In Nov. 2014, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health sent a letter to the editor in response to an article published by Annahar on Nov. 15, 2014 and titled “My father raped me, so I became a homosexual”
My name is Hossam Mahmoud. I am a psychiatrist and a board member of the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH), which was founded over two years ago with the aim of advancing sexual health for all people in Lebanon, particularly LGBT people. I am writing to you with concern, and honestly, disappointment, after reading the piece “اغتصبني والدي فأصحبت مثليّة” by Ms Viviane Akiki that appeared on Annahar website on November 15, 2014. As an Association for Sexual Health, we are concerned about several aspects of the article:
1- The article insinuates that being raped as a child is linked to becoming homosexual as an adult. The article even consults with Ms Farah Moukaddam for an “expert opinion” to support this argument. Unfortunately, the linkage between homosexuality and sexual abuse as a child is inaccurate and misleading. There is no scientific evidence linking sexual abuse with homosexuality. Research has not been able to discover the origins of homosexuality or of heterosexuality, for that matter. Similar to left-handedness and other human attributes, homosexuality is likely manifested due to a mixture of genetic, biological, and environmental factors.
2- The article seems to imply that homosexuality is a reaction to a trauma, and that homosexuality itself is an illness caused by such trauma. Responsible journalism would require attempting to get a second opinion or an alternate narrative to homosexuality, and sexuality at large. We are attaching with this letter the position statement of the Lebanese Psychological Association regarding homosexuality. It clearly states that homosexuality is neither a mental nor psychological disease in itself, and therefore, requires no treatment. LebMASH fully supports and endorses the position of the Lebanese Psychological Association regarding homosexuality.
3- The article fails to provide resources for survivors of rape and incest to seek help and support for the actual results of such trauma. Such consequences include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and physical conditions.
We would like to emphasize that we regard Annahar Newspaper with a lot of respect, which is why we are concerned about such an article appearing in your newspaper. We hope that future articles at Annahar would aim to conduct more scientific research when it comes to issues of trauma, sexual health and mental health, in order to avoid exacerbating current myths and misconceptions that are widespread among the public. The board members of LebMASH, including myself, would be happy to make ourselves available to answer any scientific questions regarding this article or future articles.
Hossam Mahmoud, MD MPH