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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 11 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 41
Persian Gulf states to 'test' foreigners for Gayness
Section One
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Persian Gulf states to 'test' foreigners for Gayness

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Kuwaiti officials said on October 7 that they would begin 'medical tests' to determine if foreigners seeking entry are Gay, and would begin to bar Gays from coming into the country.

The tests may be adopted by all the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), of which Kuwait is a member, along with Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC will meet in November to decide whether all its member states should follow Kuwait's lead.

Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, said that the routine clinical screening of foreigners coming into the GCC will include tests to identify LGBT people, who will then be banned from entering the country.

'Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries,' he told local daily Al Rai.

'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.'

HOW WOULD IT WORK?
Mindkar did not specify how applicants for entry into Kuwait would be 'tested,' but in other countries, such so-called 'medical tests' have involved intrusive and humiliating rectal examinations.

Same-sex sexual relations are illegal in all the GCC states, and in Saudi Arabia they are a capital crime. Several GCC countries have made recent attempts to crack down on their LGBT communities.

In 2010 Kuwait banned a screening of the Egyptian film Bedon Rakaba ('Out of Control' or 'Uncensored'), saying that it 'encouraged debauchery.' The film focused on young people using drugs and having Lesbian sex. A member of the censorship board said that some of the scenes were 'too hot' and that the Lesbian theme was 'too bold.'

In 2012, Kuwaiti police officers arrested two men for having sex in a car parked near a cafe in Kuwait City. Police also found the men had a four-year-old 'marriage contract' and were planning to travel abroad to obtain a legal marriage certificate. Traditional Islamic marriage contracts are said to be common among Gay couples in the Gulf.

In the same year, 127 Gay men were arrested in Bahrain for what authorities called a 'depraved and decadent' party.

On October 6 of this year, a Saudi court sentenced four members of its security forces to prison terms of up to 10 years and corporal punishment of as many as 2,000 lashes after they were convicted of dancing naked on the hood of their car.

They had been careless enough to post a video of the incident online, where it attracted the attention of the Saudi morals police.

ACTIVISTS CRY FOUL
Richard Lane, of the British LGBT rights group Stonewall, condemned the Kuwaiti proposal.

'These proposals are not only futile but contrary to international human rights law,' he said.

'Many Gulf states have gone to great lengths to market themselves as open for international business. Their leaders should think long and hard about putting forward measures to restrict freedom of movement and further prohibit the best talent from doing business in the region simply because of their sexual orientation.'

British civil rights activist Peter Tatchell called on the soccer federation FIFA to reschedule the 2022 World Cup Games, now planned to be held in Qatar.

'There is no known medical test to detect homosexuality,' Tatchell told Pink News. 'I wonder what quackery the Kuwaiti authorities plan to invent in their vain attempt to identify Gay men. It simply won't work.

'Banning Gay people from entering the country will deter foreign investors and companies. They won't want to subject their employees to such barbaric, medieval humiliations.

'The proposal that this Gay ban will apply across all Gulf Cooperation Countries will mean that Gay players and spectators will be banned from attending the football World Cup in Qatar in 2022. This contradicts previous assurances given to FIFA by the Qatar government that everyone will be welcome and that there will be no discrimination.

'FIFA now has no option but to cancel the World Cup in Qatar. Allowing it to go ahead in these circumstances would involve FIFA colluding with homophobic discrimination.'

The U.S. State Department warns LGBT travelers that 'consensual same-sex sexual conduct between males and cross-dressing are illegal in Kuwait,' and advises that 'LGBT travelers should carefully consider the laws and biases of their international destination and decide how open one can be regarding one's sexual orientation or gender identity.'

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