Hit Up Your MP's! Dr K's Open Letter

Logo from the MP's website:
"Your Voice, for Justice and Freedom"
Will he listen to Dr K's call?
A follower forwarded over to GiB a copy of the open letter he sent to MP Ghassan Moukheiber a few months ago. Dr K chose Moukheiber out of 128 MP's not only because he happens to be the MP for his circonscription, but also because he used to be most open to the LGBT cause, and happens to be a lawyer. The letter is still without a response, so if anyone knows someone who knows someone who knows MP Moukheiber or any of the younger/cooler crowd in Parliament, please circulate!

The text is originally in French, and a secret admirer just provided the English translation in the Comments section :) -- GiB#2

Monsieur le député Moukheiber, 
Je ne suis pas un quelconque activiste, ni un militant pour une cause humanitaire, ni affilié à un quelconque parti politique, je suis tout simplement un citoyen libanais en exil à l'étranger et qui étudie la possibilité d'un éventuel retour à mon pays après mes études. Par cette présente lettre je souhaite exprimer ma tristesse face à une situation qui reste bloquée au Liban depuis des années. Il s'agit du statut juridique de l'homosexualité.

En 1990 , L'Organisation Mondiale de la Santé supprima de sa liste des maladies mentales l'homosexualité. Aujourd'hui , 20 ans plus tard, des homosexuels libanais continuent à être poursuivis pénalement au liban. Quiconque essaie de prouver que l'homosexualité n'existe pas au liban se leurre royalement. Il s'agit d'une orientation naturelle de la sexualité humaine, les psychiatres du monde entier sont aujourd'hui d'accord pour dire qu'aucun traitement ni aucune psychothérapie ne peuvent faire changer l'orientation sexuelle des humains, et qu'elle résulte de l'action conjointe de facteurs hormono-génétiques et environnementales. Le mariage entre hommes qui s'aiment est légal dans plus de 8 pays dans le monde; des dizaines d'autres pays offrent la possibilité d'une union civile et une majorité de pays dans le monde ne condamnent pas cette orientation... Les mentalités évoluent inexorablement. Pourquoi est ce que le Liban est toujours à la traîne dans ce domaine? Pourquoi est ce que la loi 534 continue aujourd'hui  d'exister et d'etre appliquée alors qu'une telle loi discriminante et homophobe ne devrait pas avoir sa place dans un pays démocratique?

Si ce sujet me tient à cœur c'est parce que je suis en couple avec une personne formidable qui est du même sexe que moi. Et à chaque fois que nous rentrons au Liban ensemble, nous réalisons qu'une éventuelle vie dans notre pays est tout simplement impossible. Pourtant je suis citoyen libanais, j'exerce mes droits civiques en tant que citoyen libanais, pourquoi est ce qu'une vie normale me serait impossible dans mon pays? A quand un débat honnête sur ce sujet au Parlement? A quand la suppression totale et définitive de la loi 534? A quand des commissions parlementaires libres non politisées et indépendantes de toute influence politico-religieuse pour faire avancer les choses dans le domaine des droits de l'Homme?

Monsieur le député, la situation des homosexuels au liban est déplorable! L'exclusion pousse à la déviance, la communauté gay au liban ne cesse de se tourner vers des addictions en tout genre y compris vers la drogue, la prostitution et autre pratiques néfastes tant sur le plan physique que moral, pourquoi ne pas tendre la main à ces personnes plutôt que de les exclure? Il est grand temps que notre gouvernement prenne des actions concrètes en notre faveur. Il existe bien d'autres pays arabes (même plus islamiques que le liban) qui n'appliquent pas une telle loi discriminante, tel que la Jordanie.

Monsieur le député , il est grand temps que nos politiciens assument leur responsabilité en prenant des actions concrète pour limiter la fuite de cerveaux! Des centaines d'autres couples homosexuels libanais n'attendent que l'annulation de la loi 534 pour retourner au pays.

Nous attendons tous des actions concrètes en faveur de la liberté et de l'égalité.
En espérant que les choses changent dans ce sens,

Bien à vous ,
Dr K.


Confessions of a Hairy Arab

“Arabs are Hairy”

Without any doubt, this stereotype serves Lebanon's brand equity very well on the meat markets abroad.

What better place to admire bear chested
Lebanese dudes... than the ski slopes in Faraya?!
…if only these admirers who swoon over our body hair, had any idea about the secret struggle of Lebanese guys with their hair, I bet they would find it less sexy!

A struggle that is becoming more obvious by the day: Just looking around at the beach, you can tell two things about Lebanese guys and their hair: One is the demystifying fact that not all Lebanese are hairy, as there are many naturally smooth guys.

And Two, that the concept of shaving and trimming body hair has become commonplace in Lebanon, much as it has abroad, both among gay and straight guys. At last, it is no longer just another superfluous bodily care to label as “gay”, merely as “metro”.

Though one thing that gay guys still love to do much more than others, is to delineate their beard with millimetric precision (tezyi7): This one hair must stay, this one must go, this one I take off with the “string” or the “mousse”, that other one I try to get rid of permanently with laser – There, the perfect beard to go with the perfect eyebrows.

My own experience with body hair reached new heights recently, when I came across an old photo of mine taken at the beach when I was around 22. Taking a closer look at the photo, I could not believe my eyes how little hair I had on my chest at the time: only a few soft little hairs in the center. Little did I know back then what the twenties had in store for me in the hair department: Today, a few years later, I carry a chestful of hair!

Digging more into the issue, I went back to my childhood’s “secret drawer” where I found, along many other weird things from my past, a little plastic jewelry box. Inside it, not your average baby name bracelet: far from it. It contains…

My first pubic hairs!

I must have been in my early teens when I got them, carefully pulled out a few of them, and decided to keep them as a relic, a souvenir. This screams “What the F***?!” and I hear you, but I guess it tells a lot about the fascination of young men with their changing hairiness.

Apparently the teen years and early twenties go by with more of this kind of good surprises, enforced by compliments from hairy men’s lovers.

It’s only later on that things start to take a bad turn. One day around the mid-twenties, the horror happens: You notice you’re starting to grow hair “in the wrong places”. In places where hair simply doesn’t belong. Is it the 21st century way of life, the electromagnetic waves of our cellular world, is it the pesticides, I have no idea what it is…

All I know is I’m not liking these little hairs growing undercover as “duvet” on my shoulders and on my back. And what is it with this incredibly long transparent hair that I busted coming out of my ear?

This brought on my all-out battle against unwanted hair. I was still naïve enough to think I was in power with my little metrosexual arsenal on hand: Costly laser hair removal sessions, torture-like waxing appointments, even these nasty depilatory creams and their most nauseating smell in the world. It’s only a matter of time before one has to capitulate: the time it takes to realize that the enemy hairs are only growing darker, thicker, unsexier.

And because bad news seldom come alone, on another horror day, you notice you haven’t just started to grow hair in the wrong places, but also to lose it “in the right places”. That’s when you look in despair at your dad’s hair – or your uncle’s on your mother’s side if you trust the saying, – trying to get a glimpse at your future baldness.

The Light from Above, the one you get in the elevator or from the bathroom mirror glass, becomes your biggest foe. Suddenly you find yourself paying more attention to the disgusting billboards from hair transplant centers, watching what shampoo you use and buying expensive Minoxidil hair preservation products.

And then one day, Life strikes again, ruthless… with the first white hair. The rebel white hair you dreaded comes out of the lot, you pull out in all self-confidence, telling yourself it must be due to the last horror movie you watched... yeah, right.

-post, pic by GiB#2


Beware Our Boycott Power

From a wall in Gemmayze
There is an email circulating around about one of Gemmayze’s favorite spots, Kayan, refusing to serve drinks to a group of gay guys, and throwing them out of the place with no clear reason why. The note tells the story in detail and calls on a boycott of this place.

Personally, I would tone down the reaction a notch, as I heard that the folks showed up in a large group, loud and without a reservation. Leaves room for a misunderstanding. But still, it’s quite disappointing coming from Kayan who’s always been among the more gay-friendly bars out there…

Kayan, GiB’ll give you another chance, but watch your ass from now on!

Dogs not allowed. Gays not allowed – Rue du Liban – Feb. 1st, 2011

This is not Nazi Germany. This is Beirut’s proud nightlife.

Karim comes in, joins his friends, tries to get the waitress attention to finally ask for an Almaza mexican beer. The night is quiet on rue du liban, in gemmayzeh, on a Tuesday night around 10.30 pm. There are some tables waiting to receive more customers in Kayan, one of gemmayzeh’s supposedly most relaxed bars. Kayan’s crowd is normally diverse, different nationalities, different ages, etc.

This is a story Kayan’s diverse crowd will not appreciate.

Beirut, liberal capital of the middle-east. Gemmayzeh, liberal nightlife quarter of Beirut. Whether this is true or not, one thing is for sure, Kayan still has a long way to go. Or better if it doesn’t get the chance to prove itself. Boycott Kayan.

Around this table of 8 guys in their late 20’s or 30’s calm and cheerful laughter can be heard, stories are shared -a typical night out between friends catching up. Except Karim has been waiting for his beer for about 15 minutes. The waitress comes back empty handed and announces to the guys that it’s the ‘last call’ for alcohol. Anyone would find that strange at 10.30 pm in Gemmayzeh. Karim asks nicely if he could still get his drink since he ordered it 15 min ago and Gilbert asks for a last Vodka. The barman is busy mixing more drinks, people are still coming in, the request for a drink didn’t seem out of place. The waitress comes back, stressed, nervous and having difficulty making a sentence “I’m sorry but there’s no more last call, we are closing down early tonight.” The poor waitress lookshopeless, turns around and walks away before any questions are asked. Three minutes later, another waiter drops the bill on the table and says “We are closing down. Can you please pay and leave.” The two barman are still making drinks. The place is packed, as usual, people are still coming in. Something’s strange. Alessandro leans towards a regular of the bar to tell him what’s going on. He confirms what any sensible person refuses to believe “I’m sorry to say this guys but it’s their diplomatic way of being homophobes”.

In shock, humiliated and embarrassed, 8 men find themselves at the door of Kayan in total disbelief of what just happened.

The clerk from Somalia is sent out to bugger off the fairies. In vain of the clerk's effort to shut the fairies up, the big bold headed manager finally shows up, in his white barmen outfit, asks them to leave and keep quiet not to bother the neighbors. When confronted about kicking out gays, the big bold headed straight man goes back into his cave behind his bar.

What’s next? A “Gays not allowed” sign on half of Gemmayzeh’s bars?
-- by GiB#2.

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