosion’s shockwave enveloped Beirut, collapsing historic buildings and shattering windows within a radius of 10 miles.
Two of Beirut’s LGBTQI hubs, Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze, were only 500m away from the point of detonation. These areas have been utterly devastated and, like many other parts of Beirut, are now uninhabitable.
Danny Nasr, event organiser and chief organiser of Rebuilding Beirut with Pride, says: “Being so far from Lebanon has made things difficult for many of us in the diaspora, especially with travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic. I wanted to do something that would not only make a difference in the lives of Beirutis who have been affected by the blast, but also bridge that gap to let Lebanese people know that no matter where are in the world, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them — especially our LGBTQ+ siblings.
“The queer community has a proud history of international solidarity, and we want to continue that tradition. This queer collective fund will allow us to reach the most vulnerable impacted by the crisis, with proceeds going to medical, food, housing and mental health support, as well as provide direct support to LGBTQ+ relief funds.”