In honor of Valentine's day, we decided it’s a good time to spread a little love with love stories from couples we know. Because if love has no boundries, it’s only natural that human rights and equality have no boundaries... enjoy.
Lead Lebanese activist Georges Azzi, co-founder of Helem and Executive Director of the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, who tells us about meeting his partner on social media, the challenges of being together in Lebanon, and growing together as a family.
Rashima: Can you tell us how you met your partner?
Georges: We actually met through social media. When we first met, 3 years ago, my partner was still not very comfortable coming out to friends and family. To a lot of people in Lebanon who are facing this dilemma, social media is a big facilitator in meeting people who can potentially become later on partners.
Rashima: What are the dynamics of your relationship, what endears you most about your partner?
Georges: After three years we felt that the relationship matured. We became a family. We moved from decisions that focused on where to go out and what plan to do with friends to ones that show the true meaning of a partnership… Financial decisions, moving out, finding a house together ... these are the things that made me aware that I had a partner to consult with… and I think that’s what endears me the most about my partner, the support he can give to the relationship. Even if he’s not much of a doer and could plan things more efficiently, me being the one who is always anxious to get things done makes the dynamics perfect for us.
Rashima: Do you have a family, or would you like to have one?
Georges: After 3 years into a relationship and seeing how we are shifting to a more mature, supportive partnership I consider us less as a couple and more like a family. The saying “home is where the heart is,” is always true. For now, my sense of family is there, with my partner. That’s why I support the idea of expanding this family when the time comes, yes. Currently we have a lovely dog that we are raising together :)
Rashima: Did you face any difficulty being together? Does your country allow for your relationship to exist? How did you overcome these difficulties?
Georges: Our country on a large scale surely doesn’t allow our relationship to exist, both legally and socially. At first, because of this, my partner was more reserved and closeted which limited the relationship’s freedom and for us to explore together and grow from it. But after all, you find your own safe space, and that’s what we did. After he came out to his parents and we were able to customize our outings, our plans with the people we love most, we were able to create our own space to overcome the difficulties imposed by the society.
Rashima: These days, it seems hard to focus on love and on humanity. On this valentine’s day, on a day of love, what message would you like to send to the world about love?
Georges: That love helps us in the oddest of ways. The day I met my partner I thought that there’s no way this relationship could work. But as we moved on and our love grew we both changed. We both became better versions of each other and ourselves. When every fight, every obstacle, every difficulty is overtaken together because of the love you have for each other, you not only overcome these obstacles, you grow wiser, smarter and most importantly more loving because of them. The single minded message would therefore be: “give love, not hate, a chance and the world will become the better world we all dream of.’
Published on February 14, 2017 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization