Homophobia in Kuwait

When Holocaust-denier former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Columbia University in September 2007, he raised another laugh when pretending, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country, in Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don’t know who has told you that we have it.” As an academic most probably being aware of 3-4% homosexuals everywhere, even in Iran, he certainly meant a certain subculture which is mercilessly persecuted in the Islamic Republic as is the case in most Islamic countries. Iran as well as Saudi Arabia and Yemen does impose the death penalty for what is called sodomy, not holding hands among same-sex friends which can be seen everywhere in the streets (something to which unknowing western foreigners have to get accustomed to).

Lashes and up to ten years in prison is the usual sentence for gay men in Kuwait (I haven’t heard about lesbians but that does not mean that they aren’t there, too). The tiny oil-rich United States ally in the northwestern corner of the Persian Gulf has tightening conditions for its hundreds of thousands of expats, who more or less run the country, in recent months. I have reported on the current nightmare for foreign workers before, see here and here. Now, the Ministry of Health had another glorious suggestion: a medical test which might identify homosexuals before they enter the country. They won’t get residence. “Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays, who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states,” an official of the MoH explained to the local newspaper Al Rai. How that should be done remains a mystery.  Gaydar, a portmanteau of “gay” and “radar”, describing means to assess other person’s sexual orientation, relies mainly on non-verbal stereotypes (and is thus highly discriminating). “These include (but are not limited to) the sensitivity to social behaviors and mannerisms; for instance, acknowledging flamboyant body language, the tone of voice used by a person when speaking, overtly rejecting traditional gender roles, a person’s occupation, and grooming habits,” as Wikipedia knows.

Al Jiran

While Amnesty International has heavily criticized the move, an unsuspicious subject, MP Abdul Rahman Al Jiran told Al Rai,

“The decision to bar homosexuals from entering Kuwait is a sovereign decision. Amnesty International should take care of lofty and noble goals for which it was established, leave aside homosexuality and deviations and stop defending delinquents. The organisation should heed the annual rates of births outside the institution of marriage in Europe and abortions as well as the high rates of underage mothers and other moral crimes forbidden by all divine religions.” (Emphasis added.)

The usual religious argument, disgraceful, misfitting in the modern world, just trash.

19 October 2013 @ 5:35 pm.

Last modified October 19, 2013.

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