Visitors to Lebanon talk about a gay culture but what most of them see is just gay consumerism
By Diamond Walid:
Beirut has been labelled the Paris, sometimes the Switzerland, of the Middle East. According to one recent New York Times article, it is now the region's Provincetown (the Cape Cod resort favoured by gay visitors). This ever-changing city seems to have become a mirror where people project their own fantasies.
In an article in the New York Times on August 2, 2009, entitled "Beirut, Provincetown of the Middle East," Patrick Healy details his personal encounters and experiences during a trip to Beirut. In this travel-style article, Healy not only narrates his endeavors in what he baptized the "party-capital of the Middle East," but also makes conclusions that incensed gays and gay rights activists in Beirut.
Westhampton, MA - August 5, 2009
I just finished reading (again) the lead article in the Sunday New York Times (August 2, 2009) travel section about Gay Beirut (Lebanon) entitled “Provincetown of the Middle East”.
My reaction is mixed. It’s affirming to see the nation’s leading ‘paper of record’ giving so much ink to the ‘homosexual lifestyle’. It wasn’t always so, even as recently as a decade ago. Today, the Times even prints announcements for same-gender marriages and commitment ceremonies.
Ex-Gay Movement: What is it?
Imagine this scenario: Some seventeen year old boys are handcuffed by their own parents and dragged to a camp where they are promised to be cured from their “mental disease;” their homosexual orientation. The “curative techniques” consist of being electrocuted, drugged, and having the “gay beaten out of them.” After a month of this “reparative therapy”, the once homosexual boys are thought to be ex-gays; meaning, they are no longer homosexual but have once again become heterosexual. This, in a nutshell, is the basic premise of the ex-gay movement.
After the substantial local and international media attention Helem has received following its appearance on New TV’s interactive talk show Al Hal Bi Eeddak and its public event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in May, it was expected that some backlash would occur from regressive and homophobic opponents of Helem's fight for the civil liberties of LGBT people.