Women’s Health: The Stigma of Menstruation

As an Arab woman, I have suffered from the stigma associated with menstruation in general in addition to a severe chronic endometriosis which incapacitated me several days, sometimes weeks every month. In fact, the assumption that menstruation should be painful and women are expected to go through it without complaining, suppressed me from seeking treatment for a long tome.

When the pain became debilitating, I was faced with additional stigma from male gynecologists who either did not appreciate the situation I was in, or did not know enough about the disease and its implications on my life. They prescribed medication that only made my condition worse without taking into consideration its impact on my life, subsequently my quality of life deteriorated dramatically.

It was only 20 years into my silent suffering that I was able to find a female gynecologist in the United States who prescribed the right treatment to my condition.

She listened and proposed to me a variety of options that none of my previous doctors discussed with me.

Between the stigma of menstruation, the obsession with female pre-marriage virginity and family interference in women’s health choices, most of the options I she proposed to me were off the table for Lebanese doctors, guardians of sexist traditions that confine women to chronic pain!

We need more female doctors who understand the woman body intuitively, who experience the pain associated with menstruation, and who are not afraid of breaking taboos and prescribing the treatment that saves lives and improves their quality as opposed to treatments confined by cultural assumptions, traditional approaches to menstruation and the pain associated with it.

Here is an article in the Times by Activist and Actor Meghan Markle and her work around the world the alleviate the stigma around menstruation.


No, Wanting to Date & Have Sex Doesn’t Make Lebanese Women Whores

and today I feel vindicated…

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares


It’s 2017 and we’re still talking about this, but then again what can you expect when one of your country’s “liberal” TV stations is more conservative than America’s Fox News?

Earlier today, following this viral blog post, MTV decided to take part of the crusade against the seriously bad show on LBCI called Take Me Out.

Whilst the blogpost they tried to copy was somewhat conservative in tone as is the writer who penned it, a relative of mine whom I respect enormously, MTV took it to another extreme by calling the women on the show, without explicitly saying the word, whores.

This happened after a guy took off his shirt on TV. So the women got the short end of the stick? If you don’t get it, don’t even try.


To them, being on a TV show about dating and wanting to go out on dates or –…

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Academia, Love Me Back

It’s not only race at play here, it’s also misogyny and a bunch of bias and feers!
Viva Tiffany, these should be reasons why you will not quit and why your place in academia will make a difference.
Last night, I had a conversation with female Middle East Scholars who were discribing the misogyny, patriarchy and lack of ethics among the male scholars in the field. How they undermine women, abuse their position to build on others research and work, and ostracize those who are too humble or too proud to make a scene. I am sick of it!


My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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Once Again Lebanon Defends Homophobia

LGBT-protestLebanon’s response to the Universal Period Review (UPR) recommendations on LGBT rights is very disappointing and full of lies and misleading arguments.

The Lebanese law enforcement apparatus continue to exercise violence, intimidation, arrests and violations against LGBT people based on the suspicion of their non hetero sexual orientation. Arrests have been documented last year and this year of over 30 people (those are the ones we know of) many of whom were exploited, tortured and humiliated.

The representative of the ministry of justice should be ashamed from such a response that is inhumane, misleading, full of lies and classifies same-sex relations as un-natural and portrays the “light sentencing” of misdemeanor as just and fair. The response also fails to point out that the two heroic judges who made the landmark rulings in favor of same-sex relations were ostracized and alienated by the ministry and the association of Judges. This is not acceptable, more pressure needs to be done to annul this shameful law that sets us back centuries in the past. People should be able to live in dignity regardless of who they love.

The Government should stop looking into our bedrooms and start by picking up the trash from the streets!  #YouStink #EqualityForAll, LGBT Rights are Human Rights, #StopDiscrimination

Here are the recommendations from the Universal Period Review followed by Lebanon’s disappointing response:

Universal Periodic Review – Lebanon
SOGIE Recommendations, November 2nd 2015 and the official response of Lebanon

Spain: recommends that Lebanon repeal article 534 of the criminal code and promoting protection of the LGBTI community.

Sweden: recommends securing the human rights of LGBT persons by amending article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code and by codifying the protection against discrimination of LGBT persons into the law.

Austria: recommends that Lebanon reform existing laws that can be used to discriminate against LGBTI persons including article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code criminalizing sexual acts against nature.

Canada: recommends that Lebanon repeal article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexuality, and pass legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Chile: recommends that Lebanon guarantee the protection of equal rights for LGBTI populations.

Czech Republic: recommends that Lebanon revise article 534 of the penal code so that it doesn’t discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Norway: recommends that Lebanon decriminalize homosexuality and ensure non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Response from a Representative from the Ministry of Justice:

“With regard to the rights of sexual minorities, when it comes to trying to combat violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, the government would like to indicate that article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code punishes all acts deemed to be contrary to nature. Lebanese courts apply this provision, which criminalizes same-sex sexual relations. These are deemed to run counter to nature, however, Lebanese courts have adopted a fairly light touch with regards to punishing such crimes. A prison term is provided for in the legislation, but often, attenuating circumstances are applied and those concerned may be issued with a less serious sentence. Generally speaking, I can tell you that two criminal judges have handed down conviction in 2009 and 2014 and they ruled that article 534 did not apply to acts committed by persons of the same sex. Similarly, although the law punishes homosexual relationships, this law cannot be used as grounds to justify any violence on the basis of the sexual orientation of those persons. Similarly, I can tell you that the Lebanese justice system has rejected all sexual orientation based violence in all its forms and the public prosecutors office and the courts of appeal have issued a blanket ban on all physical examinations to seek evidence of same-sex sexual relationships since this has been deemed humiliating for all those involved. Instructions have been provided in very clear terms for law enforcement officials, the police. All forms of humiliation, discrimination, and violence against persons within this category are outlawed. Instructions have also been issued to medial professionals with a view to preventing any anal examinations, which may be deemed to be humiliating for those involved.”

11 types of facebook commenters on Mia Khalifa’s photos


While I was working on a research paper the other day and checking scientific articles on Facebook, I came across Mia Khalifa’s profile photos BY MISTAKE. I guess everyone else came across Mia’s profile by mistake, just like me.  Ten minutes later, I found myself sipping a hot cocoa, and reading the few thousands comments on her pics. And here are 11 types of commenters I have stumbled upon.

WARNING: this post contains genitalia. 

1- The haters (and busterds) of course who happen to support ISIS


2- The Priest ya shar….


3- The micro-penis Lebanese “Fa7el”


4- The guy who supports local products


5- The confused guy


6- The gays of course


7- And the lesbians.


8- The Lebanese racist


9- the Teenage fan who just discovered masturbation


10- The Najwa Karam


“الرمان ل بين ذراعا، فرخ من غير زراعة، ما بيتاكل قطف وفرط، غير تفرفك ورضاعة”

11- THIS

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NEWS NOTES: Synod Week in Review

I said it a few months ago that it will happen soon. The Catholic Church is walking on steady tracks to an inclusive approach toward all its followers and believers. Brave but shy, yet commendable! Keep it up!

Bondings 2.0

News NotesSynod news, particularly in regard to lesbian and gay issues, has been fast and furious this week.  Here are some articles that you might find of interest:

1. The International Business Timescaptured reactions to the synod’s working paper which affirms lesbian and gay people.  The report focuses on comments from Nicholas Coppola, who was dismissed from his parish’s volunteer ministries because he legally married a man in New York state.

2. New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick is interviewed by Al-Jazeeraabout the Church’s new approach to lesbian and gay people.

3. The Daily Beast’s Barbie Latza Nadeau notes that this synod may have included voices of lay Catholics, but the real question is whether the “men of the cloth are listening.” She comments on several LGBT-related synod events.

4. While the synod was happening in Rome, LGBT Catholics met in Portugal to start the first World Organization of Homosexual…

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Catholics Seek Legal Rights, Pastoral Welcome for All Families

Progress is inevitable…
As if this past decade had brought enlightenment to legislators, jurists, politicians, parents but most importantly to religious leaders who now embrace the inclusive approach to homosexuality in many churches around the world. But the Catholic Church, one of the largest in the world is still far from connecting with a significant portion of its followers. Pope Francis made the first right step forward, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin won the Respect Prize by Berlin’s Alliance Against Homophobia, and many more will follow. I am just hoping the hierarchy does not win over reform…

Bondings 2.0

Advancing LGBT rights in the U.S. is increasingly a struggle about supporting families, both in the church and under the law. Below are several stories in which Catholics are standing up for just civil laws and inclusive pastoral care.

Adoption Rights

New legislation, known as the Inclusion Act, has been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would allow religiously-based agencies receiving government funds to refuse same-gender couples access to foster care and adoption services. This act has received the support of at least three Catholic bishops, but Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA criticized it in an essay on  The Huffington Post. She also happens to be the adoptive parent, with her wife ,of two girls.  She wrote:

“In almost every case, [same-sex couples] have given their kids an abundance of love and stability. The intentionality with which they chose to parent is carried forward into their raising of their daughters and sons. They have…

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Tripoli’s Massive PR Crisis: Beer Ads Banned In The City

Ghazali’s actions are unconstitutional and violate our consecrated right for freedom of expression, freedom of worship and freedom to live anywhere in Lebanon without fearing discrimination. I hope the central government and Minister Mashnouk takes proper actions towards this Mayor who thinks himself above the law. This is not the real image of Tripoli you are portraying! We will not believe you!

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

Tripoli Beer ads

It must be tough being from Tripoli lately, or at least tougher than average for the people of a city long forgotten by successive governments, left to its own accord to make do with the little it has.

It wasn’t enough for people from Tripoli to have to deal with the fact that the other Lebanese, quick as they are to judge and believe their views are scripture, believe them all to be undercover members of ISIS or ISIS members to be.

It wasn’t enough as well for those unfazed by the ISIS threat (yet) to deal with the fact that their city has become synonymous with mayhem, sporadic fights, mini wars and hating the Lebanese army. No amount of tweets, Facebook posts or mini gatherings on the street and billboards in support of the army or in condoning the behavior of some of the city’s men would change that…

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