On May 30th 2016, the Center Catholique d’information in Lebanon held a roundtable discussion on homosexuality. Dr. Samir Jamous, a psychiatrist and a member of the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS), was one of the speakers. It came to LebMASH’s attention through media reports that Dr. Jamous made some disturbing statements that are in direct contrast with the official position of the LPS. He included homosexuality under “psychological disturbances” and referred to homosexuality as a perversion. It was also reported that he specifically used the term “shouzouz jinsi” to describe homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a mental illness or a perversion.
LebMASH believes that these kind of statements, especially when articulated by a health care professional, negatively impact the work of LebMASH, LPS and other professional bodies on promoting the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. These kind of statements propagate the existing myths surrounding homosexuality and are a reflection of being misinformed on the standards of care set forth by professional organizations around the world including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as well as in Lebanon including the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) and the Lebanese Psychological Association (LPA); all of whom affirm that homosexuality is not a mental illness.
LPS encourgaes reporting any of its members who does not abide by the standards of care. We shared our concern with LPS and they responded. LPS took swift action and contacted the Center Catholique d’information and the Lebanese National News Association to clarify that Dr. Jamous’s intervention reflects his own personal views and is not backed by scientific data. The LPS also reminded the Center Catholique d’information and the Lebanese National News Association of their statement released in July 2013 affirming that homosexuality is not a disease and of their amendment to this statement in Nov. 2015 demanding the decriminalization of homosexuality in Lebanon. The LPS asked that these statements be published as a right to reply.
LebMASH commends the commitment of LPS to scientific standards of care and to advancing the mental health of sexual and gender minorities and for helping fight misinformation and myths that plague some discussions that surround homosexuality in Lebanon.
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