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Lebanon: Being gay is not a disease and needs no treatment

First Arab country to declassify being gay as a ‘disease’
Friday, July 12, 2013
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BEIRUT, Lebanon — Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated, the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) said Thursday in a statement published by the Ministry of Information.

“Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities,” LPS said, in response to recent arrests and mistreatment of LGBT people in Lebanon.

“The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.,” the organization said.

LPS added that “conversion therapy” also known as reparative, or “ex-gay” therapy, which seeks to “convert” homosexuals into heterosexuals, has no scientific backing and asked health care professionals to “rely only on science” when offering opinion or treatment.

The LPS cited the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association that ceased to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder, and the 1998 decision which opposed any form of psychiatric treatment known as reparative or conversion therapy based on the assumptions that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that patients should change their sexual orientation.

Prominent Lebanese psychiatrist, Dr. Nabil Khoury, and some of his fellow practitioners have publicly stated that “being gay is a disease which needs to be treated.”

Georges Azzi, executive director for the Beirut-based Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality told LGBTQ Nation, “Some of the Lebanese media has been reporting recently that gays have been ‘cured’ with prayer and therapies, so LPS’s statement in this context is very important and welcomed.”

“The damage caused by such conversion therapies to its recipients is very severe, so I hope Lebanese psychologists and psychiatrists will adhere to these instructions and desist from administering such harmful and unscientific practices,” said Azzi.

Bertho Makso, a prominent equality rights advocate called LPS’ statement “a momentous occasion.”

“While the World Health Organization (WHO) and many countries in the West declassified being gay as a ‘disease’, Lebanon is the first Arab country to do so,” Masko told LGBTQ Nation. “This is an important breakthrough to build on and demand anti-LGBT legislation and practices to desist, both locally and throughout the Arab world and North Africa.”

“This achievement should leveraged as an example for change throughout the Arab world, where LGBT people are still classified and treated with harmful ‘conversion therapies’, including psychological and hormonal treatment,” he said.

Last month Human Rights Watch released a 66-page-report documenting claims of abuse, torture and ill treatment of Lebanon’s LGBTQ community.

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