It seems like all aspects of American culture are being exported….
An Egyptian doctor opened up a clinic to treat gay men (and not for diseases, but for homosexuality) and has come under a lot of fire. His clinic is standard ex-gay fare (from al Arabiya):
Dr. Awsam Wasfi, 42, offers a “treatment program” for gays that focuses on boosting their self-esteem and enhancing their communication skills, as well as encouraging them to play sports and work on their religious beliefs.
Did he just steal the idea from But I’m a Cheerleader? Or maybe the Obama campaign:
According to Wasfi, many of his patients are unhappy with being gay and are looking for a way out: “Lots of them want to be treated, but their problems are met with scorn. When society rejects them, they feel desperate and lose hope in changing their situation.”
And he proves that he has the Exodus message down:
When asked whether homosexuality is genetic or acquired, Wasfi replies, “No child is born homosexual. It is either social or as a result of some childhood sexual abuse.“
Well, it’s the start towards something. Conservatives in Egypt don’t like the sound of his clinic because it’s too lenient on the gays:
Conservatives said the clinic is a form of leniency towards people who they view as apostates who should be persecuted.[…]
Wasfi denied that his clinic is a meeting place for gays, saying that he has strict rules against that: “I actually kicked some of them out, yet many came back after realizing the real purpose of the clinic.”
Others even accused Wasfi of being gay himself and using the clinic to meet other gays. “I am married with two kids, and I have pictures with them everywhere in the clinic,” Wasfi said.
There are a few gay rights activists that have criticized the clinic and the doctor for their obvious homophobia, calling him “backward” and “ignorant”.
What I’m surprised by, though, is just how Western this whole enterprise is. Wasfi wrote his own book on ex-gayism, but he pretty much parroting the Exodus line on ex-gay treatment. He includes the child abuse lines, the teaching of gender roles, the only treating “unhappy” gays line. This is interesting to me, because ex-gayism in the US was developed to justify homophobia against a strong, Western narrative of individual rights by using our bizarrely accepted culpability loophole in that narrative. Egypt, considering the violent crackdown on gay men in the past decade there, doesn’t seem to have an issue with a strong or widely supported gay rights movement. There just doesn’t seem to be much need for an ex-gay clinic in Egypt when sexuality is being policed by the state already.
Maybe that’s why he just can’t please anyone in the country.