Home » English » Response to Dr. Khoury’s interview about homosexuality

Response to Dr. Khoury’s interview about homosexuality

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  • إقرأ بالعربية هنا

The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH), in response to the interview conducted with Dr. Nabil Khoury by OTV on June 6th, 2013 would like to clarify the following:

The use of the terms “louti” (derogatory Arabic slang for gay) and “sou7ak” (derogatory Arabic slang for lesbian) is offensive and further alienates lesbian and gay individuals in Lebanon.

We call on all health care professionals in Lebanon to refrain from using such terms. The terms milthi (gay) and mithliyya (lesbian) are the appropriate, non-judgmental terms to use when discussing members of the gay and lesbian community. It is our duty as health care providers to help people attain healthier lives. Using derogatory terms to describe a group of individuals in our society fuels the abuse, bullying, prejudice, and discrimination to which this group is already subjected to and leads to worse health in these individuals. (1)

We agree with Dr. Khoury regarding the lack of association between secondary sexual characteristics and sexual orientation. A masculine man can be sexually attracted to other men and a feminine woman can be sexually attracted to other women.

Dr. Khoury disregards the current and evidence-based knowledge science provides us about homosexuality. Instead, he discusses different views that, in his opinion, explain homosexual tendencies. According to Dr. Khoury:

  1. The first view considers homosexuality pathological and secondary to hormonal imbalances.
  2. The second view is that of the church and Islamic Sharia which considers homosexuality abnormal and sees homosexuals as sinners.
  3. The third view is about triggering factors that can “cause” homosexuality such as over- and under-affection, sexual abuse, using feminine pronouns for boys and masculine pronouns for girls, and “negativity” that can lead to attention-seeking behavior. Dr. Khoury claims that “the most important factor that leads to homosexuality is sexual abuse.” He goes on to discuss that sexual abuse can lead to isolation, distrust and psychological problems, and therefore leads to homosexuality.
  4. Dr. Khoury adds that girls watching and interacting with other girls can lead to sexual attraction and homosexuality. He asserts that, in some cases, female homosexuality is due to failure of a woman to attract men. He claims that a woman would “become” a lesbian to compensate for her failure with men.

Unfortunately, almost all of what Dr. Khoury discussed is inaccurate and misleading. There is no scientific evidence linking spoiling children or sexual abuse with homosexuality. His attempt to explain female homosexuality is also not based on any evidence-based research or scientific knowledge.

We want to clarify that many theories have been proposed regarding the origins of homosexuality, but definitive answers have yet to be found. 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.

We are surprised that Dr. Khoury speaks of a school which considers homosexuality a disease, when 40 years ago, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association, a world leader on mental health, declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. The following year, the American Psychological Association also declassified homosexuality as an illness. Since then, every major medical and mental health organization has followed suit. The World Health Organization (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a disorder in 1990. The WHO states that “in none of its individual manifestations does homosexuality constitute a disorder or an illness and therefore it requires no cure.” (2)

Currently, the global consensus among health care providers is that homosexuality is a normal and natural variation of human sexuality without any intrinsically harmful health effects. It is surprising and disappointing to see Dr. Khoury completely disregard this current common knowledge and instead, propagates out-dated stereotypes and misinformation that have clearly been proven to be false.

We are also very disappointed to see Dr. Khoury portray a very conflicted image of homosexuals who come out (i.e. those who do not hide the fact that he/she is gay/lesbian). Dr. Khoury uses the term “ positive rudeness” which is a very interesting and unusual term. He also states that these people are “out” because they have a “spirit of defiance.” We believe that gay and lesbian people are equal citizens in the societies where they live and therefore should have the right to express themselves without being called rude or defiant for simply being who they are.

Dr. Khoury refers to people who are not homosexual as being “3adi” (normal), which implies that he personally believes that being homosexual is abnormal.

Dr. Khoury also wrongfully explains that that Article 327 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits homosexuality. This is not true. Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits “unnatural sex between two people.” This law is often interpreted in Lebanon as referring to homosexual acts. In 2009, a verdict came out of a court in Batroun regarding Article 534, in which the judge discussed “nature,” negating the application of the article on homosexuals. (3)

When speaking of treatment, we agree with Dr. Khoury that sexual orientation cannot be changed. However, we are deeply concerned that he is admitting, on national television, that he encourages families to try to change their loved one’s sexual behavior.

Homosexual individuals in Lebanon suffer bullying, verbal and physical abuse, and discrimination from their families, schools, communities, and society at large. Around the world, fear of discrimination and prejudice has been found to alienate lesbian and gay individuals and lead to a delay in seeking health care. It remains our duty as health care providers to rid ourselves from any prejudice that might affect the health of our patients.

Dr. Khoury brings up a very troubling point at the end of his interview. He states that he sometimes recommends that people see homosexuality as a choice and treat it as such. Authorities in the field agree that sexual orientation is not a choice. In the same way that heterosexuality is not a choice, homosexuality is not a choice either. Suggesting that homosexuality is a choice puts homosexual people in Lebanon at higher risk for bullying, hate-crimes, and abuse since they may be perceived as willingly choosing what is morally unacceptable for the perpetuators of the discrimination.

Dr. Khoury ends his interview by asserting that we still do not have a good understanding of homosexuality and that we have no conclusive evidence about this subject. We would like to stress that this statement might have been true in 1969, but in 2013, we have overwhelming literature that indicates that homosexuality:

  • Is not a choice
  • Is not considered a disease
  • Is considered a normal variation of human sexuality
  • Cannot be changed and attempts to change from homosexual to heterosexual causes a great deal of harm to homosexual individuals.

LebMASH calls on all health care providers in Lebanon to be careful with the information they disseminate about homosexuality in the media. An up-to-date review of the scientific literature on the topic is necessary before any media appearance. LebMASH would be more than happy to provide any scientific evidence and literature needed on this topic. We owe it to the public to ensure the health information we are sharing is scientific, accurate, and unbiased.

References:

  1. Wagner GJ, Aunon FM, Kaplan RL, Karam R, Khouri D, Tohme J, Mokhbat J. Sexual stigma, psychological well-being and social engagement among men who have sex with men in Beirut, Lebanon. Cult Health Sex. 2013 May;15(5):570-82. (Abstract)
  2. The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization PAHO/WHO Position Statement. “Cures” for an illness that does not exist. 2012 May 17. (Retrieved on June 24 2013 from here)
  3. “Lebanese Judge Rules Against the Use of Article 534 To Prosecute Homosexuals” Bekhsous. 2009 Dec 28. (Retrieved on June 24 2013 from here)

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Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health

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25 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Dr. Hasan Abdessamad and commented:

    Dear healthcare provider,
    The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health – LebMASH just sent out a press release in response to an interview with psychiatrist Dr. Nabil Khoury about homosexuality. The interview was hosted by Sahar Zoghaib and aired on OTV on June 6 2013.

    Instead of correcting prevalent misconceptions about homosexuality, Dr. Khoury appeared to reinforce stereotypes and propagate myths that has long been scientifically refuted.

    Please read and consider sharing.
    Read in English here: http://lebmash.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/pr2-en
    En Français ici: http://lebmash.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/pr2-fr
    http://lebmash.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/pr2-ar :إقرأ بالعربية هنا

    Thank you for your continued support of our work.
    Hasan Abdessamad, MD FRCSC FACOG
    President, LebMASH

    Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health
    info@LebMASH.org

    facebook.com/LebMASHorg
    twitter.com/LebMASHorg

  2. […] Reblogged from Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health: […]

  3. just a small correction , it was 40 years ago not 30 years ago in 1973 that the A.P.A declassified homosexuality as a mental illness.

  4. Rami says:

    First, thank you for providing a scientific and evidenced response to all the witchcraft that is presented under the guise of science. The so-called Doctor would have been disrated by the scientific community in any civilized country, but alas!

    I would also like to point out that homosexuality has been observed in more than a thousand species of animals, and well documented in hundreds of them. I would like to see the so-called-Dr explain the homosexual tendencies of a lion in terms of its relationship with its mother, or its abuse when it was a cub!

  5. […] statement follows various appearances by medical practitioners on local media, including Dr. Nabil Khoury on prime time TV show, stating that being gay is a disease, which needs to be […]

  6. Kudos to Dr Abdessamad and LebMASH for so forcefully and eloquently correcting this dangerous quack’s horrible disinformation with the medical community in Lebanon! As an RN and LGBT activist in the US since 1975, I would also like to suggest that you send this letter to all news agencies and networks – TV, radio and online – in case they are ever considering broadcasting an interview, panel discussion, special program or documentary utilizing a medical “expert”. It would also be advisable to provide them with a list of LebMASH’s approved experts in the field to contact if they need an expert to interview, or for consultation for any TV specials or documentaries for example. It should be stressed that they are only to use *approved* certified experts on your list. That way the Lebanese media will not be giving airtime to dangerous homophobic quacks like “Dr” Khoury ever again. Thanks and good luck! Ciao!

  7. sammy khalife says:

    I am just curious to know where Nabil Khoury studied and graduated from. He clearly does not know what he is talking about, and even worse, he is unaware of his ignorance. So not only he is simply incompetent, but incompetent with no insight into his incompetence. The worrisome part is not that someone like him is only allowed to mal-practice medicine in Lebanon but also gets the opportunity to publicly preaches his ignorance.

    In 1935 (so 78 years ago), Freud wrote to a mother who had asked him to treat her son’s homosexuality, a letter that would later become famous (was published as Historical Notes: A Letter from Freud in : The American Journal of Psychiatry, April, 1951, 107, No. 10, pp. 786 and 787):
    “I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you why you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime –and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis”.

  8. […] statement follows various appearances by medical practitioners on local media, including Dr. Nabil Khoury on prime time TV show, stating that being gay is a disease, which needs to be […]

  9. […] statement follows various appearances by medical practitioners on local media, including Dr. Nabil Khoury on prime time TV show, stating that being gay is a disease, which needs to be […]

  10. Concerned Lebanese says:

    “We are surprised that Dr. Khoury speaks of a school which considers homosexuality a disease, when 40 years ago, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association, a world leader on mental health, declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders”

    —————————–

    My apologies if I come across as belligerent, but I have some criticism of this article (Which I believe to be poorly researched)

    Did you know that this “world leader on mental health” was actually bullied by gay activists for 3 years before they declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder?

    Moreover, did you know that two FORMER PRESIDENTS of the APA (Robert Perloff & Nicholas Cummings) have accused it of being a biased organization that is swayed by lobbying? Pretty serious stuff.
    .
    Dr. Khoury seems to know about the political correctness running through the veins of the APA and other “objective” organizations.
    You, on the other hand, came across as naive. (Sorry, but it’s true)

    Btw, I am not attacking homosexuality. I am instead hoping you would see the flaws in your arguments.

  11. […] On July 21st 2013, a “Concerned Lebanese”  left the following comment on our post: Response to Dr. Khoury’s interview about homosexuality. […]

  12. Ricardo says:

    I want to tell you my personal experience with Nabil Khoury (I don’t even see him as a Doctor but a Liar that speaks in a diplomatic style and not as a mental health professional). I am a gay men in my twenties that had suffered from OCD if you don’t know what is it you can make a small search. I suffered in my adolescene from OCD from my homosexual tendencies and 6 years passed till I have gone to a mental health professional it was “Nabil Khoury” (hahahha). When i visited him i had made research about my condition and i was aware that i have OCD but only i need help. He told me that homosexuality is not a mental disease but it is not good to be homosexual and he explained to me how homosexuals are effeminate and they are rejected from the society and he told me that if you had sex with women even with prostitutes your tendency will go away (REALLY HE TOLD ME THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!) because he had push me to date girls and i refused so he told me there are on the road here near to the clinic a prostitute that is available at night and he was joking and told me one night the prostitute had made a crush on him on the road and told him to take her!!!! (OHHHHH MY GOD he is so crasy????). I told him after 3 to 4 consultations but i am not straight why your pushing me to this and you have told me that homosexuality is not a mental disease, he replied no some psychological schools consider it a mental disorder (What ?????? he is a liar) and he told me that if a homosexual get into his clinic and ask him this question he will tell him that homosexuality is OK not to offend him (HAHAHHAHAH) but he continues in reality it is a disease. From that time I changed my mental health professional and I am now very happy with my self and i am free from my OCD. I want to tell people be wise in choosing your mental health person and there are many brilliant and professional persons here in Lebanon and they work really really good and can help you to be stronger, wiser, healthy, to choose what is convenient to you to find balance in your life even if some unprofessional people like “Nabil Khoury” that I believe has internal homosexual tendencies that lead him to this homophobic behavior.

  13. […] a lot of misconceptions about homosexuality that he presented as facts. LebMASH responded with a press release that reached LPA and […]

  14. […] Furthermore, sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are still prevalent in Lebanon. There have been several verbal reports about the so-called Reparative or Conversion Therapy to Helem (Lebanon’s largest LGBT rights organization). Mental health professionals have spoken favorably about such practices publicly on TV.10 […]

  15. […] Furthermore, sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are still prevalent in Lebanon. There have been several verbal reports about the so-called Reparative or Conversion Therapy to Helem (Lebanon’s largest LGBT rights organization). Mental health professionals have spoken favorably about such practices publicly on TV.10 […]

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