Lebanon is hosting its first ever LGBTI sexual health week and will focus on the marginalization of the community.
The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) will run the health week which will focus on how the marginalization of the LGBTI community affects mental health.
In a series of videos the health campaign tackles the myriad of issues LGBTI people face living in Lebanon.
One of the videos features Dr Fadi, a sexual health specialist.
‘As a doctor, my mission includes raising awareness and not just treatment. But I’m unable to fulfil my duties when it comes to the sexual health of LGBTI people and this worries me,’ he said in the video.
Fadi explained a lot of LGBTI people avoid going to the doctors for fear of mistreatment and discrimination.
‘There are many being denied their basic and important rights that include healthcare because they are so scared anyone would discover they’re gay,’ he said.
LGBTI-phobia is holding people back
‘Homophobia is considered as one of the main obstacles facing individuals and professionals,’ Nadia Badran, president of the Order of Social Workers in Lebanon said in a statement.
‘These behaviors make individuals address others based on personal beliefs and stereotypes where people are categorized as sinners, ill or disease creators… [and] ‘might prevent affected population from seeking any kind of services’.
Samer’s mom is amazing
Article 534, can we get rid of it already?
While Lebanon is one the most progressive countries in the Middle East regarding LGBTI issues, it is still very taboo.
Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that are ‘contradicting the laws of nature’.
The ruling referenced Article 183: ‘An act undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse shall not be regarded as an offense.’
Which means if you’re exercising your freedoms and not hurting anyone, there’s no crime.
‘These are all small steps aiming to decriminalize homosexuality. This is not a victory,’ Bertho Makso, from Proud Lebanon, told Al Monitor in January.
‘The real victory will be when Article 534 is changed or abolished. But now the priority is to educate people to avoid homosexuals’ persecution and make change happen.’