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What Do They Say About You? Lebanese Attitudes Towards LGBTQ In Numbers!

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment

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How many times have you heard someone in Lebanon say “I am fine with gays as long as they do not approach me” ??? That simply implies that LGBT  people are ready to approach every single person of their interest?!!!

 

People, websites, media, politicians and many others do talk a lot about LGBTQ… But what do Lebanese people in particular say?

 

Some international media have continuously praised Lebanon for being the first LGBTQ-haven in the Arab World! Quite great right?

 

Others saw the full picture and recognized the long road we still have to run before proclaiming Lebanon an LGBTQ-haven…

 

Away from the popular media, a study was conducted back in 2015 by N. Nasr and T. Zeidan under the title of “As long as they stay away: Exploring Lebanese Attitudes Towards Sexualities and Gender Identities.”

 

The study was held at a national level.

 

So what do numbers say about what Lebanese say about the LGBTQ?

 

60% said homosexuals can stop being “homo”sexuals!

72% said homosexuals are hormonally or mentally sick!

79% said homosexuals should be treated…

76% said homosexuals being recognized as “normal” wouldn’t be beneficial for society

∼90% said homosexuals should do their best to overcome their feelings

61.7% said homosexuals shouldn’t be offered society-protection from discrimination?!?

 

We can of course feel sorry for what this study had shown about our society’s attitude towards… just another part of our society!

However, we can also look at the bright, rainbow-ish side of the picture: this great initiative showed us where we are at the moment and this is just a perfect way to move on and progress.

If we acknowledge what we are and how we think, we can start pinpointing every problem at a time and work on solving it until we reach our dream tolerant-society!

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Is Your Doctor on “the list of pride”? 1 of 2 Doctors in Lebanon Refuse To Treat LGBTQ Patients…

September 7, 2017 Leave a comment

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It was 2005, right after Former PM Rafik Hariri was assassinated. I was screaming of pain and my parents chose to take me to an Urologist in Beirut. He opened the door and while completely overlooking my aching screams, looked my father sharply in the eyes and bluntly asked him: “are you with or against Syria?”

 

Why is this story relevant now?

 

Because earlier this week, a group of Lebanese doctors have launched an online service that is greatly expected to succeed in creating a safer and more humane medical field in Lebanon where EVERYONE is welcomed to any medical clinic regardless of who they are, look like, wear, think and believe or not believe in.

 

The Lebanese group of doctors practicing in the US, Canada and Lebanon have already founded LebMash, the Lebanese Medical Health Association for Sexual Health back in 2012. This Tuesday, they launched “LebGuide” online at LebMash.org/LebGuide after a year of anticipation, hard work and hope for a better future for all patients in Lebanon inclusively.

 

One must optimistically tend to believe that this anecdote and the attitude of the urologist was just back in 2005 and that doctors of Lebanon do not pick and choose who to provide care for anymore. We like to think they do not choose “customers” rather than patients on the basis of political and religious affiliations and other identity ingredients.

 

Before continuing, you do know that the previous paragraph was sarcastic and that the situation of medical ethics is worsening and that the openness of physicians to every patient out there is not yet accomplished right?

 

Okay, now we can continue to something worse!

 

At least, people of certain religious or political affiliations have had the choice before becoming affiliated with a certain religion or a political party or movement. What about those who have had no choice? What about people of different genders and more importantly people of different sexual orientations?

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) had published an article under the title of “The Five Star Doctor” as an attempt to set clear and simple criteria for a perfect doctor that are comprehensible by the public.

 

One criterion to know if your physician in Lebanon is a five star one is “Equity”. According to the WHO article, “equity, which is central to a socially accountable health care system, means striving towards making high-quality health care available to all.”

 

If it is not already clear, “all” includes people of all colors, races, genders, sexual orientations, political and religious affiliations!

So, are doctors of Lebanon as five-star as we like to think of them?

 

A study conducted by Lebanese doctor Faisal El Kak, unfortunately and yet fortunately revealed that 50% of the studied physicians showed readiness to treat or work with homosexual patients.

 

In the same study of 2010, 73% of the physicians believed that homosexuality is a disease. This is not to get started on how reparative treatments from homosexuality are still being explicitly offered and advertised for in Lebanon and Lebanese media.

According to LebMash’s official website, their aim is to “spread awareness and knowledge, as well as influencing the attitudes and behavior of health-care providers and the general public regarding LGBT health and sexual health.”

 

So how would LebGuide influence the medical scene in Lebanon and its relation with LGBTQ patients?

 

LebGuide provides a search engine in which an LGBT patient or care provider of an LGBT patient can look up the name and location of a physician who guarantees a safe space and pledges a humane and indiscriminate treatment for all patients!

 

Physicians can be looked up by gender, specialization and location. Moreover, a patient can always rate that physician, maybe not in terms of medical expertise but in terms of humane reception of the patient according to his/her experience. People can also suggest physicians to be added to the list of pride as I like to think of it.

 

Presumably, if you are a physician and you are aware that we live in 2017, you definitely not want to be ashamed by your name not being on the list of pride!

 

Hence, today, practices of discrimination against patients of the LGBTQ community can no longer be protected by the doors of the clinics of shame; it is now all in the light and before the eyes of the public.

 

So the question is, would the discriminant physicians really want to face the public with their discrimination? Or will they, as expected, change their mentality even if just for the sake of being on the list?

 

With ultimate hope and close-to-desperate faith, we cannot wait to see LebGuide impacting health institutions in Lebanon so that we can get to a day where if you’re queer and sick, you wouldn’t have to think twice before consulting a doctor or seeking help!

 

LebGuide is thus expected to put an end to clientelism in medicine in Lebanon.

If you are gay you are okay, we know that, but if you are gay and not feeling okay, you should be able to receive help whenever and wherever needed!

 

Personal Review: Mashrou’ Leila at Zouk Mikael

August 7, 2014 Leave a comment

By: Lisa R. Riskalas

 

As homosexuals in an Arab country we all go through the same stages of coming out, denial, fear, carelessness and eventually pride. But some of us get stuck on the second stage due to some surrounding force; it can be anything from family and friends to employment.
At the age of nineteen, I found myself stuck in that exact stage, I told myself and many others that I would never come out to my family unless I am heading off to the airport and never coming back.
It was around that same time that I heard of Mashrou3 Leila. I recall the first song I heard, “Fasateen”; my jaw dropped at the sight of the video and the lyrics. For once I found myself attracted towards the Arabic language, the music simply hypnotized me, and as time went on I sank into the Mashrou3 Leila sea of causes, astonishing music and absolute raw honesty, and I was not the only one.

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About five years later, I stood at the entrance of the Zouk Mikael Amphitheater, staring at the sight of cops and security guards everywhere. My heart pounded as I waited for the event to start, eyes carefully scanning the surroundings for a sign of disturbance and protesters but none were found.
The area was surprisingly peaceful, filled with just a few people, most of them sitting in the lunch area. Others already running to the gate, waiting for it to open so that they can jump on the first chance they can get to sit in front. I immediately ran after these people and took my spot in the front of the stage.


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The bands started right on time despite the fact that barely a few people had arrived, first came Jammit the band, and then Sandmoon and by the end of each performance you could feel the vibe changing. People started moving closer to the stage and the place became far more crowded. And by the time Loopstache and Pindoll started performing people were surrounding the stage with their arms up, dancing and singing in joy.

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Finally Mashrou3 Leila arrived after a few minutes delay. The screaming got louder and I was one of the people screaming at the top of their lungs. You could feel the energy shifting from musical to an astounding show of love and support for Hamed and the gay community in general. The band’s performance had a lot of heart, you could see it on their faces as they stood on stage staring at the crowd that it wasn’t simply the fans that knew that this performance was more than a concert, it was a fight against haters. As fireworks started, Zouk Mikael Amphitheater metaphorically turned into a battlefield where Hamed Sinno kicked Fouad El Adem’s ass by simply dedicating one song to him “Eskandar Ma’louf.”

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As their performance ended, I walked towards the backstage entrance hoping to catch a glimpse of my personal hero where I could actually tell him the one hundred things I’ve always wanted to say. As I waited, I naively asked a cop “how’s it going?” and he nodded back at me with a very cold facial expression, I couldn’t tell whether he thought I would turn into a zombie and bite him or if he simply was disgusted by my homosexuality, and either way I didn’t care.

I walked back to stage after a few minutes of no one coming out besides whoever got backstage passes. I started watching the last performance of the night, Who Killed Bruce Lee playing their energetic and enthusiastic music on stage when I received a text from my friend who stood at the backstage entrance telling me to come quick. I ran passed dancing people, nearly tripping a couple of times until I finally arrived and saw Hamed standing with a bunch of people surrounding him and taking pictures. At that moment, I forgot everything I ever wanted to say, I simply walked up and said “Can I hug you?” and the answer was yes.

After a group photo with my friends, I asked for one more by myself where I surprised him with a kiss that I had held for years until I finally got to meet him. His reaction brought me even more joy as the photo was taken, all those words I wanted to say simply came out in a couple of hugs and a kiss to a person I deeply consider a hero, as him, his music and his band helped me (and surely many people) get through the second stage of coming out and get to the most wonderful and freeing one of all, Pride.

All in all, the performances were wonderful and the bands all did magnificently, hopefully my detailed experience could at least put the people who couldn’t attend stand in my shoes. See you at Mashrou3 Leila’s next performance, at Wickerpark on September 7th, get your tickets at http://www.ihjoz.com

Backstage Interview with Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila

August 7, 2014 1 comment

Back Stage Interview with Hamed Sinno from Mashrou’ Leila

by: Rabih B. El Koussa & Lisa R. Riskalas

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 We were lucky enough to be able to interview Hamed Sinno backstage at Light FM’s 25th anniversary celebratory concert at Zouk Mikael. Our sincere apologies for the delay, and we hope you’ll let us know of any questions you would like us to ask in an upcoming interview.

Q: Surely, you’re used to homophobic comments here and there by now. But what was your reaction to Fouad Al Adem’s campaign to keep you out of Zouk Mikael due to your sexuality?

Hamed: Honestly Al-Adem didn’t say anything that I don’t see anywhere on my Twitter notifications board or YouTube comments on a daily basis. At first I dismissed it, the way I’ve grown accustomed to doing, but then started to panic a little bit when I saw how much of a big deal the media was making of it. I feel like in these situations, when homophobes are given so much legitimacy and affirmations for their statements, they are given more incentive to actually commit non-verbal hate crime. It was also interesting to see this happening in Zouk because it re-affirmed my take on these things being that hate stems from all sorts of fanaticism, not just the age-old-tale stereotyping the Islamic community as the sole force of bigotry in the Middle East.

Q: Were you surprised by fans’ reactions? And do you think that Fouad Al Adem influenced this performance’s crowd in any way possible?

Hamed: I’m always overwhelmed when I see so much support coming from the LGBT community during these events. It means much more to me than would be easy to articulate. I think in some twisted way Al Adem actually made the performance better, in that it reminded the audience of the politics that are actually always there in the fabric of events leading up to a stage performance. It’s easy to forget about the courage that it takes for a performer, queer-identified or otherwise, to get up on stage and subject themselves to the terror of social observation.

Q: Despite fans’ requests (including myself,) to hear Shim el Yasmine, you didn’t sing that song. Is there a certain reason behind that?

Hamed: The reason is very simple: we were doing our job, which was to put on a good show, and we were trying to keep the show as upbeat and pumped as possible. Save for Ne Me Quittes Pas, which was played as one of our two covers for the evening (the framework for all the bands involved,) we only played our more up-tempo tracks.

Q: On your first album, we find a cause in every one of your songs, from LGBTQ rights, to domestic violence, to dealing with corrupt political system, which would you consider the ultimate cause?

Hamed: The ultimate cause is to keep making music, in whatever shape or form.

Q: In the light of the homophobic movements, what can you advise the LGBTQ community?

Hamed: Do not tire. And never disregard the value of creating sustainable queer networks and support systems, even when they are for personal purposes, they have the power to renegotiate the entire foundations of the societies we inhabit.

مؤتمر صحفي

August 25, 2013 Leave a comment

تعقد الجمعية الطبية للصحة الجنسية وجمعية حلم يوم الأربعاء في ٢٨ أب مؤتمر صحفي في فندق “The Bella Riva Suites” في منطقة المنارة لإطلاع وسائل الإعلام على ما توصلت إليه مقررات الجمعية اللبنانية للطب النفسي والجمعية اللبنانية لعلم النفس في ما يتعلق بأن المثلية الجنسية ليست مرض وأن محاولات تغيير ألهوية الجنسية قد شجبت.

سيتخلل هذا المؤتمر كلمة الدكتور ليلى عاقوري ديراني من قبل جمعية علم النفس اللبنانية وكلمة الدكتور جورج كرم ممثل الجمعية اللبنانية للطب النفسي وكلمة الدكتور كارول سعاده الممثلة عن الجمعية اللبنانية للصحة الجنسية.

الدعوة عامة.

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خطوة جديدة لفسحة أملٍ


بعد الرسالة التي تم توجيهها من قبل الجمعية اللبنانية للصحة الجنسية وجمعية حلم إلى كلٍ من الجمعية اللبنانية للطب النفسي والجمعية اللبنانية لعلم النفس تم إقرار بيان من قبل هاتين الجمعيتين تضمنتا نقطتين اساسيتين هما :أن المثلية الجنسية ليست مرض وأن محاولات تغيير ألهوية الجنسية قد شجبت

قرارٌ كهذا من قبل جمعيتين لبنانيتين يعتبر إنجاز على صعيد الوطن نظراً إلى التغطية الإعلامية العالمية الكبيرة التي حصل عليها إذ اننا ما زلنا نعيش في بلدٍ يحشم ويحرم المثلية الجنسية، ويعتبر بعد المعالجين النفسيين أنه يمكن للمرئ تغير ميوله الجنسية إذا خضع (في معظم الحالات قصراً) لهذه العلاجات

هذا القرار على الصعيد العالمي ليس بجديد. إذ إن كل جمعيات الطب النفسي وعلم النفس الأمريكية كانت قد ازالة المثلية الجنسية من الأمراض النفسية منذ العام ١٩٧٥ وكذلك ازالته منظمة الصحة العالمية في الأول من كانون الثاني عام ١٩٩٣

إنجازٌ كبير وخطوة كبيرة نحو بلدٍ خالٍ من أي شكلٍ من أشكال التمييز نحو فئةٍ من المجتمع

فهل الجمعية اللبنانية للصحة الجنسية وجمعية حلم تحملان بريق أملٍ لمجتمع ما زال  في أحضانه طبيبان نفسيان يعتبران أن المثلية في لبنان تبقى “حيثية غير مألوفة إذ انّ لمجتمعاتنا خصوصيّة مختلفة ونمطاً مختلفاً في التفكير؟” سنرى

نساء “سحاقيات” في العاصفة


مارينيل سركيسأعلنت الممثلة اللبنانية مارينيل سركيس خلال مقابلةٍ في برنامج إذاعي أنها في أول بدايتها لعبت دور “سحاقية” في مسلسل “نساء في العاصفة”.

واضافت مرينيل أنها بعدما قرأت دور “زاهية” آمرة السجن المرأة القاسية والقوية “السحاقية” إنغرمت به وسعت لكي تحصل عليه مع أنه لم يكون يناسب عمرها، ولعبته بإمتياز ودخلت في عمق الشخصية إيماناً منها بهذا الدور. واضافت أنه في حياتها لم يكن لديها أي محرمات وبأنها تحترم المثلية الجنسية وتتقبلها في المجتمع لذلك كان من السهل عليها لعب هذا الدور واتقانه بإمتياز.

كما اشارت إلى أن دور زاهية اجلب لها العديد من التهديدات في حنينها من احزاب سياسية مشيرين إلى أن هذا الدور مخالف للطبيعة وهو ضد الدين. كما تعرضت لضغوطات كثيرة في المجتمع أينما تواجدت مع زميلتها رولا حماده إذ كانو يطلبون من هذه الأخيرة الإبتعاد عن مرينيل لأنها “سحاقية”.

مقابلةٌ سلسة تخللها العديد من الذكريات الجميلة وبعضها المؤلمة.

ومع الرغم من أنها استعملت مراراً وتكراراً كلمة “سحاقية” إلا أنها قد عبرت علناً احترامها للمثليات. مع إن اللوم يقع على مجتمعٍ كثرت فيه الصفات السيئة المعطات للمثلية، نحن ندعو الممثلة مارينيل سركيس إلى إستعمال عبارات تؤكد على صدقية احترامها للمثليات و تساهم في بناء مجتمع محترم لحقوق الانسان و مناهض لرهاب المثلية و كل أشكال التمييز الاخرى.

.By Alex A

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