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Little protection for gays in Jordan

Although Jordan is one of the few Arab states to have decriminalized homosexuality, discrimination and harassment remain common in the conservative kingdom.
The shadow of a gay rights activist is seen behind a flag as she takes part in a march across Kiev May 25, 2013. About 100 Ukrainian gay rights activists defied a court order and held a small 'Equality March' in the capital Kiev on Saturday - the first in the former Soviet republic - behind a cordon of police shielding them from anti-gay demonstrators. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich  (UKRAINE - Tags: CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY POLITICS) - RTX10049

AMMAN, Jordan — When Hassan Zeid first told his family that he was gay, the reaction was swift. His mother promptly kicked him out of the house, telling Zeid, “I am not going to have a gay son.” Forced to sleep at a motel where he was working at the time, Zeid admitted to Al-Monitor that his situation was “quite hard.” He needed to postpone his studies as he suddenly lost the means to pay for his higher education. Zeid's struggles living as a gay man in Jordan are common in a deeply conservative society and with a government unwilling to take a more active stance on this taboo issue.

Al-Monitor spoke to Musa Shteiwi, director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, who explained, “Culturally speaking, this type of sexual behavior is not accepted in the very conservative society in Jordan. People think that they have a lot more serious issues in the country, and the government should pay attention to those matters. It would be politically costly for the government to act on this issue.”

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