Originally published on Hummus For Thought on May 3rd 2012.
AUB Outlook has degraded itself by allowing a homophobic article to be published in this month’s issue. Not only is it extremely poor in content but it is filled with hatred, pseudo-facts and just plain stupidity.
The article, written by Mohamad Sibai, starts by telling us that he was bothered at the sight of an apparently homosexual couple holding hands along Hamra Street. “The sight was disturbing”, he says “Call me sexist, call me whatever you like, I couldn’t get that image out of my head for the whole day”, not knowing perhaps the definition of sexism. Mohamad, when you read this, please know that sexism is gender discrimination, not sexual orientation discrimination. The word you’re looking for is “homophobic” – See Wikipedia’s article on homophobia for further information – but, in your defense, both require the same level of intellectual integrity.
The piece continues by claiming that “homosexuality has always been a controversial subject in the world”. This should lead us to think that being part of a controversy means both sides have something valid to say. Not true. The theory of evolution is said to be in a controversy versus the medieval superstitious belief of creationism. This is an irrelevant point to make if one is to debate the theory of evolution. One must bring forth evidence and make a case. Something creationists have no idea how to do. Similarly, one can say that women’s rights is a “controversy” in Saudi Arabia but, I hope, that would not be an acceptable argument against it.
He then quotes the Bible and Qur’an and mentions that all three Abrahamic religions are against homosexuality. True. They are also against shellfish eating and working on the sabath, which is also punishable by stoning to death (Exodus 31:14). The Bible and Qur’an are irrelevant when making moral claims. Why? Because it presupposes that one believes their infallibility and seeks to impose one worldview on others. I reject that premise. If you wish to believe that the Bible or the Qur’an is the infallible word of a certain deity, you are free to do so. But you have no rights whatsoever to tell me how to behave unless you bring forth evidence that what I am doing is hurting others.
As for homosexuality, the evidence is clear and available to any educated man or woman who gives enough of a damn to look it up. It is not a psychological disorder. It is not unnatural (my dog is gay). It is not harmful. Similarly, heterosexuality is not a psychological disorder. It is not unnatural (my other 3 dogs are straight). It is not harmful. There is not a single shred of evidence that would suggest anything else.
Many couples around the world are homosexual couples. That’s quite an obvious thing to say, I know. But somehow homophobic pseudo-intellectuals seem to forget that not only do they exist but many of them are actually parents. I challenge anyone on the homophobic side to bring forth a single shred of evidence pointing towards a relationship between homosexual parents and psychological disorders in children. Yes, I will repeat “a single shred of evidence” again later on. I have met 4 homosexual parents who have children (either one of the partners had a child from a previous marriage before discovering his or her homosexuality or they simply adopted – some countries have reached that level of civilization) and they’re better parents than bigots will ever be.
Homosexuality is not a thing, nor is it as choice. It is not a phenomenon, nor an event. It just is. In the same way as heterosexuality is both a form of love and of sex, so is homosexuality and so is bisexuality. The only reason why it seems like people are debating about something is that these people are not used to having their worldviews challenged. They are made of the same cloth as those who refused to believe that the sun does not revolve around the earth, that human beings share common ancestry with other living things, that people of color are actually human beings (I swear it’s true!) and that women are not below the level of men (perhaps Mohamad disagrees with that as well).
There has never been a time in history when evidence suggesting blacks were inferior to whites existed. Never. There has always been pseudo-science and nothing else. The difference? Science deals with hard cold facts. Pseudo-science deals with unprovable claims and mumbo jumbo. Similarly, there never was a time when men were justified in treating women as sub-humans and mere sex objects. And also similarly, there never was anything that suggested that being gay is akin to mental disability. All there ever was was insufficient evidence. We don’t have that problem anymore. We’re living in the year 2012 where information is relatively easy to be accessed. We now know as pure fact what I have just written.
The highest level of stupidity is reached when Mohamad says “I mean, let’s stop for a minute and say that it was okay to be gay all over the world and have a chain around a man’s neck and have him dragged around. The pair (if not more) would never have offspring, the rate of STDs would skyrocket, and any morality that society still had would disappear amongst a myriad other plights.” This is beyond any level of absurdity possible. It portrays homosexuality as somehow being spreadable like HIV. A straight man cannot become gay anymore that a gay man can become straight.
Furthermore, STD is spread by HIV which is spread by unprotected sex. Unprotected sex, whether it be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, a threesome or a full-scale orgy. STDs are already skyrocketting. And we know exactly why. Again, anyone who gives a damn can look it up. As for the never having offspring. I’m not too sure I want any either and I’m pretty sure I’m straight. That’s not an argument.
As for morality, Mr. Mohamad is ill-placed to even mention the word. A society that discriminates based on gender, color or sexual orientation is an immoral society, and not the other way around.
“The point is, religion has done well in keeping society working well and efficiently in a respectable manner. God has set the rules for us to abide by, not to make life hard on us, but to make it better and easier.”
Perhaps it is time for the religious people of the world to realize that they are living with other human beings. I am an Atheist. I do not recognize your morality nor do I recognize any deity that you wish to impose upon me. Religion is like a penis, keep it to yourself and don’t shove it down other people’s throats.
Mohamad ends by mentioning Russia as if that were relevant in any way. I have demonstrated how his arguments are in fact pseudo-arguments and I need not go any further.
Dear Ibrahim (Diab),
Thank you for your very lucid arguments in your email. I do fully share your sentiments and I will take up this matter with the editor-in-chief of Outlook. Bigotry should have no place at AUB and certainly must not be allowed to shelter under free speech.
Talal Nizameddin, PhD
Dean of Student Affairs
The LGBT Media Monitor received a personal response from Lojine Kamel, the current Editor-in-Chief of Outlook about the controversy:
“I would like to personally apologize to the LGBTQ community and readers about the offensive nature of this article. I personally did not edit this article, and realize that it was a poor decision to publish it in it’s crude form. Outlook will be issuing its own formal statement in our next issue and will be publishing a spread of responses directed toward this article. Thank you all for your cooperation and consideration.”
We thank Lojy Kamel for the very respectful response