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Tunisia about to Legalize Homosexuality!


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The LGBT community across the Arab World and the world anticipates with great hope the recent laws being drafted in Tunisia which include a clear and explicit call to ban the punishment of homosexuals based on their sexual orientation.

It all started with The Committee on Individual Freedoms and Equality which published its report on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 after presenting it to the President of the country. The report is of over 230 pages and calls for several amendments to the constitution. Among the drafted suggestions, many are expected to arouse vast waves of controversy across Arab and Islamic countries and communities.


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The report does not exclusively discuss the legality of homosexuality but goes as far as suggesting the right of women to pass their last names onto their children. As its title implies, the document goes on to cover various aspects of individual rights & freedoms  and equality and discusses both the latter and the former in two separate parts.                       

Interestingly, the document claims that it is the product of thinkers consulting not only sociological sources as one might expect, but also religious ones. It is also worth mentioning that among the thinkers whose input resulted in the aforementioned document, are people who have been known as political Islamists such as Salaheddine El Jorshy who is an advocate of Islamic Leftism.

Jorshy, who is also a well known media figure in Tunisia, was interviewed by “El Jawhara fm” in Tunis where he stated that this is the first time individual freedoms and personal rights are being officially discussed by “experts”.


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When asked about the part of the report that touches upon homosexuality and its legality, he said that “the phenomenon of homosexuality must be admitted and while every human is entitled freedom when it comes to his body, it is the demeaning and insulting practices against these people that should be banned.”

While the Tunisian street is not by any means exempted from opponents to the suggested drafts, the country and social justice advocates elsewhere seem to await the approval of the document with unprecedented hope. With Lebanon being in the process of forming the new cabinet of ministers, one cannot but wonder, are we next?

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Maya Diab: “People Who Don’t See LGBTQ People As People, Should Learn How To Become People!”

September 5, 2017 Leave a comment

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Lebanese artist, anchor and influencer Maya Diab was hosted by Future TV anchor Paula Yaacoubian on her weekly Inter-Views on Wednesday August 23rd. Paula hosting Maya on her political show was already deemed controversial. That they would be discussing LGBTQ rights and tolerance in Lebanon was just an elephant in the room!

Both ladies are already known for their supportive statements with regard to the LGBTQ community and that was witnessed when they were both hosted by Mona Abou Hamzeh on Talk of the Town on MTV Lebanon few months ago.   

Despite her explicit support, Paula still fell in the trap of terminologies where she referred to the LGBTQ community as “irregulars/outlaws/abnormals” aka “shawath/شواذ” more than three times throughout the talk.  

To all the people attacking her for “cheering” for the LGBTQ community, Maya responded that she refuses to be accused of cheering for anyone: “I am not a cheerleader here, and this is not an event that needs cheering. Neither accepting, rejecting nor even cheering for the LGBTQ community is an option anymore, they simply exist and they have always existed.”

Oddly enough, Maya still had to justify her performance at a gay club in Beirut to the public, even after more than a year since the controversial party took place. At that time, Maya launched a social media campaign defending her right to sing for whomever she wants. Back then, She was both praised and massively attacked for vigorously defending the LGBTQ rights.

After reiterating how her music should only be seen as a tool of unification and communication and after mocking the so called “democratic system” of Lebanon, Maya continued to refuse any “trophy” from any LGBTQ organization due to her belief that she is only doing what everyone else should be doing!  

Maya also told a recent anecdote in which her sister handed her a written message from a fan who told her how he could have never imagined a celebrity speaking about his community publicly. Maya stressed on the fact that the fan was subject to sexual assault in his childhood and that he is still struggling with the cruelty of his parents and the society.

Once again, Paula couldn’t avoid falling for yet another terminological fallacy where she generalized that the LGBTQ are people who choose to be as such, and that was ironically right after Maya told the story of the victim/fan who clearly had no choice! This does not change the fact that Paula was supportive throughout the rest of the talk.

Maya concluded with a couple of very impactful and moving statements. “We are not oil and water, we are one! People who don’t see LGBTQ people as people, should learn how to become people!”

Inter-views 24/08/2017 مع الفنانة مايا دياب

شو السبب؟ ?Shu el Sabab

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

ما بهم شو السبب، المثليّة منّا مرض: فيلم تثقيفي حول التصنيف الطبي للمثليّة الجنسية. “شو السبب؟” هو السؤال الأول الذي يراودنا عند مقاربة موضوع المثلية الجنسية في لبنان

أظهرت دراسة حديثة أعدها مركز الموارد الجندرية والجنسانية لدى المؤسسة العربية للحرية والمساواة أن ٧٢٪ من اللبنانيين واللبنانيات يعتقدون بأن المثلية الجنسية هي حالة اضطراب نفسي، لا سيما وأن بعض مهنيي الصحة النفسية في لبنان ما زالوا يمارسون أنواع مختلفة من علاجات تحويل الميول الجنسي وذلك خلافاً لأعراف الطب النفسي العالمية واللبنانية

تأسّست الجمعية الطبية اللبنانية للصحة الجنسية (لبماش) في لبنان في ٤ أيلول/سبتمبر ٢٠١٢، وهي منظّمةٌ غبر حكوميّةٍ لا تبغي الرّبح. تهدف جمعية لبماش إلى تحسين الصحّة الجنسية لجميع الأفراد في لبنان، مع التركيز بشكلٍ خاصٍّ على المثليين والمثليات ومزدوجي/ات الميول الجنسيّة والمتحوّلين/ات جنسيًا، وغيرهم/ن من الفئات المهمّشة في لبنان

لتصويب الرأي العام حول تصنيف المثلية الجنسية كحالة اجتماعية غير مرضية، أعدَّت جمعية لبماش فيلم رسوم متحركة يسلط الضوء على الموضوع ويشير إلى عدم جدوى علاجات تحويل الميول الجنسي والتي غالباً ما يكون تأثيرها سلبياً

شو السبب؟ هو فيلم رسوم متحركة يستند على شهادات حياة لمثليين ومثليّات من لبنان، شاركوا في مجموعات تركيز أجرتها لبماش لِتدوين تجربتهم/ن الشخصية، صَمَّمته ونفّذته جيسيكا عازار بتمويل كريم من السفارة السويسريّة في بيروت

Shu el Sabab? (what is the cause?) is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding homosexuality in Lebanon. A recent study conducted by the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) at the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) showed that 72% of the Lebanese population perceive homosexuality as a mental disorder. Some mental health professionals in Lebanon continue to practice various forms of conversion therapy against the recommendations of international and Lebanese mental health professional organizations

The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) produced this movie to address these issues and increase awareness regarding homosexuality, its “cause”, lack of efficacy of conversion therapy, and its potential harmful effects

This movie was designed and animated by the talented Jessica Azar. It was made possible by a generous grant from the Swiss Embassy in Lebanon. This movie is based on the stories of gay and lesbian individuals living in Lebanon who participated in focus groups conducted by LebMASH

The Tests of Shame Return to Lebanon


In recent days, it has become evident that anal tests or “Shame Tests” have returned to Lebanon, as Dr. Ahmad Mokdad, a Lebanese forensic doctor, has been examining individuals using the abusive test in order to determine their sexual orientation. The test, banned on August 7th 2012 by the Lebanese Order of Physicians, includes the forcible insertion of a metal egg-shaped object into the anal rectum, which supposedly tells if an individual had anal intercourse. Obviously, the test is a sham, as it fails to prove anything. Firstly, consensual anal intercourse does not leave permanent scarring or result in deformities of the anus or penis. Secondly, homosexuality, which is what the test is intended to prove, is not only about anal sex but is a much more complex concept, based on attraction, behaviour and identity.

In August 2012, the Lebanese police arrested 35 men (which is reported here, on the Daily Star website) at a cinema in the Bourj Hammoud district of Beirut, as they had received a tip-off that the men were watching homosexual pornography. All the men were subjected to the test and forced to pay the $85 which the test costs. Three of the men were later charged of ‘unnatural sex’ under the archaic and condemned Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code. Whatever the conviction, the anal probe still scarred all 35 men. The Lebanese Order of Physicians, politicians and human rights activists came out strongly against the tests; there were protests staged around Beirut, denouncing the tests of shame, as they came to be known. Apparently the “Provincetown of the Middle East” (a claim made by the New York Times) is only a “gay haven” for tourists, not for locals, and definitely not for refugees (which became evident after the Dekwaneh scandal).

The anal tests in 2012 caused an outbreak of protests across Beirut. Helem, the Arab World's leading LGBT organisation was at the frontline protesting this crime.

The anal tests in 2012 caused an outbreak of protests across Beirut. Helem, the Arab World’s leading LGBT organisation was at the frontline protesting this crime.

The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH)  just released a position statement (http://lebmash.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/anal-tests/) on anal tests to assess someone’s sexual orientation. LebMASH has responded to the Legal Agenda’s report on shame tests still being performed in Lebanon, where 5 men recently were subjected to the test (in Arabic). LebMASH urges the Lebanese Order of Physicians (LOP) to discipline Dr. Ahmad Mokdad and offers to provide the LOP’s members with cultural competency training and scientifically sound educational sessions on the topic.

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I, Jonathan Lawrence, thank Raynbow.info for hosting my post. I decry the lack of media attention to this story. There are regular reports in Western media concerning homosexuality and homosexual rights, yet these outrageous invasive and abusive tests, which can permanently damage an individual, both mentally and physically, have largely been ignored by Western media outlets.

 

Jonathan Lawrence

Psychologist Ronete Cohen responds to Dr. Carole Saade’s comments on homosexuality

August 31, 2012 1 comment

The following is a response by Psychologist Ronete Cohen to Lebanese psychologist Dr. Carole Saade after her unscientific opinions were quoted in a Lebanese newspaper.

I am glad that Carole Saade is distancing herself from some of what was written in that article, but I’m afraid that what she still supports hasn’t made me change my mind about what I said. The “parental role” in the “forming of a homosexual” is an unproven and long discredited Freudian relic from the early part of the last century. It is only still taken seriously in environments where homosexuality is viewed as a disorder. Think about it: if homosexuality is theoretically the result of a “dysfunctional” parental role, then it is a result of a process “going wrong” and is the “unhealthy” outcome of “unhealthy” parenting. Following the same logic, a “right” parental role would not produce it, instead producing the “healthy” variant, which is heterosexuality. All kinds of parenting, both healthy and unhealthy produce both heterosexual and homosexual children. Homosexuality is not a result of something going wrong. Freud has never been remotely scientific: in all these years no proof has been found for his theories and they are no longer widely accepted by professionals, the scientific community, or by professional organisations, nor have they been accepted for many years. The scientific community has not yet reached a consensus on how homosexuals are born but it doesn’t matter. We don’t think it important to find out why people are left handed, because we know it’s just a healthy variation on being human and we don’t think twice about fully accepting it. The same should be true of homosexuality. When you see someone not accepting it in this way, even when that someone claims to be acting to help homosexuals, you should be rightly suspicious of how much that person will truly understand you and be able to help you.

Dr. Omar Fattal responds to Dr. Carole Saade with facts about homosexuality

August 28, 2012 1 comment

This is a follow up on our previous post “Dr. Carole Saade clarifies her position on homosexuality

Today Dr. Omar Fattal, a Lebanese psychiatrist practicing in New York, responded to Dr. Carole Saade with facts about homosexuality. We will share with you the note unedited as it was written on our Lebanese LGBT Media Monitor:

Dr. Omar Fattal – Photo from Facebook

Carole, it must be very frustrating to have the Al Joumhouria twist your words. However, I am still not clear regarding your actual understanding of homosexuality, and whether you really used the word “shaz” during your interview with AL Jo

umhouria. I am a Lebanese psychiatrist in the New York area and would like to make a comment about this thread. My own understanding, which I also believe is the modern and widely accepted understanding in the main stream medical and psychiatric community, is that we don’t really know what causes someone to become homosexual. We equally don’t know what causes someone to become heterosexual. There is definitely a genetic component and an environmental component to sexuality, but knowing this does not really help us much. I guess that some of the disappointment that comes up when the question is asked this way, i.e. “what causes homosexuality”, is that this question implies that homosexuality is a disease and one must look for a cause for it in order to cure it. It obviously makes things worse when people use the word “shaz” to describe a homosexual person. As I am sure you already know, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has not only deleted homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses as far back as 1974, the APA has come out very strongly in support of LGBT people in general, in support of gay marriage, and in opposition of reparative therapy (treatment that aims to convert someone from being homosexual to being heterosexual). Other organizations in the US such as the American Psychological Association have also followed suit. The World Health Organization also deleted homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses a long time ago. The hope is that as a Lebanese psychologist, when approached by someone for an interview, you would educate them regarding the harm of the use of the word “shaz” and on the fact that homosexuality is not a disease and that it does not really matter what causes it. I am glad to hear that you are supportive of LGBT people. In Lebanon and many other places, people turn to psychologists and psychiatrists when they find out that their son is gay or that their daughter is lesbian or when they suspect that they themselves are gay or lesbian. Having psychologists or psychiatrists with poor understanding of homosexuality or even worse, with homophobic views can only do more damage given that LGBT people in places like Lebanon are already being subjected to discrimination and homophobia from their families, their schools, and society in general and the last thing they deserve is further discrimination at the doctor’s office. Thank you for being candid about this and I hope that we are on the same page and that we can all continue to have this conversation is a civil and respectful way. Regards
Thank you Dr. Fattal for your precious time and the valuable information provided at a time when men still get arrested under article 534 in Lebanon and are subjected to “shame tests”. The medical community should unite to spread facts and dispel myths about homosexuality in Lebanon and Arab world.

Joe Maalouf on Jaras Radio Aug 10 2012

August 11, 2012 3 comments

 

That is the best we could record from Aug 10 2012 interview with Joe Maalouf on Jaras Radio.

 

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