Lebanon bans Snakes and Ladders game from schools because of Pride flag colours

Snakes and Ladders

Lebanon’s education minister has banned the playing of Snakes and Ladders from summer schools because its colours are similar to that of a Pride flag. 

Abbas Al-Halabi has seized and outlawed all copies of the popular children’s board game.

The game was part of the activities included in a project supported by the US Agency for International Development.

Same-sex activity between men is illegal in the Middle Eastern country, with punishment of up to a year in prison, while LGBTQ+ people are often subjected to discrimination and violence. The transgender community also face possible prosecution under Penal Code 1943.

Newspaper An-Nahar reported that the minister decided to ban the game to avoid any misunderstanding, despite being aware that the colours don’t relate to the Pride flag, but to the “natural phenomenon” of a rainbow.

The move comes amid Lebanon’s crackdown against the LGBTQ+ community, with the minister of culture, Wissam Murtada, recently banning the Barbie movie, which features trans actress Hari Nef.

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And last month, Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the Shia Islamist political party and militant group Hezbollah, sparked outrage among human rights activists after he claimed that the “Western scheme [is working to] destroy Arab societies by promoting certain things such as homosexuality”.

Nasrallah went on to say: “Early marriage falls under God’s plan, and whoever opposes it is the devil’s server. Everyone must stand up to those who work to destroy our communities, in order to preserve human purity.” 

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According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), Nasrallah called for LGBTQ+ people to be killed, in a speech last month – after which members of the queer community reported online harassment and death threats. 

A gay man living in Beirut told the HRW he was targeted on Grindr, in a message that read: “We will find you and expose you, one by one. We have your pictures, chats and numbers, you f*****s. We have been monitoring this platform and all the data is ready. Zero hour is here.”

Earlier this month, Nasrallah, described same-sex relations as a “sexual perversion,” and labelled gay people’s existence a “threat to society.”

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