Rant Disclaimer: If you are looking for an objective and politically correct response to the Jerry Springer-esque circus I recently witnessed, then don’t read this post. Seriously, don’t. I just need to exorcise the demons that have possessed me after watching A7mar Bel Khat El3areed, so if you don’t like it, blog me. I’m considering suing LBC for irreparable emotional distress and the damage I inflicted on my TV as a result of throwing my Labneh sandwich at it, tomatoes and all.

As we all know, any show done thus far about any topic related to the LGBT community in the Middle East has been a complete disaster, designed only to parade around “the freaks” without even scratching the surface of the issues, for the enjoyment of all to boost the show’s ratings, so my expectations were very low to begin with. Miraculously, the show managed to reach a new low, so Bravo Malik Maktabi.

The cast guests of this grand production include the “objective” show host, played by Malik Maktabi, the “sympathetic” psychologist, played by Dr. Azoor, the “lost” boy, played by Omar from Egypt, the token effeminate queer, played by Lebanese Alfred, the Algerian butch played by Dawiya, the I-only-dated-women-because-I-never-had-access-to-men lady from Saudi Arabia, Hania. Ok I admit it’s the first time I’ve seen a woman from the Gulf talk about this, but I wish they had shown a more positive example too.

Now before I tear this b@#ch up, I must admit that the guests are really brave for going on national television and openly discussing their personal experiences in such a hostile environment, with the host clearly leading them on to answer in a way to support his conclusion of proving that homosexuality is an abomination/root of all evil/causes gingivitis etc. So hats off to you.

I really cannot pinpoint who infuriated me the most. We have the naïve anchor, Malek Maktabi, prancing around proclaiming himself to be “objective” while I can see the hatred and judgment shoot out of his beady eyes like laser beams. Are you really going to pretend that this is an objective show showing both sides of the story, even though all your guests and resident doctor were handpicked to portray a certain point?

In addition to his obviously homophobic stance, our dear host seems disturbingly hung up on the sexual aspects of being gay, constantly pressuring the guests to reveal the how’s of their sex lives. It quickly became clear that the show’s purpose was not information but titillation. Tight camera shots of the host’s face as he panted out his constant line of, “What about the sex? Did you have sex?” made me wonder if they focused on his powdered smug face to avoid his obvious hard-on.

Or maybe it was the “sympathetic” psychologist, Dr. Azoor who contradicts herself in a consistent rhythm; Homosexuality is not a disease. There’s a cure. Homosexuality has been removed from all the psychology/sociology disorders references. Homosexuals just need rehabilitation, I mean re-guidance. Well call me crazy, but why would something that you just said wasn’t a disorder or a disease need re-habilitation or re-guidance. Back to where exactly? Please enlighten me.

Oh and what has to be my favorite Dr. Azoor statement, Homosexuality in men results from a distant and/or abusive father or an overbearing mother. Lesbians just suffer from penis envy. Oh doctor, my doctor. Please do me a favor, woman to woman. How about not perpetuating the macho male fantasy that all females are jealous and secretly want to have a penis? Personally, I don’t know how men walk around with these things; I love my vagina thank you very much.

Later on in the show, Dr. Azoor discusses the nature vs. nurture debate and her conclusion? Natural tendencies don’t play a role unless they are provoked or influenced by events or the environment and experiences that the person goes through. Our lovely anchor provokes her further and asks what do you say to people who say they were born this way, to which she replies, its just a comfort for them to say that but Nurture ultimately trumps nature. So by this distorted logic, lets just ignore the decades of research showing the 3-10% of the population identify as gay and lesbian, and never mind studies that have shown homosexual tendencies in advanced species like monkeys and dolphins, and current research that aims to isolate the gay gene or combination of genes. It is ultimately the environment that determines a person’s sexual orientation and it is ultimately a choice. Now why would I choose to be a target for parental disapproval, societal excommunication, and additional challenges, when I can just choose to be straight? Thanks for perpetuating the myth that we are gay because we weren’t raised “right”. I’m sure that is a great comfort to the parents of gay and questioning teens.

Maybe it was Omar, clearly a flaming homo, who says that he is seeking redemption as he was “lost” but now he’s going back to the “right” path. Omar says that he will go back to men if he doesn’t find the “perfect” woman that he envisions and dreams of. At which point, to the horror of everyone, Malik asks him if this picture of the perfect woman looks like his mother. WTF? We have entered a weird incest zone people.

Well Omar, all I have to say is good luck with that. Because the Haifa Wehbe-Angelina Jolie-Jessica Beals mutant goddess you envision in your horn dog adolescent fantasies DOES NOT EXIST. Believe me; if she did exist I would be dating her. (I can dream, can’t I?)

Omar says his dad is distant and very aggressive and that’s why he’s gay because his dad doesn’t take any interest in his life even though he is not doing anything wrong. Also his friends influenced him and peer pressured him into having a gay-a-thon of “wrongness” with them, before backtracking to say that being gay is OK, unless it’s him apparently.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but lots of kids grow up with a distant parent and face peer pressure, and as far as I can tell from the nights my single gay friends spend alone, these kids didn’t all grow up to become gay pride paraders.

So Omar was not born gay his father/mother/friends/cat, made him gay. Maybe that is some people’s experience but I’m really sick and tired of the old adage: He’s gay = he was abused as a child. She’s gay = her father was distant or her mother was overbearing. What a load of dusty crap! Seriously if you are going to argue against homosexuality, give me something fresh, mix it up a little. Common be creative. Like say, being gay turns people into human magnets because all that butt sex makes you so static that everything you touch just sticks to you with a high magnetism that you can’t control. That would at least be amusing.

Of course, Malik was outraged that Omar thinks he is not doing anything wrong, and revealed that Omar will share his secret for the first time and went to commercial. Oooohhh Ahhhhh. Idiot.

[After the break] Malik: Do you still want to announce your secret or you want to announce something else? Don’t flatter yourself Malik you didn’t cause some epiphany for our poor little lost boy, please get over yourself your splattering ego all over the inside of my TV screen (Ill just add that to LBC’s bill). God, what a douche bag.

The studio audience didn’t really add anything new to the discussion, with their comments limited to the classic this is against all religions and people are not born gay but they become gay from certain influences and circumstances and people must fight against it.

Dawiya from Algeria was the only rational person here who is also coming out to her parents on national television (which I find questionable) saying that I’m just looking for love and I hope they will accept me for who I am. I love men, they are my brothers, father, friends.

The highlight of the show for me wasn’t a guest, or even an audience member for that matter, it was a Lebanese caller from Qatar who was trying to share his experience that he was a Lebanese gay man in a healthy relationship and he is out to his family and friends and even at work (which I found unbelievably inspiring), before he was rudely interrupted by our darling host. So what does Malik do when he gets a call from someone who is a living example that gays are normal people with jobs and can find acceptance in their lives? Cut him off and go to the crazy lady calling from Saudi Arabia cursing everyone with eternal damnation.

Every time we take a step forward we are pulled back by the bungee cord of ignorance held by nitwits like this bunch.

The bottom line? There is no right or wrong answer as each person’s experience is different. But to claim that your show will present an objective view of homosexuality in the Middle East and then go on to show only one side of the story and invite guests who’s personal experience ultimately confirms your distorted and delusional point of view and screening calls to only air those who support your aforementioned conclusion is an affront to journalism.

Despite the show’s disastrous effects, the show did generate a healthy discussion between my semi-homophobic straight friends and I (who I’m not out to) about gay people and transgendered people and the nature VS nurture question. But ultimately the negative impact and damage that this show inflicted on the gay community far outweigh the minuscule benefits. Not to mention that I am down one Television set.


  1. Anonymous // 1 July 2009 at 03:42  

    I really enjoyed reading this article!
    Thank you for your insight. I would love to have watched the show myself, but like you, I'm sure that at the end of the program my T.V set would have the sign RIP on it.

    It is rather embarasing that people like Malek are allowed to be on Television. Not only do they promote negative ideas and images to the world, but, they make all Arabs look ignorant and ill educated.

    We are no longer living in primitive times, however the majority of the peoples thinking continues to be stuck in the past,and this is ofcourse due to the brain washing of programs such as these.

    Malek, if you come across these blogs, I have some advice for you,
    give up your day job and focus on something constructive where people don't have to hear your opinion, I suggest you become a gardener, perhaps the beauty of nature will inspire you to accept the beauty of God's creations.
    If not, then I hope the smell of manure will numb your senses, in the same respect that your opinions numb those people who fight to be treated in the same way as everyone else!

  2. Walid // 7 July 2009 at 10:20  

    Thumbs up...
    you definitely made my day...