Lebanese Psychiatric Society makes unprecedented statement against gay conversion therapy

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Lebanon’s Psychiatric Society has declared that being gay is not a mental disorder and does not require treatment, making it the first Arab country in the Middle East to do so.

The Society issued the statement in response to allegations of arrest and mistreatment of LGBT people in Lebanon.

“Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgement, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities,” it said, reports The Lebanon Daily Star.

“The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.”

In June, Human Rights Watch revealed abuse, torture and ill-treatment of both trans and gay people by Lebanese internal security forces, including physical violence, intimidation, humiliation, and forced confessions.

In 2012, it was also revealed how Lebanese security authorities imposed a crackdown on a gay cinema in Beirut, arresting 36 male attendees and performing anal probes on them.

Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature”, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.

Meanwhile, on Friday, more than 40 different LGBT groups along with trade union organisations the TUC and Unison called on the UK Government to ban gay conversion therapy in a petition heading to Parliament.

The discredited medical practice has been described as “harmful” by the UK Department of Health – although some therapists still seek to provide the treatment – through referrals by GPs.