Cancel Insight's Homophobic Event
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**The Gender and Sexuality Club is making available online a private email that we wrote and was co-signed by other clubs. For the purpose of letting the AUB Campus voice their opinion on this issue in the form of a petition**
To whom it may concern,
We are contacting you in protest to express deep concern and shock over the developing events at AUB.
Last Thursday, a Facebook event went online advertising the upcoming panel talk hosted by the AUB Insight Club on Thursday, March 23, 5:00 PM at the Issam Fares Auditorium. This talk will allegedly handle the topic of “Homosexuality and the Challenges of Modernity”. The word ‘homosexuality’ was written between quotation marks, clearly denouncing the term.
It was with frustration that we learned that the panelists, Dr. Rafaat Mikati and Dr. Raef Rida, invited to talk about this issue have previously raised much concern over their harmful and dangerous allegations.
Both of these medical practitioners have highly problematic views and work ethics, which contradict international and domestic recommendations, and are not in line with scientific advancements in Psychology and Psychiatry over the last few decades.
While an open-dialogue is essential for a productive campus, we are extremely hurt that such an event is taking place for the following reasons:
Dr. Raef Rida, a trained Urologist but a self-described “medical sexologist”, is no friend of open-dialogue; in his recent book, he targeted “homosexuales” whom he believes suffer from a mental and sexual disorder that necessitates extreme therapy that is comparable to torture. On several occasions, he championed the need to use Behavioral Therapy to “cure homosexuality” as well as, alarmingly, Shock Therapy.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. The American Psychological Association followed a year later. The World Health Organization (WHO) wrote in 1990 “In none of its individual manifestations does homosexuality constitute a disorder or an illness and therefore it requires no cure”. In 2012, a largely influential advocate of “reparative therapy”, Dr. Spitzer, abandoned his own position on the practice.
Almost two decades later, in 2013, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) released a position statement declaring, “Homosexuality is not a disease” and warning that “attempts to change one’s sexual orientation can be harmful”.
The Lebanese Psychiatric Association has endorsed the statement along with Helem during the same event. They published a statement that read “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated”. Furthermore, the statement clearly articulates that sexual orientation is non-reversible.
All major mental health organizations worldwide warn against the use of conversion or reparative therapy in light of the results of a report by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (2009). The recommendations made by the Task Force clearly stated that efforts to change sexual orientation are harmful.
The American University of Beirut Medical Centre (AUBMC), in line with these findings, bans the use of reparative or conversion therapy.
Meanwhile, the Insight Club has invited a speaker who, in a book he authored, claims that homosexuality is a form of “deviance”, that there are “six levels of homosexuality”, and that “behavioural therapy which does not exclude electric shock therapy” has a 40% “success rate” in changing the sexual orientation of “patients”.
The other panelist, Dr. Raafat Mikati, is known for being a staunch opponent of civil marriage, gender equality, and even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He believes that the legalization of civil marriage is the introduction to a "Secular State" and what he fears the most is the legalization of same sex marriage.
Here is a poem in which he put too much effort and that resumes his ideology: sexist, misogynist, and homophobic.
The fact that Student Affairs approved a club’s proposal for an event during which pseudoscientific and false information is going to be preached to students on campus is alarming. This event is harmful to student life in AUB and poses a danger to LGBTQIA+ people across the campus who have to once again validate their right to exist in the face of violence including constant harassment, bullying and physical aggression. Violent discriminatory theoretical practise in the name of science which has been revealed as such by experts should simply have no place at an institution which supposedly values academic integrity, research, and scientific progress. This is not the sort of lecture that ought to occur and be criticized on the spot due to considerations of freedom of speech, as it infringes on the liberty of other community members. This sort of lecture should necessarily be cancelled, and followed by an official apology to the whole community.
In expectation of your prompt attention to this matter,
The Gender and Sexuality Club - AUB
The Red Oak Club - AUB
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