A screenshot from the Lebanity website

Lebanon's government has launched a website to help Lebanese descendants living in foreign countries gain citizenship. But there's a catch ... it only works through male ancestors.

If your mom was Lebanese but your dad wasn't, you're out of luck. 

The law was actually approved more than a year ago but the website, Lebanity, was recently launched. In November 2015, Lebanon's parliament approved a draft law, which allows descendants of the large Lebanese diaspora community to apply for citizenship. But, as only Lebanese men are allowed to pass on citizenship to their children, its the same with the diaspora community as well.

"Our struggle to remain in Lebanon has no meaning if you don't restore your citizenship and your links to Lebanon," Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in at a Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference in Brazil last year, according to The Daily Star.

StepFeed has reached out to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants for comment on the Lebanity website. This article will be updated with those details.

Many are pointing out the sexism inherent in the nationality law

The website explains that someone is eligible if: 1) they have a father or grandfather with Lebanese origins, who left Lebanon and did not register their children as citizens OR 2) they are the foreign wife of a Lebanese man. 

Others who can benefit from the website and the law are expressing optimism

A screenshot from the Lebanity website

Renato Nasr, whose father was born in Brazil to Lebanese immigrants, expressed optimism about the new website. 

"It shows that the government is more open to giving citizenship to members of the diaspora," Nasr, who currently is pursuing his graduate studies in Lebanon, told StepFeed. 

Nasr had looked into claiming citizenship in the past but had almost given up because the process seemed too difficult, if not impossible. 

He said the website is "a good starting point." 

"It's a good way to get started and it motivates us to apply," he said. 

Lebanon's diaspora has found immense success abroad

Salma Hayek visited Lebanon in 2015 for the premiere of her film 'The Prophet' Source: Jason Lemon

Lebanon has large diaspora communities around the world. Brazil has the largest, with estimates ranging from 12 million to 14 million Lebanese descendants residing in the country. But the U.S., France, Canada, other Latin American countries and several countries in Africa also have large populations. 

Notably, the current president of Brazil, Michel Temer, is of Lebanese descent. Several other South and Central American countries have had Lebanese heads of state or heads of government in the past. Many other prominent politicians, businessmen and celebrities in Latin America, Europe and North America boast Lebanese heritage as well. 

Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek and Colombian singer Shakira both are descendants of Lebanese immigrants. Hayek has previously voiced her opposition to Lebanon's citizenship laws, criticizing them for not granting women the right to pass on their nationality. 

Carlos Slim, a Mexican businessman with Lebanese heritage, was ranked as the richest person in the world between 2010 and 2013. He has since fallen to become the sixth richest.

This video explains more about how the nationality program works