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Homophobia is everywhere.
My mother tells me, it is ok to be gay, “tab khalas, ma lezim tkhabbir 7adan, 3eesh 7ayetak, ma 7ada ilo ma3ak bas ma 7ada lezim ya3rif.” (Arabic for “Fine, but you don’t have to tell anyone. Live your life. It is no one’s business but no one needs to know”)
What she does not know is that even if I hide my homosexuality the society is not hiding its homophobia.
I have to listen to Nidal Al-Ahmadieyyeh launching a brutal attack on me in Al-Jaras reinforcing stereotypes that even my loving family falls a victim to. I have to hear newly elected Maronite Patriarch Bechara El Raii diagnosing me (I happen to be a physician) that I am mentally ill. While my parents and friends laugh I hurt listening to homophobic degrading jokes by LOL on OTV. The list goes on.
My mother is homophobic. When she tells me she still loves me even though I am gay, I tell her I also “love the sinner” but hate her sin. I will not quit though, I will continue to discuss this matter with her to dispel all myths and rid her of this socially acquired disease. Thanks to Helem for publications like Rihab Al Mithliyya (Arabic for Homophobia), being the only reference I could find in the only language my mom can read.
Signed: “Your typical Lebanese gay/lesbian physician, and there are plenty of us.”