The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) is proud to announce the winner of the “Break the Silence” competition as Rami Shukr, Psychology student at the Lebanese American University.
To enter the competition, students in the medical field were asked to submit an essay about a specific issue related to either women’s sexual health or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) health in Lebanon.
Submissions are reviewed and graded by LebMASH’s Executive Board. The winner receives funding to attend a medical conference anywhere in the World. This year’s choice was the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) 31st annual conference to be held in Baltimore, Maryland from the 10th to the 13th September 2014. This year’s conference theme is ‘Innovation & Collaboration for LGBT Health Equality’.
Rami, who will graduate this year from university with a BA in Pscyhology, entered the competition in order to “contribute to the growing movement of LGBT research in Lebanon”. He wants to shift the discourse on LGBT health and other issues away from the traditional and moral dogma towards a scientific and research based focus.
His prize-winning paper focused on stress, identity, and community among a sample of gay men in Beirut. Although there are Lebanese studies on MSM (men who have sex with men), there is no study, which uses culturally-relevant research, on the dynamics of MSM/gay (self-)identification. He also sought to investigate the feelings gay men have about the current state of advocacy in Lebanon and what they feel is lacking or could be improved. In his own words, he believes that ” Investigating these factors would help elicit better advocacy and would help us point-out where change is most needed. Although my research was quite preliminary in nature, focusing exclusively on gay men, it could provide a starting point for more empirical research into the dynamics of LGBT stress, identity, and community in Lebanon.”
LebMASH would like to formally congratulate Rami on winning the competition. We would also like to thank all the entrants whose essays we received. Finally, we would like to encourage as many students as possible to apply for next year’s competition.