It seems that the most successful business strategies for modern Arab media is to give their audience what they want to hear regardless of how much truth is there in their statements. LBC, the Lebanese broadcasting channel, has been trying to penetrate the gulf area and gain more user base for sometime now. Homosexuality is becoming more and more of an interest topic for people in the Arab world in general and in the gulf area in particular.
Because of the controversial nature of the issue and the religious dimension of it, people usually have strong feelings towards it. With the lack of real knowledge of what homosexuality really is, misconceptions strive around it. For LBC and other unprofessional Arab media channels, what would be better? Build upon these misconceptions and gain popularity? Or do some small scientific research, give the audience an objective scientific opinion and risk gaining anger and losing market ground? The former is a wiser choice, no? That is at least how people behind ‘a7mar bel khat el 3areed’ (Red in a broad line) seem to think.
The episode aired last Wednesday meant to concentrate on Arab homosexuals and their surroundings, as what one would understand from the title of the episode. Unfortunately, what seemed to be the focus of the editorial team, the host, and the lousy counselor, is highlighting the misconceptions about homosexuality and give an affirmative tone for every wrong popular theory about the cause of homosexuality in the Arab world.
The four people they hosted, two men, and two women (from different Arab countries), barely admitted being homosexuals! All what they confirmed is having same sex relationships at some point of their life and then stating confidently that they are attracted to the opposite sex! So what the heck! They bring straight people to testify in an episode meant to highlight homosexuals and their surroundings?!!
Following are the misconceptions of the causes of homosexuality that the show host tried to focus on:
1.Children sexual abuse: Like in the case of the Lebanese guy who claimed that he has a same sex relationship because he was sexually abused in his childhood, oddly enough, he stated that he is attracted to women and that he even wears jewelry to attract women towards him!
The truth: There is no scientific proof that sexual abuse causes an alteration of sexual orientation. Statistics shows that 1 out of 4 children is subjected to some form of sexual molestation/abuse one way or another. If sexual abuse causes homosexuality, then we would end up with 25% of the population to be gay, which is not the case.
2.Lack of an opposite sex partner: The Saudi woman claimed that she had a same sex relationship with another woman because she didn’t have a male partner to have sex with. She said that she isn’t attracted to women and love men – regardless of their betrayal nature!
The truth: Sexual attraction is what triggers sexual relationships. Having sex with someone you have no sexual attraction toward is more like a punishment rather than a pleasure fulfillment. What really happens in strongly segregated societies is that people with slight same sex attraction tendencies find it easier to act on their feelings where they wouldn’t do that in normal circumstances. There many bi-sexual people with different degrees of attraction to either sex.
3. Lack of a father model: The claim of the Egyptian young boy. He said that his father works as a pilot and that his relationship with his father is bad. The counselor – mistakenly – tried to analyze how a young boy needs to man role model in his life and that with the lack of one he tries to attract other men to fill that role!
The truth: A lot of people are raised without a father (Either because of divorce or death). While not having a father might cause different emotional troubles, it doesn’t affect one sexual orientation. It is wrong to assume that every divorced family’s children would turn up to be homosexuals.
While a lot of people in the Arab world may lack the knowledge of a certain issue or another at this point of time, and while we are yet to catch on the culture of the importance of knowledge, it is upon our media duty to research and study and to raise the awareness of people. We are at the age of information, with small internet research; the credibility of a respectful channel would just disappear!