Jordan’s Psychiatrists between science, religion and social expectations!


I realize that many people in Jordan seek alternative medicine when modern medicine fails them either out of desperation or maybe believing a word of mouth or religious belief. They usually do so knowing that going to a “Sheikh” for a religious healing has nothing to do with science. The problem is, when it is the other way around. When you go to a psychiatrists and diagnose you out of religious and social beliefs, ignoring all of the scientific findings and recommendations that he/she built his/her credibility on.

This is clearly the case when it comes to homosexuals in Jordan where many of them seek a *professional* help in order to fight their same sex attraction for they reject it themselves usually out of religious and social reasons. The general stand of psychology today is that there is no proven therapy that can alter one’s sexual orientation safely and effectively. What psychiatrists can do in this case is try to lead their patients into accepting themselves and deal with their inner social and religious conflicts.

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Cross-dressers


There is no red line in our society that matches the one drawn to highlight the seperation of gender roles. Men and women, simple binary entities that simplifies all the diversity of humans nature into two templates. Only two that are hard to fit by many. It is even worse when it comes to the classification of these simple two templates; one is superior than the other. Men enjoy the upper hand. They ought to emphasize on different superior attributes (strength, intelligence, education, …etc) in order to fill their gender role.

So what happens when someone’s nature fail to fit with those guidlines? What happens when someone blurs the lines between between gender roles and mess up with one of the major parts of which we define our gender identities – our clothes?

Hell break loose! no?

What really happens is that most people fail to realize the natural diverse aspect of human beings and lump it under mental disorder category.

It is worth noting that I am not talking here about homosexuals who blur gender roles in a different way. I am emphasizing on another group of people who blur the line of gender roles based on their choice of clothes rather than their sexual orientation.

I know that we tend to lump everything that we are unfamiliar with under the same category – queerness -. Many people – falsely – percieve homosexuals as cross-dressers and cross dressers as homosexuals. In reality: The great majority of cross-dressers are biological males, most of whom are sexually attracted to women. (this is taken from the american psychological association website – read further here)

Now that we no that most cross-dressers are straight men, does that help in making them fit our unique men template?

Ofcourse not, they fail in one of the prerequisites.

While the american psychological association tells us as well that cross-dressing is not a mental disorder, a lot of people tend to maintain their constructed inherited structure of false rigidity of gender roles and judge cross dressers as mentally ill people.

We tend to play experts. It is no uncommon for us to judge any unfamiliar behaviour to be a mental illness. “He is sick, or she is sick” may be one of the most used Jordanian terms. People are sick – this is also common – in our own definition of equating sickness to weirdness.

Would we ever realize the diverse nature of human beings? and would we ever learn that being weird doesn’t necessary being bad? I know that the internet opened the door for us, we may find a hard time at the beginning to capture unfamiliar things, but we all know that with time weird things become normal.