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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!

 

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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

The attack was against all the community #DekAbuse #LebLGBT

April 30, 2013 Leave a comment

No the attack was not only on the Transgender/Transsexual/Transvestite community.
The attack was against all the community.

Some might be mistaken by thinking that the police have a problem only with men wearing women’s clothes. Even if that dickhead has taken them as an example to justify his malicious actions.

In Lebanon, you feel that there is acceptance for a male sleeping with another if he remains a man. How? Simply by abiding to the general perception of how a man should be.

1- He should wear men’s clothes. Of Course!!! We are oriental, we live in an oriental society, where manhood has a meaning that is different from anywhere of the world. I’m an oriental man. I have body and facial hair all over, I brag about it… My manhood is built upon erasing the presence of women. Hell yeah, she should be submissive to me. Why cause my Mama has treated me like a prince, she fulfills all what I need, but if she doesn’t?! I beat her, or at least I get grumpy like a kid and start nagging like b*tch!!!

A man wearing women’s clothes?! Hell I’m confused, this is the end of the world. Men in our countries should not be weak, they’re not allowed to cry, they’re not allowed to get in touch with their deep emotions. They should be tough (*ROAR*). Oriental men should be like lions, they just move to go eat, piss all over their territory, and have fights with other lions to prove dominance, oh and kill little children that can become potential threats to the throne, including the children in us.

2-Of course an oriental man is not allowed to get F*cked. What?! What’s next?!?! Them wearing skirts?!?! Well in Scotland they do, and they’re sizzling hot manly!!! A man in our countries is still allowed to f*ck men, even donkeys. But getting F*cked?!?!? haaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!! Then we start bullying him : BYENTEK. LOUTEH!! Some bullying starts at home, some in the street, some at work!!! Well, I’ve met many straight men that have the fetish of getting F*cked! So what???!!! Are they any less as men?! I never thought that a man’s hole is public property!!! In the army, a guy that gets f*cked is sent away from the army, because “he’s less of a man”. A guy that f*cks, is only punished, but he’s still man enough to eat raw snakes (*ROAR* again).

3- It doesn’t stop here, oriental men should not wear traditional clothes anymore. In Lebanon, that’s part of being half a man, now you should wear a regular untight jeans that don’t show your ass, or a suit cause you’re so European. You’re are not allowed to put Arabic maskara, people tend to forget that Arabs used to do. A man also is shamed for doing plastic surgeries. An oriental man doesn’t really care for his looks, his machismo is enough. You’re not allowed to pluck your eyebrows (HOOOOOO). Well I know straight men who do all of these. Hell, I know straight men that even like to wear women’s clothes in bed, and also put make up, with the reddest lipstick.

In Lebanon, if you match what an oriental man is, even if you’re gay, you’re accepted, because you’re still a man. While all the hate goes on against Transgenders/Transvestites/Transsexuals cause they refuse to be oriental men, they don’t wanna be men maybe in the 1st place, but they’re not allowed this privilege. Born a man, you die like a man! Right?! You have a d*ck?! You’re doomed!!!

I call on extra protection for the Transsexual community, they are taking all the hate to protect us, they’re defying the norms to make us feel accepted, they’re the first victims of Homophobia, even inside the community.

Oh and one last thing, I call on bar owners and managers not to abide by homophobic conceptions, to refuse fear, and not to forbid Transsexuals from entering their bars, cause that for sure is a crime against the community, against our HEROES (HEROINES)

F*ck you, oriental man….

By Joseph Aoun

My imaginary Lebanon #DekAbuse #LebLGBT

April 28, 2013 2 comments

My imaginary Lebanon

Once upon the time, there was a Lebanese mother of two, who cared for her children, Antoine and Antonella, and tried to raise them to love each others and take care of each others.

Antonella, was a transgender, she was loved by all, beautiful, humble, had a high sense of humor, lived like a diva, wore the best high heels in town.

Antoine, was a constipated straight guy, he didn’t find his place in the gay community because of his ugly character and closeted case, and had no sense of FAB.

They grew together, Antonella tried her best to let her brother embrace the love of life, but he always refused it. Jealousy have blinded his eyes and heart from seeing the love Antonella had for him. All he could see was the love of people towards his sister and always envied her for that. He never understood the fact of him not being popular like her. People loved her genuinely. She always managed to grab attention wherever she was, while him, nobody looked at him in her presence.

Antoine decided to run for municipality one day. Antonella was there for him, and she played a major role in his campaign, people voted for him because they loved her so much. But Antoine couldn’t really appreciate that cause his heart was full of hatred.

He hated her so much till he became homophobic against every Fabulous person. It’s not true that gay people are harmless, he used to say, they are malicious, they forbid me of people’s love. He never knew that people could see the hatred in him and his incapacity of loving, and therefore could not love him like they love Antonella, who loved life, loved people, and was humble and glamorous in the same time.

One day, Antoine thought of his position as head of the municipality, and thought to use it for his own personal interest, by revenging from Antonella, so he decided to close Ghost, a place where she used to gather with her friends to have some fun and change some mood, and humiliate his sister in front of people, he conducted her to the police stations of the municipality without having any legitimacy for such an act, removed her clothes, and took pictures of her beautiful body, thinking that people would be disgusted.

What Antoine ignored this time, is that people stood more than ever with Antonella, they cried for seeing her being humiliated in that way, having her body violated, seeing a brother doing such a thing to his sister, making her suffer verbal violence by ignorant policemen, who hit her, and raped her dignity.

What Antoine ignored also, was the fact that Antonella is not weak, she will never have her pride broken, she will never go submissive by force. Antonella this time knew that her brother needs to be taught a lesson. Antonella will take off her high heels and make sure it leaves a mark on Antoine’s head, just because she loved him and she needs him to wake up of his hatred mode.

Let us all be Antonella…

By Joseph Aoun

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Dora & Boots: A true story!

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Dora and Boots.
By: Anonymous (A closeted but very successful and loved Lebanese gay man)

It seemed like one of those regular days until she came into the teacher’s room, her face all red.

She said “bonjour”, but in her voice there was a deep agony, and a request for help.

Sanaa  is one of those people who radiate positive energy in her environment , we’ve been very good friends and colleagues, teaching together high school students  for the last  5 years, but I’ve never seen her like that before, even on the day when her father died, she had this philosophical explanation that impressed me at the time.

Me: So how are you?

Sanaa: I am ok

But then she would never make eye contact, and tries to keep herself busy, as if she wanted to be left alone, so I asked her again : “are you ok ? “

She never answered, but turned towards the coffee machine; So I stood and started walking toward that corner where she was hiding, she started crying, so I said : “what’s wrong, come on, tell me, what happened” …. And she said : “Tala …” and she couldn’t stop herself from crying.

Me :Tala, your daughter?  Is she alright, is she sick???!!!!

Sanaa:  I wish I could change her …

Tala is a cute 4 year old girl, she is always the center of her mom’s talks on lunch breaks, her embarrassing questions and her exceptional personality, leading us to  finish our  conversations with  a usual closure : “well this generation is different, they’re born  aware of everything …

Me: What do you want to change about her?

Sanaa : Among all of the costumes for Halloween , she wanted to be Boots !!

Me : Boots like shoes  ?

Sanaa: Noooo , don’t you know Boots , Boots and Dora , that doesn’t  ring a bell ???  .

Me : who is Dora?

Sanaa : Dora the clever girl in kids cartoon , and Boots is the male chimp, her friend… I wanted Tala to be wearing Dora on the school’s  Halloween  party, but then she insisted to be Boots and when I asked her why,  she said : “Boots is funny, he plays with Dora and loves her very much ” … do you know what does that mean ????

So I smiled after I started grasping the basis of my friend’s unexplained misery …

Me : Do you think that you daughter is identifying with a monkey instead of a human , is that what’s bothering  you ???

Sanaa : she wants to take care of Dora , O my God

So I thought , O my God, my good friend is a freakin homophobic , I wonder how would she reacts if she ever knew about me, her closeted 30 y old gay friend …

Me : Ok , and so what ???

Sanaa: It means that she will be sad, people will hate her, she will never have a family and she will die alone …. It is not only Dora and Boots, she likes to play with matchbox cars and she hates pink … she wants to paint her room blue … and in her role play at kindergarten, she is always the taxi driver, like her grandfather…

Me: Well, don’t you think that you’re jumping into fast conclusions??

Sanaa: No, I think that my daughter will grow to become … O my God I can’t even say it!!!

…. and she started crying again.

Me : Lesbian ???? Do you think that this is a problem?

Sanaa : I can’t  even imagine this possibility…

Me: Well, you’re  right about one thing, she will have a tough life, she will have to be stronger to survive, but her life would be harder if she won’t find you next  to her!  Can’t you see?   this is Tala, the love of your life , the one who makes you smile every morning …

Sanaa : I don’t want her to be hurt!

Me : she won’t , can anyone hurt your Tala ??

Sanaa :As long as I am alive, never

Me : So, why you’re so upset then ?

Sanaa : She will be purposeless, useless …

Me : All of that because of Boots !!!

Thinking to myself , I wish I can tell her about my situation, her successful colleague and supportive friend….

Me : well Boots is really  something, otherwise why would I be searching for him day and night …

Sanaa : what ???

Me :  Ummmm……. Yeah, I like Boots ….and for the record, I hate pink J .

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