It is hard to believe that it has been 5 years since we launched LebMASH. Here we are at Sky Philadelphia, on stage, surrounded by healthcare professionals that have always inspired me, as LebMASH received its First Award: GLMA’s 2017 LGBT Health Achievement Award. I felt joy, pride and a push to continue the work we have been doing. The Award was an invigorating accolade especially after the recent backlashes we have been receiving in Lebanon from cyber attacks, to online threats and on-the-ground event cancelations. We also had a busy year and we have been working so hard so I really enjoyed this moment of acknowledgement and cheer.
This past year alone, we ran a first-of-its-kind LGBT Health Week in Beirut. This included a press conference, other media appearances, an LGBT Health Conference, student workshops and a social media campaign. We published the Arabic version of the WPATH Standards of Care (Arabic SOC) for Transgender Health, a project that I am passionate about and in which I was personally involved as part of the editorial committee. We ran a successful GivingLoop campaign, it started as a birthday wish, a leap of faith, it grew into a recurring $12,000/year donation that helped LebMASH open a safe workspace for our staff and volunteers in Beirut. We awarded our 6th Annual BTS Student Grant. We launched a long-awaited project, LebGUIDE, providing access to a list of LGBT-affirming health professionals.
This Achievement Award was such a great honor and reassurance that we are on the right track. Thank you GLMA for the acknowledgement and a big thanks to our volunteers and partners and wider family of supporters and donors.