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Health-care providers and homosexuality in Lebanon: a problematic approach

Health-care providers and homosexuality in Lebanon: a problematic approach

Lebanon has an increasingly open LGBT community which demands acceptance and equality within Lebanese society. A convenient sample of 72 doctors was selected via a physicians’ network from different specialties: obstetrics/gynecology (OB-GYN), family medicine and internal medicine. These doctors practice in urban and semi-urban locations. This was a cross-sectional study and the survey used was written in both English and Arabic. Data collection took place between July and August 2009. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS by chi-square or Fisher’s exact test as appropriate and significance was defined as p< 0.05.

In assessing their attitudes, physicians were asked how they would define homosexuality, most of which said that homosexuality is a disease requiring medical assistance (42 participants; 60.0%) or psychological counseling (51 participants; 72.9%). A minority of physicians had a more positive view, seeing homosexuality as an acceptable behavior (9 participants, 12.9%), a personal preference (20 participants, 28.6%) or a natural orientation (11 participants, 15.7%). Participants had more the option of having more than one definition of homosexuality which is why the percentages do not add up to 100%. Interestingly, physicians practicing in semi-urban (75.9%) areas were more likely to perceive homosexuality as "a disease that needs medical assistance” than those practicing in urban areas (48.8%) (p=0.023).
This construct of homosexuality causes profound health inequalities and obstructed access to health-care for the LGBT community in Lebanon. This discriminatory approach poses a real problem in achieving sexual health and sexual rights.

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Homosexuality, Sexual Rights


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