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Kuwait ‘gay-o-meter’? Clinical screenings to ‘detect’ and ban homosexuals from entry

Published time: October 08, 2013 10:06
Edited time: October 09, 2013 11:06
Travellers walk with their luggage at Kuwait International airport (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee)

Travellers walk with their luggage at Kuwait International airport (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee)

Routine clinical screenings may be used to ‘detect’ homosexuals and bar them from entering Kuwait and other Gulf member states, according to a top Kuwaiti official.

A central committee tasked with the status of expatriates is set to view the proposal on November 11.

“Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries,” Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry stressed.

“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,” he added, quoted by a local daily Al Rai.

He did not indicate what measures - or how physically intrusive - these might be.

Homosexual acts are banned in the country, and the prison term for them can be up to 10 years if the people involved were under the age of 21.

In 2010, Kuwait banned the screening of a controversial Egyptian film, saying that it promoted a culture of debauchery, Gulfnews.com reported.

The movie was made in 2009 and addressed lifestyles centering on drug use by young people, and lesbianism, a taboo subject in Arab cinema and society.

A member of the censorship board said that some of the scenes were “too hot” and that the lesbianism theme was “too bold.” The member stressed that the scenario was very weak and failed to address the controversial issues properly.

The situation doesn’t differ much in other Arab states in the region: Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Five countries actually mete out the death penalty to gay people – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania.

In Bahrain, lawmakers push for a crackdown on homosexuals, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures and deportations.

Two years ago, Bahrain arrested 127 people, mainly gays from the Gulf countries, for holding a “depraved and decadent” party. 

The participants, most of them from 18 to 30 years old, hired a sports hall in Hidd, a conservative village in the north of Bahrain, and organized a fee-paying party that brought together gay men from the Arabian Gulf countries.

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