By Franz LENTNER

Mahdi’s story begins ten years ago in Aleppo. In 2008 Mahdi was 15 years old and for the first time in his life experienced deep emotional feelings for someone else. “At First I didn’t know that I was in love and it is difficult to describe my feelings. But I was simply full of happiness when we were together and I even tried to find reasons for excluding other friends to spend time in togetherness. Yes at this time I was very uncertain about my true feelings, but by now I know that I loved Jamal. Unfortunately neither Jamal nor my family knows that I am gay and I am profoundly worried that they find it out.”

Recently the attention for gay men in Islamic countries increased and movements like “You are not alone” or the documentary movie “Mr Gay Syria” spread awareness about LGBT rights in Syria and the Middle-East.

Different diplomats tried to use this raising awareness for a new initiative to promote LGBT rights and proposed a resolution to the third committee of the General Assembly of the UN, which is concerned with social, humanitarian and cultural issues. After several discussions and strong opposition they adopted a resolution which states “that all people are born with equal rights, including people identifying as transgender or homosexual“.

Mahdi, who is now living in Berlin is grateful that the German administration along with other western countries tried to convince his home country Syria to establish better living conditions and rights for the LGBT community. At the same time he does not expect an improvement in the near future, since Syria together with other Islamic countries voted against the resolution and still does not accept homosexuality in its legal constitution.