Queer Voices

Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering


Gulf nations may soon conduct tests to "detect" gays traveling to those nations in order to deny them entry.

“Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries,” Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwait Ministry of Health, told local newspaper Al Rai, per Gulf News. “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."

The GCC is an alliance made up of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, formed to sustain unity among the six nations based on their similar cultural identities and religious beliefs. They are set to discuss the proposal on Nov. 11, according to the Gulf News.

Homosexuality is punishable by law in these nations. Penalties range from jail time to death, The Washington Post highlighted in June.

Gay rights activists are now speaking out against the flagrant discrimination.

“These proposals are not only futile but contrary to international human rights law," Richard Lane, of the gay rights campaign group Stonewall, told LGBT Weekly. "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.”

Other activists told Gay Star News they are concerned the means of "gay testing" may include anal probes, which have been conducted by authorities in Lebanon to determine criminal suspects' sexual behaviors. This practice is denounced by the Human Rights Campaign.

Peter Tatchell, British activist and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, is now demanding a boycott of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar because of this proposed homophobic initiative.

"There is no known medical test to detect homosexuality. I wonder what quackery the Kuwaiti authorities plan to invent in their vain attempt to identify gay men. It simply won’t work," he told PinkNews of the Kuwait health minister's proposal. “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."

This news comes on the heels of ongoing issues surrounding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Russia's anti-gay law banning "homosexual propaganda." Though the legislation does not specifically outline such propaganda, penalties include fines or jail time or both.

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