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Bahrain has a reputation as a relatively liberal and modern Persian Gulf. The government has encouraged tourism development which is a significant source of income. Despite a recent period of political liberalization including some changes in the criminal code, in 2011 during the ‘Arab Spring’ major protests against government policies led to massive street protests.
The law is silent on private, non-commercial sexual acts between consenting adults. The law therefore allows homosexuality and it is not criminalized in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Traditional religious mores view homosexuality and cross-dressing as signs of immorality, which may impact how the legal system deals with LGBT-rights. Law enforcement agents and the courts have broad discretionary powers to issue fines and or jail time for any activities deemed to be in violation of traditional morality.
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