Jordan’s Psychiatrists between science, religion and social expectations!

I realize that many people in Jordan seek alternative medicine when modern medicine fails them either out of desperation or maybe believing a word of mouth or religious belief. They usually do so knowing that going to a “Sheikh” for a religious healing has nothing to do with science. The problem is, when it is the other way around. When you go to a psychiatrists and diagnose you out of religious and social beliefs, ignoring all of the scientific findings and recommendations that he/she built his/her credibility on.

This is clearly the case when it comes to homosexuals in Jordan where many of them seek a *professional* help in order to fight their same sex attraction for they reject it themselves usually out of religious and social reasons. The general stand of psychology today is that there is no proven therapy that can alter one’s sexual orientation safely and effectively. What psychiatrists can do in this case is try to lead their patients into accepting themselves and deal with their inner social and religious conflicts.

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Red in a broad line on LBC: Arab homosexuals and their surroundings

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!

The bright side of homosexuality in Jordan

The general stand on homosexuality and its moral aspects from a religious/belief point of view is onething, and trying to build on people’s moral emotions by a bad journalist and an out-dated homophobic doctor is a totally another thing.

Journalism and Medicine are two dangerous important fields that affect people’s lifes closely. When a daily newspaper as Al Ghad publishes an article that doesn’t differenciate between a homosexual, transexual and a prostitute, and generalize in a way that is far away from truth, one would really wonder about the professionalism of our media and the how much we can rely on such newspapers for a credible news?

Is it good that homosexuality helps us realize how professional are our journalists?

It is even more dangerous when you apply it to Medicine. People’s lives are in the line here. There should be no room for corruption in the medical field. People like the claimed Dr. Abed Al Hameed Al Qudah should be accountable for what they say.

For a guy who has a PH.D degree from the UK as he stated in his research, and one who is specialized in infectus diseases (I have no idea how that give him credibility to talk about homosexualiy) and is holding a position as the manager of the specialized labs in Irbid, the expectations of professionality and credibility should be high.

But then again, reading through comprehensive research one would immediatly realize that the guy is backing scientific methods in treating homosexuality that has been discredited in the scientific community more than 30 years ago!

What measures do we have in Jordan to ensure that doctors follow the latest medical findings? Is there something one can do when he goes to a doctor that applies a dangerous outdated treatement on him that causes him more harm than good? Is it the time where the government should be asked to come up with more regulations and survaillance over the medical field to ensure a higher level of professionalism? Isn’t that more important to us -the Jordanian citizens- than following effiminate men in the streets?!

Is it good that homosexuality helps us realize how professional are our doctors?

It is time to stand up for the truth and don’t let some unprofessional people build on our emotions to succeed in a louzy work. Be clear about your morals, but be clear as well about following your work ethical guidlines, for us the Jordanian citizens are not naive anymore, the internet is full of information.