Egyptian Doctors Think This Torturous Exam Can Detect “Chronic Homosexuals”

More than 150 people have been arrested on charges of homosexuality since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power. Anal exams are a routine part of the investigation in such cases. “First we make them take the prostrate position — the position that Muslims take when they pray,” Dr. Maged Louis, chief of forensic medicine for the Cairo police district, said. The tests are intended not just to determine whether someone has ever had anal sex, but also to detect “chronic homosexuals,” because the letter of Egyptian law only criminalizes men who engage in “habitual debauchery.” 

International human rights and medical experts dismissed Louis’s checklist as having “no medical basis” and “categorically not true.” The idea that inspectors are intentionally fabricating evidence because of their own homophobia isn’t what makes these exams so disturbing — though that does sometimes happen, according to defendants’ accounts. It’s that beliefs about homosexuality are leading doctors — some of whom have done extensive (and horrific) research into perfecting diagnostic techniques — to believe that what they are doing is science. Read More