(Note: in that headline, I almost said “ferret out”, which would’ve delighted the handful of wingnuts who occasionally stop by to leave me messages.)
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Lebanon, but the law forbidding it isn’t frequently enforced. That’s not especially surprising: Lebanon has strong ties to LGBT-friendly Europe — especially France — and compared to other countries with large Muslim populations, Lebanon is very socially progressive.
But on occasion, people are arrested on suspicion of being gay, and for law enforcement to prove its case, suspects have frequently been subjected to anal exams, which are somehow meant to identify gay men by measuring the anus and rectum. This is exactly what happened to 35 men following a recent raid on an adult theatre in Beirut. (That raid, FYI, was allegedly triggered by an MTV host in Lebanon, Joe Maalouf, whom LGBT activists claim is a closet case. Big surprise.)
ANYWAY, the good news is that media reports about the exams generated a huge backlash among the public, and Lebanon’s Order of Physicians has now told the country’s doctors that they can no longer carry out anal exams:
The Order of Physicians issued a circular Tuesday telling doctors they will face disciplinary measures if they carry out anal examinations ordered by the judiciary intended to provide evidence of homosexuality.
“Such techniques do not give the desired result and constitute a gross violation of the rights of persons who are subject to it without their consent,” the circulation, which is signed by the head of the Order, Sharaf Abu Sharaf reads.
“The practice is humiliating and is torture in violation of the [United Nations] Convention Against Torture. Therefore, we ask you to avoid carrying out any similar action under penalty of disciplinary prosecution.”
The Justice Ministry, which also carries out the exams, has issued its own memo telling law enforcement agents that they can only conduct the exams with the consent of those arrested. But in a weird catch-22, failing to give consent can be used as evidence of homosexuality.
Hopefully, this will all be cleared up soon, as the Lebanese government considers revamping the country’s laws and legalizing homosexuality, period. Then we can all go back to really important things, like daydreaming about Francois Sagat and Collin O’Neal.