Queer in the Middle East

26 05 2009

It must suck to be queer in the Middle East. From an ABC News story about a young gay man living in Saudi Arabia:

I’m a Muslim. I know it’s forbidden, but I can’t help it… I pray to God to help me be straight, just to avoid hell. But I know that I’m gay and I’m living as one, so I can’t see a clear vision for the future… You can’t let a word slip that makes you seem gay-friendly or gay. Before you make a move you have to think.

All this in a country where the police have arrested men for being gay based on his choice of jeans and tight-fitting shirt… which, btw, is enough in my world to think of any man as gay, making me wonder whether or not there may be a mo on the police force there.

The picture you see above, btw, is out the same news story and is of Egyptian men who are arrested for “immoral acts.”

In related news… the US isn’t helping, I don’t think. Despite numerous reports of brutality and violence against gay folk in Iraq, the embassy decides to create a Pink Zone… and hold its own little gay pride. I’m sure the folks living in and around the embassy are very thankful. There may be a good reason — perhaps it allows some LGBT folks to celebrate, or perhaps it will help influence some politicians — I have a feeling a lot of people will be walking past thinking, “And I can’t even kiss him.”

It’s worth it to check out this map from Wikipedia, showing the relative status of LGBT rights in the world. Nine countries are listed as having the death penalty for homosexuality, six with “major penalties,” and well over thirty with some sort of penalty.




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