While countries around the world legislate homosexual rights, doctor proposes treatment
CAIRO: At a time when the entire world, one country after another, is legislating laws that give more rights to homosexuals, homosexuality in Egypt is still viewed by many as a disease.
Dr. Awsam Wasfy, a psychologist, gave a lecture at the Center of Humanitarian Dialogue, explaining how he cures homosexuality through spirituality and getting closer to God, with each person addressing God through his own religion, he says.
Wasfy says he started holding his sessions in a church, beginning as a gathering of church attendees, and then later the sessions were transferred to his private practice and now serve believers of all religions, Wasfy says.
His treatment, he says, is accomplished through support groups. This way, he says, the patients get encouragement from other heterosexuals they trust and ex-patients who have already been treated.
Every now and then, Wasfy stresses that he thinks homosexuals should not be arrested and should not be forbidden from the lives they choose. But, he says that they have the right to be cured if they want to be. By arresting homosexuals, Wasfy says they are driven farther underground and the problem becomes more aggravated.
Not everyone shares Wasfy’s approach, however.
Is this still being debated? We re in 2006. Homosexuality is not a disease, says Dr. Nasser Loza, the head of the psychiatric division at the Ministry of Health.
Loza says that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, and that it has been removed from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a document produced by WHO that lists all mental disorders.
Loza explains that homosexuality is a sexual desire present in every human civilization.
Referring to the intolerance of some societies, including Egyptian society, directed at persons of homosexual orientation, Loza says, Individuals in any community who are comfortable with their own psychological systems will be tolerant of others, while people who feel insecure about themselves will be intolerant of others.
Refusing to call them homosexuals, Loza uses the term persons with homosexual orientation, explaining that individuals with homosexual orientation have other characteristics as well; they re not just homosexuals.
Wasfy says that homosexuality is not inherently genetic, asserting instead that it is a developmental disorder.
Describing how he cures homosexuality, Wasfy explains the stages of sexual orientation and how it develops.
The human being, Wasfy says, starts off as a man or a woman project. He says that small children under 4-years-old are physically and psychologically the same. He sees the period from 4 to 6-years-old as a critical time when the idea of homosexuality is being introduced. At that age, he says, love and acceptance from the parent of the same sex is very important, because the child becomes attached to the same-sex parent at that age and consequently sexual orientation is shaped.
At that age, Wasfy says, it is not enough for a father to be physically present; he should engage his son in manly activities, and the mother, he says, should engage her daughter in womanly activities. From 6 to 12-years-old, Wasfy continues, is a period of same sex love during which boys and girls are not fond of children of the opposite sex, and stresses that boys and girls need love and acceptance from children of the same sex, which is very important in the emergence of sexual identity.
At the end of these stages, Wasfy says, The guy s supposed to have gotten a stamp from his father proving he s a male like him. And another stamp from his friends proving he s a male like them.
The final step, Wasfy says, happens at the age of 12 with the arrival of hormones. With puberty, he says, attraction to the opposite sex starts.
What affects people and creates homosexuality, Wasfy says, is the absence or the harshness of the father, which makes boys hate manhood as represented by the father.
A second factor is sexual assault, a theory quite popular in explaining homosexuality. Wasfy claims that those who are assaulted in their early days link being a man with pain.
The third reason, Wasfy explains, is rejection by people of the same sex, which drives a person to find acceptance from the opposite sex.
If parents reject their child’s gender and raise their child as if he was the opposite sex, it can also have the same effect, Wasfy says. He gives the example of a mother who had a boy but wanted a girl, saying she might dress him in girls clothes or she might be overprotective, and consequently, Wasfy says, push him into a more girlish lifestyle.
Wasfy claims that he derives his information from personal research.
If someone waits until a certain age, unwilling to get married, then he could be homosexual and should see a doctor about it, asserts Wasfy.
Wasfy argues that homosexuality really can be cured, but says that it does not work the same for everyone. Some people stay in denial and refuse to be treated.
But those who do accept the idea struggle to stay in treatment and stop sexual activities with agony. Wasfy asserts that some even become attracted to the opposite sex and end up getting married.