Hate Speech and Threats, Unprecedented Crackdown on Jordan’s LGBTQ Community
The LGBTQ community in Jordan is facing an unprecedented crackdown despite some progress made in recent years to safeguard their rights. The queer community is grappling with systemic discrimination, threats, hate speech, and an unsupportive government stance.
Calls to criminalize homosexuality in the kingdom are growing louder and this is being pushed largely by the country’s conservative parliamentarians. The attacks were triggered by plans to showcase the “Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day”, a queer Egyptian film, at a socio-cultural space in the capital Amman. The showing, which was scheduled for late June during Pride month, had to be canceled due to the threats.
Hala Ahed and Musa al-Shadeedi, leading Jordanian human rights activists, have received a chain of attacks, including death and deportation threats from Islamist parliamentarians and influencers. Over the past month, hate speech and threats against members of the queer community and its supporters have spread widely on social media platforms.
According to Human Rights Watch, state actors in Jordan have undermined LGBTQ people’s right to privacy with digital targeting, namely entrapment on social media and dating applications, online harassment and “outing,” online extortion, monitoring social media, and reliance on illegitimately obtained digital evidence in prosecutions.
“Human Rights Watch documented cases where security forces have used digital targeting, based on “immorality” provisions and the Cybercrime Law, to entrap LGBT people, arbitrarily arrest and detain them based on digital evidence found on their personal devices, censor content related to gender and sexuality online, and intimidate LGBT rights activists,” a report stated.
A queer activist said there is a larger storm that the Jordan LGBTQ community is stuck in the middle of. “We don’t know the next step, or where to turn, because the places you could usually turn to are no longer there. Doors keep closing. It’s angering and it’s disheartening. Because you feel like you have hands but then they rip them off.”
The latest wave of attacks on Jordan’s LGBTQ community has been driven by the rise of homophobic speech and behavior throughout the Middle East. This was sparked by the prominence on LGBTQ rights during the 2022 Qatar World Cup.