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Posts Tagged ‘lgbt rights’

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.

Unknownlegal agenda

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

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مقفل… من قبل وزارة السياحة Ghost


يعود ملهى Ghost إلى الواجهة مرةً جديدة،  ليس عبر برنامج جو معلوف أو مع “الشخطورة”، ولكن مع إقفال من قبل وزارة السياحة هذه المرة.

نقل موقع “ليبانون فايلز” أن وزارة السياحة اتخذت يوم الثلاثاء ٢٨ ايار قراراً بإقفال ملهى Ghost في منطقة الدكوانه. وفي التفاصيل أن وزارة السياحة وبعد اطلاعها على ملف الملهى وما تضمنه من مخالفات قانونية قررت اقفاله وإلغاء رخصته الأولية بعد ثبوت مخالفة فيه. وتم إبلاغ مستثمر الملهى عبر لصق القرار على مدخل الملهى.

وبإتصالٍ من موقعنا مع المسؤول عن الملهى، نفى لنا الخبر وقال أنه “ضجة ومعمعة إعلامية” وبأن الملهى مقفل بقرارٍ منه وليس من قبل الوزارة. وأضاف أنه لم يكن متواجد في لبنان وليس لديه أي علم بالامر و-“الملهى ليس لديه أي مخالفات قانونية” .

فمن علينا أن نصدق؟ وزارة السياحة والقرار بالإقفال؟ أو نصدق المستثمر للملهى الذي برهن مراراً وتكراراً أنه فعلاً “متل “الأترش بالزفه”  ؟

ولكن ما إذا كان الملهى قد اقفل أو ما زال يستقبل عشاق السهر، هل يجب علينا التركيز على هذا الموضوع وأن ننسى القضية الرئيسية ؟

هل ننسى كل الانتهاكات والجرائم التي ارتكبها “شخطورة” ونسلط الضو على إقفال ملهى بسبب مدفوعات أو مخلفات قانونية (بحسب ما نقل عن وزارة السياحة) ؟

لا يمكننا دعم أو إدانة إقفال ملهى قبل جمع كل التفصايل حول ما إذا كان قد اقفل أم لا،  وحتى الأن لا يوجد أي مصدر إعلامي تمكن من التحقق والإطلاع على ما إذا كان الملهى قد اقفل من قبل الوزارة لمساعدة الجمهور في بناء موقف على أساس دعمه لحقوق الانسان .

Amine M.’s Response to the Homophobic Outlook Article

May 6, 2012 1 comment

I think that people such as Mohamad Sibai who at first confuse secularism with sexual freedom and personal rights, are ignorant.

What Mohamad doesn’t seem to understand is that many people feel the same way he felt when he saw the gay couple, but towards a straight couple holding hands. If a man and a woman were in modern cloths and holding hands in let’s say Tehran, a man just like Mohamad could pass by and be HORRIFIED by this act and possibly ignorantly blame secularism or go to such extremes as accusing the woman of sexual addiction and perhaps finally this man would post online a story about how some women would willingly become prostitutes because of their sex addiction.
In general, we should all feel sorry for people like Mohamad Sibai, whether they oppose gay couples or women’s rights, or believe that women driving in Saudi could bring an end to the values and culture.

You are all alike, close minded and ignorant.

Much love

Amine M.

Response to Outlook Controversy by AUB Architecture Alumni

May 6, 2012 2 comments

To Outlook Newspaper’s editors,

I was astonished and appalled by the article, “Please me at any price”, by Mohammad Sibai, that you published in the last issue of Outlook. It was an extremely saddening thing to know that an article so heavy in homophobic clichés was published in the Outlook Newspaper.

AUB was always a place of exception in Lebanon, where tolerance, openness and freedom are

enjoyed like nowhere else in the country. The Architecture and Design Department is the place where we shaped ourselves intellectually and professionally. But also the human environment where we were able to develop much of our personalities, to expand socially. This was especially important for those who could have found this particularly difficult and who had the chance to find in AUB the place where they could feel at ease with themselves. It is indeed at AUB that some were able to accept their homosexuality and to feel for the first time that they did not necessarily need to hide it. There never was any sort of problem, tension, rejection or aggression against those who were known to be gay in the department. On the contrary, this particularity of some students was always taken as a purely personal thing, that could be talked about, mentioned and known of quite naturally. This was possible simply because the warmth and closeness between students allowed everyone to go beyond the stereotypes they might have previously had. Something that was sustained by an atmosphere of creativity, intellect and critical thought.

It pains me to know that AUB’s official newspaper has become the tribune for homophobic statements to be freely expressed, published and spread to the entire AUB community. I will not even talk about the false-facts, arrogance and skewed logic that Sibai has expressed. Anyone has the right to express all the fallacies that please them, this is what freedom of speech is about. However any sort of freedom stops where the freedom of the others starts. To insult, ridicule, stigmatize a significant portion of a population is not called freedom. It is even illegal in most developed countries, including the country that is AUB’s reference, the USA. And you cannot say either that every writer in outlook is free of his own opinion, which you cannot alter or refuse to publish. I am sure you would not have agreed to publish an article in which one of your writers would have treated in the same way members of a certain religion or political party. You would not and rightfully so, because it would have caused anger and sadness, but also outrage and strong reactions. By allowing such an article, you allowed the stigmatization of AUB’s homosexuals, because it is safe to do so, because they tend to remain silent, they are not used to react strongly in Lebanon, where they are officially illegal and vulnerable to popular and police harassment. Instead of being the expression of the tolerance and openness of AUB’s student body, instead of encouraging those in the closet to feel accepted, instead of being one of those few free medias in the country, you chose to do like so many other cheap medias who openly express scorn and hatred of homosexuals.

How do you think gay people in AUB felt upon reading such an “article”? You have no idea how much sadness I felt in those among my friends who happen to be homosexuals. In that article, they are said to be “not human”, or barely… They are reduced to ridiculous sex hungry beings, even though some are among the most brilliant and creative people I know, who never ceased excelling in their

studies and personal achievement.  They are said to be abominations and mentally sick, even though they can also be particularly balanced, liberated and light people. The article also systematically  associates them to diseases and to the hazards of AIDS, as if they were walking biological weapons. Seriously, how could you allow this? By publishing an article, you might not necessarily agree with it, but you give it legitimacy and credibility. How could you take the risk of hurting so many people among us? Some people risk their image, their relationships, their freedom, even their life by fighting publicly those horrible ideas. How could you so lightly promote them?

I wanted to express my indignation, in my name and in the name of many of my friends who felt personally hurt but who didn’t want to react, out of fearful discretion. Or because they are used to be offended and take this “article” as just one more offense among the many they face elsewhere in Lebanon. Even though they never thought it would come from AUB, which was seen as a place where they could be at peace. In order not to make this hope permanently false, I call upon you to react in your next issue of Outlook. To disavow the ideas expressed in Sibai’s article. And to give the same tribune to activists who should be entirely free to contest Sibai’s statements and to support homosexuals’ rights.

Thank you.

An AUB Architecture alumni, class of 2011

Erica Lea Moukarzel’s Response to AUB’s Homophobic Article

May 4, 2012 3 comments

My dearest Mohamad Sibai, and all the rest of you homophobes,

The other day, I saw a couple holding hands along Hamra Street. Normally I would never look twice, but something was not right. One had short hair, facial hair, and a rough voice. The other had long hair, curves, and a light stride. The sight was disturbing. The image, haunting. No matter how much I rubbed my eyes, I could not erase the mental image they had taken. Perhaps the Lebanese population should slow down its process into secularism because my mind cannot take in this overwhelming thought.

I am going to make this very clear and concise.

Nobody ever said heterosexuality was the right way to go. The only argument backing this up is reproduction which, mind you, is not the sole reason for sex.

Your religious quotes are futile. Religious books are books written by men who put words into God’s mouth. Fingers are not to be pointed at God for ‘creating’ homosexuals, and for dictating the laws of right or wrong regarding this and so many other societal issues. Now, you really lost me at Levitcus, a persona of the Old Testament; a compilation of writings by men who lived so long ago, they probably died due to their inability to cure the flu. Might I add, your argument was based on religion, a topic as ‘controversial’ as the one you so tastefully and respectfully addressed.

I’d like to ask you a quick question here. People are not born black, it is the burning temperatures at the equator that sizzle their skin and darken it. People are not born pale, it is the sub-zero temperatures in Russian prison cells that turn their skin so transparent you can see their veins.
People are not born into a certain nationality.
People are not born into a certain religion.
People are not born into a certain sexuality.

You free the slaves yet segregate homosexuals; you fight for causes like the Armenian genocide, and recently the KONY scandal, yet you repress these men – and you forgot to mention, women’s feelings. (No, they are not urges; do not feed me such Freudian sharabia.)

You defend fellow Arabs from the stereotype labeling them – us – as terrorists, and yet you do just that with your precious little article. Not all gay men – and women – are carriers of STDs, just as all ‘straight’ men and women are immune to them. Not all gay men – and women – lack morals, are driven by lust, are nymphomaniacs. I trust you are aware that a myriad of ‘the straights’ are driven by lust and lack morals as well, yes?

I must also not forget to mention how archaic your sources are. Homosexuality was disregarded as a disease and/or mental disorder in 1973, and voted off unanimously by members of the American Psychiatric Association. There is no treatment, for it is a state of being.

Bear in mind, also, that the words ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ are merely labels, which tend to inspire disgust due to the stereotype associated with them. Had we been cavemen observing same-sex relations we might cheer them on or even, God forbid, join in. It is expected, however, from a culture so horrifyingly driven by shunning what defies the norms and what fits into said stereotypes, to bring about another breed of labels that act as the anti-Christ and/or Pacific Plate’s Ring of Fire between these communities; those you call sexists. I believe the word you were looking for was ‘homophobes’ by the way.

With love (reciprocating your little hatred stunt),

Erica Lea Moukarzel, and the rest of us ‘seculars’.

Sam Chalhoub on Lebanese LGBT rights

January 27, 2012 1 comment

Sam Chalhoub talks about Lebanese LGBT rights at the TAA 2012.

Below is the speech as found on Sam Chaloub;s YouTube Channel: samjchalhoub and Tumblr account: youaremyfella

I would like to introduce myself. I’m Sam Chalhoub. I used to be one of the most bullied students at school. And if I had to say what I’m about to say in the 80s (always been a loser in history), Hitler would have made of me a piece of soap. But here I am.
Hello Lebanese citizen. I am proud to stand here tonight. With hearts full of love and justice, I have come to expose the truth of our lives and silence liars. I have come to challenge discrimination that is paralyzing every single one of us. I have come to defend our honor

and win our equality. But most of all I have come in peace and with courage to say, “Lebanon, we are not scared anymore. We are not hiding anymore. Because starting this day, with love in our hearts, we’re building a bridge where no one suffers because of their sexual orientation or their gender.”
To my country of love, to my country of democracy, to my country where everyone is welcomed, shouldn’t we get a small part of your heart that protects us from discrimination? Don’t we have a place to feel happy and secure in the same time? Why do we have to hide every time we want to be happy? Why do you have to blame or censure this happiness and consider it to be against nature? Why?

If a part of your population is not safe in your lands because they are showing their happiness, then you are not a country. If a part of your population has to play hide and seek every time they appear in society, then you are not a country. If you think that punishing a part of your population that is at least being true to itself, then you are definitely not a country.
And when we talk about homophobia, why does the rainbow flag have to be burnt by some people who don’t accept the fact that being a part of the LGBT community is being a ‘normal’ citizen, human, thinker and what all the others are and more. Yes, more. Studies show that homosexuals have a more developed artistic vision due to a more developed sensibility and sensuality.
It is a community based on a conscious or an unconscious suffering during the first age. Is suffering a fact that should be rejected, mocked, assaulted or violently abused? Is it human to mock people fighting cancer or aids or any other factor that made them suffer – or are still suffering – once upon a time? Do we have the right to throw them in jail, or kill them by groups? If yes, then what’s to blame? Suffering?

A holy marriage where God gave their parents the permission of founding a family based on love and trust. And they were born. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists or Jews, LGBT* are fruits of divinity. You as a religious population say that God is perfect. How can he create something that he is against? You’re about to link this to criminals and law-breakers, but what you don’t know is that we, humans, made them out to be what they are. We made them imperfect by not looking at them the way they should have been looked at, by not giving them what they need from finance to affection. A killer will never kill for no reason, a pickpocket will never steal if he didn’t need it. A psychopath didn’t choose to be a psychopath. You, society, made them and their parents a victim of the unknown.
If God had the cruelty of punishing all of the societies for what they have made of our brothers and sisters, he would have made all of them burn in hell. However, God is way too love-giving. He loves you, loves me, loves every suffering person and knows exactly who the real criminal is and law-breaker. There are no sins. There are only a cycle of victims being cruel towards each other. You say that only God can judge you. Well, who are you to judge God for who he loves and who he doesn’t?
Let me end this speech by making you agree with my words. Dear Lebanese citizen, together we can rule the world. Keep that in mind: If we can change a mentality, we can change a society.

*LGBT: Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender.

Here is the actual YouTube video:

 

Follow Sam Chalhoub on Twitter @samchalhoub

Like his page on Facebook: Sam J. Chalhoub

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