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 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.
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.
No, those are not just capital letters in random order. The combination of these two abbreviations is the result of many years of hard work of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community in social media.
The official blog for the Lebanese LGBT Media Monitor, raynbow.info, is nominated alongside 3 LGBT blogs and 15 blogs and social media accounts which publically support the LGBT community. Do not forget, this is occurring in a society that still condemns LGBTs as outlaws and delinquents.
With the success of the LGBT community in social media today, I can’t help but reflect on my personal experience with the Lebanese LGBT Media Monitor and raynbow.info.
It all started 4 years ago. I was approached to be an admin for this Facebook page that would monitor any media coverage to which two rules apply: 1- Anything related to LGBT AND 2- Anything related to Lebanon. We did not have a hard time back then to monitor the media, even though we were only two admins. We had a few posts each month, most of them were homophobic articles. We were very happy when we saw that we reached 500 “likes,” and I personally thought we reached our peak at 1000.
Now, 4 years later, we have 5 admins who are barely able to keep up with everything posted in the media about LGBT and Lebanon. Unlike 4 years ago, the daily posts we’re having are either LGBT friendly or from LGBT individuals themselves. Even better, homophobic and transphobic posts are attacked widely by our followers, which forces homophobes to think twice before publically endorsing a homophobic statement. Today the Lebanese LGBT Media Monitor is proud to have more than 6000 likes on Facebook and more that 2000 followers on Twitter.
Looking back at this experience, I think the LGBT community needs a big applause. An applause that couldn’t be better illustrated than by being nominated by The Social Media Awards (SMA), Beirut 2013.
The cherry on the top would be if any of those LGBT or LGBT-friendly blogs win at The Social Media Awards, and that can only happen with your vote!
1-Why should YOU vote for the Lebanese LGBT Media Monitor/raynbow.info?
We at the monitor don’t like to brag but we will try our best to convince you to vote for us. We led campaigns against many homophobic articles and media appearances. We objected to many celebrity/public figures like Ward el Khal and Amal Hijazi when they blurted homophobic comments. We tried to raise awareness amongst them about what it really means to be LGBT and saying out loud, “Homophobia is not the way and it will affect your popularity!”
We had our homophobic lists of stars and journalists and led campaigns against Aljaras and their homophobic articles, we rallied against MTV after Joe Maalouf forcefully outed random individuals on TV, and last, but not least, we denounced Mohammad Iskandar’s discriminative songs, which garnered much support from different organizations and we played an essential role in Canada that led to the cancellation of his Canadian tour.
No, we are not just here to post information related to LGBT and Lebanon! We are also here to make change, a change that we are witnessing in front of our eyes year after year.
So vote for LGBT media monitor in the Best News Category. To vote go to: http://www.smabeirut.com and then to the 2nd category: Best News Blog.
2- Why should YOU vote for other LGBT and publically LGBT-friendly blogs and social media accounts?
The presence of many “out” LGBT blogs in SMA shows that LGBT individuals are influencing not only other LGBTs, but also the Lebanese community in general. This shows how the Lebanese community evolved: from being a community that spews homophobic comments to one that openly denounces and faces homophobic media.
The LGBT community has said its part: We will stand up and use not only the few friendly media outlets that we have as allies, but also by using our strongest tool yet: social media. That’s how an underground community came out to the open using every way of expression to break the silence. And seeing 18 LGBT and LGBT-friendly blogs and social media accounts nominated by SMA shows that the Lebanese community endorsed that position.
To vote for LGBT blogs and LGBT friendly blogs you can refer to the following list from our Media Monitor:
Don’t waste this chance for the LGBT community to shine. Vote now, vote LGBT for SMA
Finalists for Blog of the Year
• Blog Baladi| http://www.blogbaladi.com
• Gino’s Blog | http://www.ginosblog.com
• A Separate State of Mind Separate State of Mind |www.stateofmind13.com
• Beirut Boy | guymeetsworld.wordpress.com
Finalists for Best Lifestyle Blog
• Homos Libnani| homoslibnani.wordpress.com
Finalists for Best Personal Blog
• Gino’s Blog | http://www.ginosblog.com
• Ink On The Side | http://inkontheside.com/
• Rita Kamel ritakml.info | http://www.ritakml.info
• Homos Libnani | homoslibnani.wordpress.com
• Beirut Boy | guymeetsworld.wordpress.com
Finalists for Best Band on Social Media
• مشروع ليلى Mashrou’ Leila | @mashrou3leila
Best non-arabic vocalist on Social Media
Finalists for Most Creative Instagram Account
• Gino Raidy | @ginoraidy
Finalists for Most Engaging Person on Twitter (Tweep)
• Angie Nassar | @angienassar
Finalists for Most Engaging Media Personality on Twitter
• Paula Yacoubian | @paulayacoubian
• Angie Nassar | @angienassar
• Zaven | @zaven_K
Finalists for Best Business on Twitter
• Crepaway | @crepaway
Finalists for Best NGO/Organization on Twitter
• DONNER SANG COMPTER| @DSCLebanon
Finalists for Best Restaurant, Café or Bakery on Social Media
• Crepaway | @crepaway
Finalists for Best NGO/Community on Social Media
• Donner Sang Compter | http://www.fb.com/DSCLebanon
Finalists for Best Design for a Social Media Campaign
• Crepaway | http://j.mp/crepawaySMA
Finalists for Best Facebook Application
• Crepaway | http://j.mp/crepawaySMA
By one of our colourful Admins
The article claims that homosexuality is a choice and reinforces commonly used false stereotypes. Journalist Alissar Habib interviews clinical psychologist Dr. Carole Saade to support her claims. Two Lebanese doctors responded on Dr. Saade’s Facebook page denouncing her misleading opinions.
Dr. Hasan Abdessamad, a Lebanese Obstetrician & Gynecologist based in Vancouver, wrote:
“Can you support your claims by evidence-based medicine? You are reinforcing stereotyoes that have been refuted by medicine decades ago”
Dr. Rami Baz, a Lebanese Pediatrician based in Ottawa, wrote:
“Please check the evidence supporting your thoughts and get back to the public to convince them if you find any or to apologize from those you are causing harm to through your false ideas”
On Aug 25 2012, Dr. Saade’s page deleted the comments. It is our common practice while monitoring the media to save screen-shots of such activity. On the same day we shared that screenshot on our timeline.
Psychologist Ronette Cohen responds:
“As a psychologist who has heard a lot of bullshit regarding homosexuality and has fought back with facts and science, I must say that I can’t remember the last time I have read such ignorant lies and fairy tales (and I get to read a lot of harmful nonsense about homosexuality because it’s my area of expertise). Who is this woman? Isn’t she ashamed to display how ignorant she is so publicly?”
At this point Dr. Carole Saade responded on our page:
The concern and the question that i only replied on in this article was about the parental role specifically and in “some cases”.other causes were pointed very clearly: hormonal- neuro-chemical and genetic.The title was not mine.The only thing i said in this article concerning the subject : Oedipe and the wrong attitudes of some parents. And that there are many other causes: genetic etc… I’m not responsable of any other word which is not mine in this article. I may ask the Joumhouria to make it clearer. 75% and more of what is said is not my personal opinion. And i guess you may understand what i mean when it comes to media and scoops.
You may contact the concerned and the responsable of other’s opinions (surely not mine).
Hope you show love and respect before being so offensive…if you are willing to really spread love…i’m and always was between the first Psychologists to be With Homosexuals and to support them in a human way.
With Love 🙂
Please LGBT. Can you insist on some respect? Can you understand that 80% and more of this article is not related to my opinion and to my words! Am i crazy to say it is a choice?? please, i am a Doctor, and i do respect all of you. I am the first psychologist to support LGBT people because i know very well what are the causes and how much they suffer in our society and that this is not a choice at all; at least in most of the cases. so please show some respect. i will surely ask for a clarification or an article from Mrs. Ellissar Habib that show my honesty
Kudos to Dr. Carole Saade for her attempts to clarify her position, for sounding her support to the LGBT community and clarifying that she harbours no prejudice or agenda to demonize or further marginalize sexual minorities. She talks the talk, we will keep monitoring to assess if she will walk the walk.
Dr. Saade also promised that she will contact the journalist, Alissar Habibi, to demand another article to clarify her opinion and position. Will journalist Alissar Habib comply with such a request or will homophobia prevail again?
That is the best we could record from Aug 10 2012 interview with Joe Maalouf on Jaras Radio.
On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 3:45 AM, AUB Outlook <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We’ve recently received a lot of backlash for publishing a homophobic article in our latest issue. We will be issuing a formal apology on behalf of Outlook to the public, so I would just like to let you all know beforehand. If anyone asks, please re-direct them to me or to the readoutlook email account, and any AUB student is within their right to write a rebuttal to this piece. We will be reserving a spread in the next issue dedicated to the replies of this article. I would also like to apologize personally to any of you who were targeted because you are a part of article. The best we can do at this point is apologize, though the viewpoint remains the authors own. This next week will be hectic and please talk to me if you have any concerns.
Last note, and terrible timing, but we’re still on for international star wars day , and will be screening the event tonight at 7pm at CHSC rooftop. Those of you on the stand today, keep in mind what I have said above, and don’t let it discourage any of you from attending tonight.
Happy international Star Wars day, and, officially, May the Fourth be with you.
As many of you have already known, the email account of AUB’s OutLook magazine has been hacked and the emails are being currently leaked on Twitter under the Twitter Handle @TheOutlookLeaks
We will be reviewing all the emails and publishing a brief summary about their content.
Here is the first email Outlook’s Editor-in-Chief sends to the author of the poorly researched homophobic and misinformed article. Please note that in her self-described, “standard reply” to those who complained about the article, the Editor-in-Chief called the “complaints” but while discussing them with the author of the article, she calls them “hate mail”:
Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 02:42:22 +0300
Subject: hate mail
From: AUB Outlook <email@example.com>
To: Mohamad Sibai <——————>
We’ve received lots of hate mail about your article up until this point, so
I’d just like to send you a warning that students might be sending some
emails to you. Out of concern for your wellbeing, it would be best that you
do not respond to any of these accusations until we take affirmative
action. As of now, if anyone asks, please explain that you are entitled to
write your own opinion in a viewpoint and that is all.
Best of luck and I’ll update you as to any changes,
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.
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’.