You’ve probably heard a lot recently about how the Lebanese Psychology and Psychiatry associations have “come out” in the scientific favor of homosexual behavior in Lebanon.
For those of you who don’t know, the main reference for psychologists and psychiatrists, the DSM, has declassified homosexuality as an illness 40 years ago. So why is it now that Lebanon’s psychologists and psychiatrists are saying it isn’t so to the Lebanese public?
Well, I’m lucky enough to be passing through a psychiatry rotation at the country’s leading psychiatric facilities, under the auspices of one of the psychiatrists who was cited in the many press events that have taken place around the issue at hand. So I asked the question that has been going through my head for a long time now: why now, 40 years later, since the DSM update on the matter happened in 1973?
It seems the main reason behind the associations in question is because “the time is right.” What time is that?
Apparently, following the closure of Ghost in Dekwaneh, some TV stations hosted “psychologists” who proclaimed homosexuality as a disease precipitated by some forms of child abuse. This statement has absolutely no basis in reality so the Lebanese Psychology Association and the Lebanese Psychiatric Society decided that such erroneous information were not to be allowed to be propagated and that they were going to counter them.
The psychiatrist whom I asked for information on the matter was adamant to note that, contrary to the increasingly popular belief that such statements aim to get the law changed, it is not in fact their aim because “legislation doesn’t concern [Lebanon’s psychiatrists].” They are simply trying to raise awareness on the issue due to the way Lebanese media has been portraying it.
Do they hope the law gets changed one day? The psychiatrist in question said he’s personally in favor of changing the law. But it is not their job, nor is it part of their agenda. It is worth noting though, that even though Lebanon is technically “40 years late,” it’s still the “first country in the region to have such stances made public.”
Either way, based on my observations in psychiatry for the past few weeks, Lebanon has a long, long way to go regarding much of that domain.