Middle East


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Gay Saudi Arabia 2007-16: The Kingdom in the Closet

| September 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on Gay Saudi Arabia 2007-16: The Kingdom in the Closet

Sodomy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, but gay life flourishes there. Why it is “easier to be gay than straight” in a society where everyone, homosexual and otherwise, lives in the closet?   (GlobalGayz Note: Although this story was written in 2007, little has changed since then. The descriptions of the LGBT ‘scene’ and the insights into individual lives are still accurate and relevant. For more recent events affecting the gay sub-culture see the News & Reports.) Also see: Islam and Homosexuality Gay Saudi Arabia News & Reports 2000 to present From the Atlantic Monthly http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200705/gay-saudi-arabia (Reproduced without permission) May 2007; Reviewed 2016 by Nadya Labi Yasser, a 26-year-old artist, was taking me on an impromptu tour of his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a sweltering September afternoon. The air conditioner of his dusty Honda battled the heat, prayer beads dangled from the rearview mirror, and the

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What’s it like to work in the Middle East as a gay person?

| December 11th, 2015 | Comments Off on What’s it like to work in the Middle East as a gay person?

Would you ever consider relocating to the Middle East for work purposes? And is the situation different for gay people who move there as opposed to nationals?   6 May 2015 By David Hudson http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/whats-it-work-middle-east-gay-person060515/#gs.xU3gDWw   Countries in the Middle East are among the worst in the world when it comes to laws relating to LGBTI people. If you’re gay, what might it be like to relocate to the region for work purposes? The Middle East is a large and diverse area. While being gay can result in capital punishment and imprisonment in Saudi Arabia, the situation if very different in Israel, where same-sex sexual activity is legal and gay people go about their lives without too much fear of persecution.   For the purposes of this feature, Gay Star Business spoke to individuals with experience of Gulf Cooperative Countries (GCC): Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and UAE. Same-sex

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Gay Syrian Asylum Seekers Face Threats From Fellow Refugees in Europe

| November 30th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Syrian Asylum Seekers Face Threats From Fellow Refugees in Europe

As if fleeing from tyranny and war are not enough, Syrian LGBT refugees face continued abuse and hostility from other non-gay refugees in Europe.   By Anthony Faiola Washington Post October 24, 2015 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/gay-asylum-seekers-face-threat-from-fellow-refugees-in-europe/2015/10/23/46762ce2-71b8-11e5-ba14-318f8e87a2fc_story.html   Dresden, Germany Rami Ktifan made a snap decision to come out. A fellow Syrian had spotted a rainbow flag lying near the 23-year-old university student’s belongings inside a packed refugee center. The curious man, Ktifan recalled, picked it up before casually asking, “What is this?” “I decided to tell the truth, that it is the flag for gay people like me,” Ktifan said. “I thought, I am in Europe now. In Germany, I should not have to hide anymore.” What followed over the next several weeks, though, was abuse — both verbal and physical — from other refugees, including an attempt to burn Ktifan’s feet in the middle of the night. The harassment ultimately became

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Gay life in Dubai 2015

| August 11th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay life in Dubai 2015

This may seem, at first glance, to be a contradiction. Homosexuals in a highly Muslim country? Of course this is an exaggerated and superficial observation. LGBT people are everywhere in every culture, including the United Arab Emirates.   By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com August 2015   The world moves on… and much of it does not. While the West has taken an enlightened view of homosexuality Muslim countries have entrenched deeper against this natural variant of sexuality. But not all have grown as backward as Afghanistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia. I traveled to the UAE where I visited four of the seven emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Fujairah) but primarily Dubai. Here the world seems to have moved forward–along with Abu Dhabi–into the 21st century (depending on one’s station in life) with a ‘one legged’ race to the future, meaning significant advances in architecture and commerce.   However when it comes

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Gay Syrians In Lebanon–Refugees from ISIS

| April 3rd, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Syrians In Lebanon–Refugees from ISIS

If caught by jihadis, Syrian gays may be thrown from rooftops, or ransomed. And many live in fear of their own families. But Lebanon’s not the safe haven they hoped.   Reporting from Beirut by Amelie Zaccour Two young men we’ll call Karim and Tareq were walking through the streets of Raqqa, Syria, in September 2013 on their second date. They’d just been to a good restaurant, and Karim was excited as Tareq was about to introduce him to his friends. But the night quickly turned ugly when five strangers showed up, put a sack over Karim’s head, gagged him, and drove him to an unknown location. Nobody touched Tareq, and later, from his cell, Karim heard his captors and Tareq talk about ransoming him to his family. Tareq had been posing as a gay man but working with a group linked to Jabhat al Nusra, according to Karim, in

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No Place For Gays in Yemen

| February 15th, 2015 | Comments Off on No Place For Gays in Yemen

A report from 2013 describes the situation for LGBT citizens in Yemen. Since that time little has changed for gay people in this war-torn country where Houthi rebels have taken over the government in 2014-15. Life for homosexuals is dangerous and deadly ; virtually no one reveals his sexual preference in public.   By Shuaib Almosawa http://www.ipsnews.net/?s=no+place+for+gays+in+yemen Aug 16 2013 (IPS) – As he gets ready to go to a café in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, Husam tucks his long tresses inside a hood before getting into the back of his friend’s car. “Still problematic,” his friend tells him, assessing him in the rear view mirror. Husam pushes his hair further inside. A short drive ahead, they stop at a checkpoint, one of the many that keep an eye on Sana’a’s heavy traffic. A soldier grabs a torch, shines it on Husam. His long lashes blink in the harsh light. Husam,

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Lesbian and Gay Life in Beirut, Lebanon

| September 25th, 2014 | Comments Off on Lesbian and Gay Life in Beirut, Lebanon

By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com Updated 15, 2014 Stories, Photos, News & Reports for Gay Lebanon In contrast to a New York Times story on party-time gay males in Beirut, Lebanon, a more realistic portrait of Lebanese LGBT life is portrayed in a 2009 book Bareed Mista3jl (not misspelled) published by Meem (2009). A GlobalGayz blog post reacted to the Times story regarding the narrow middle/upper class male perspective described by the Times’ author. A closer investigation of the real lives of gay Lebanese is lacking in the story. That said, the furtive lesbian population is not easily accessed by a foreign journalist who visits on a short trip. Unless there are deep and trusted connections, Muslim lesbians do not offer up their lives for examination. Even the women who compiled the stories and edited the book did not at first have an easy time finding willing women to share their

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Gay in Syria During a War

| January 5th, 2014 | Comments Off on Gay in Syria During a War

The revolution in Syria has put thousands of gay people at high risk of torture and death from all fighting sides–Islamist extremists, Assad loyalists and opposition rebels. It is currently one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a LGBT person. There is no mercy from any of these warring parties. The only escape is to another country or to hide by joining one of the fighting force to protect one’s family and self–and risk killing other gays who are arrested or suspected.   The following report was filed by Haley Bobseine, Head of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project Middle East program in Beirut who urges more attention to LGBT refugees at risk. Being Gay In Syria Today December 9, 2013 When Syrian rebels took Racca last March, one would have thought that the capture of this northern city that was previously controlled by the regime of

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Gay Life in Syria: an Interview with a Gay ‘Refugee’

| April 23rd, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Syria: an Interview with a Gay ‘Refugee’

  Introduction The Middle East in the 21st century is a boiling cauldron of political and social change. Rebellions and revolutions have taken down long ruling dictators and corrupt governments. But the transition to Arab democracy is fraught with conflicting issues, mainly how to define and integrate the new democracy with the deep influence of Islam in the various cultures. In this swirling flow of human events, homosexual individuals are not sure where they will land, on their feet with tolerance or further marginalized to the fringes of society. One gay man’s response has been to abandon his native Syria and its current upheaval state and live in Turkey where he finds support from the LGBT community but still leaves him a man without a country. GlobalGayz interviewed him in Istanbul in April 2012. Adad the Man: in Search of a Home Adad is a gay Syrian man, 34 years

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Gay Life in Yemen: One Man’s Story of Destiny and Choice

| February 15th, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Yemen: One Man’s Story of Destiny and Choice

Introduction: The following story was sent to GlobalGayz by a thoughtful Yemeni gay man who was willing to share his observations and feelings about gay life in his country.   Also see: Gay Life in Yemen Original story: February 2012 Update: September 2015 The current turmoil in Yemen has become an international war with a Saudi-led coalition of air and ground forces against the rebel Houthi militia took control of the elected Yemeni government. In this story a 27-year-old  gay student, quoted here, said earlier this year that he and his family were momentarily unharmed. However, as the fighting and bombing have intensified and his sexual orientation has become more at risk of exposure he chose to travel to Jordan this past summer, one of the few countries to allow Yemenis to enter without a visa.   By Ahmed, as told to GlobalGayz: “Most of the time, I can’t be

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Syria Country Photos

| February 10th, 2012 | Comments Off on Syria Country Photos

Syria in 2011-12 is in upheaval, rebellion and civil war with hundreds of thousands of ‘rebels’ battling against government military forces to end the dictatorial repressive regime of the ruling Assad family. The land itself is beautiful with historic Roman ruins and peaceful valleys. In the market souks of Aleppo and villages life continues as it has for hundreds of years.  

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Lebanon Country Photos

| February 2nd, 2012 | Comments Off on Lebanon Country Photos

Lebanon is known for its unique efforts in the Middle East to guarantee civil rights and freedom to its citizens, ranking first in the Middle East and 26th worldwide (out of 66 countries) in the The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2011. Due to its tightly regulated financial system and the highest gold reserve in the Middle East, Lebanese banks largely avoided the financial crisis of 2007–2010. In 2009, despite a global recession, Lebanon enjoyed 9% economic growth and hosted the largest number of tourists in its history. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon)  

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Bahrain Country Photos

| January 31st, 2012 | Comments Off on Bahrain Country Photos
Bahrain-financial-trouble-behind-calm-facade photo: telegraph.co

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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Kuwait Country Photos

| January 30th, 2012 | Comments Off on Kuwait Country Photos
Kuwait city students (photo-nildayjeffrey)

Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a parliamentary system of government, with Kuwait City serving as the country’s political and economic capital. The country has the world’s fifth largest oil reserves. It is the eleventh richest country in the world per capita. In 2007, it had the highest human development index (HDI) in the Arab world. Despite its wealth and high standard of education, living openly as a homosexual carries dire consequences. In recent years, Kuwait has become more aware about homosexuality. The subject has been addressed more than once on television. Preachers condemn it as a big sin.  

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Saudi Arabia Country Photos

| January 29th, 2012 | Comments Off on Saudi Arabia Country Photos

Saudi Arabia is a complex, mysterious, fundamentalist country with much wealth from vast oil fields. It boasts the most modern standards for the middle and upper classes. However the form of Islam practiced there is backward and repressive that does not allow much personal freedom of expression, especially for women. Salafism, also known as Wahabbism is a fiercely puritanical strain of Islam that gained prominence with the rulers of the Arabian peninsula. When the modern kingdom was established, Salafism became the only brand of Islam espoused by the government. Under the strict legal system gay people live with danger of imprisonment or execution if caught with a same-sex partner, even in the privacy of a home.      

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Gay Arabs: It Gets Better–From an Arab Teen

| January 28th, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Arabs: It Gets Better–From an Arab Teen

By Moussa Dailyvoiceofreason.com 13 Jan 2012 This is an article by Moussa, a Lebanese young man of 19 who speaks from his own experience of coming out and how life gets much better once we own our sexuality and accept one another. The world we live in can seem like an absolutely terrible place. Worse yet, a part of it, which includes everything you do and everyone you know, seems to be even worse. Despite this, and despite the fact that I don’t know your name, haven’t seen your face, and don’t know more about you, I can say with confidence that it gets better. I noticed that I was gay as a young child around the age of 7. Being brought up in Lebanon, I was in a society that wasn’t accepting and quite frankly, I didn’t know exactly what I was. Years went by and when I hit

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UAE/Dubai Country Photos (photos)

| January 17th, 2012 | Comments Off on UAE/Dubai Country Photos
Dubai - locals at ski house photo credit-telegraph.co

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf. The seven states, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Dubai is the most well known due to its progressive financial policies and daring architecture. There are harsh and discriminatory laws that condemn homosexuality and promote homophobia in the name of religion. A native or foreigner must consider the risks of being out or obvious..  

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Palestine Photo Gallery (photos)

| January 15th, 2012 | Comments Off on Palestine Photo Gallery

Palestine is both a historic settled culture and a territory in transition and conflict. Situated at a strategic location between Egypt, Syria and Arabia, and the birthplace of the Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. The region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Ancient Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Sunni Arab Caliphate, the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans, the British and modern Israelis and Palestinians. Modern archaeologists and historians of the region refer to their field of study as Syro-Palestinian archaeology. (Wikipedia)    

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Qatar Country Photos (photos)

| January 14th, 2012 | Comments Off on Qatar Country Photos
photo credit: habayinow.wordpress.com

Qatar has been ruled as an absolute monarchy by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Formerly a British protectorate noted mainly for pearling, it became independent in 1971, and has become one of the region\’s wealthiest states due to its enormous oil and natural gas revenues. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he seized power from his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d\’état.  The most important positions in Qatar are held by the members of the Al Thani family, or close confidants of the al-Thani family. Beginning in 1992, Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar)      

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Gay Life in Qatar

| January 14th, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Qatar

By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com January 2012 Photos, News & Reports for Gay Qatar Much like other small Gulf States in the Arabian peninsula finding recent and in-depth stories about gay life is not easy. The biggest public kerfluffle about homosexuality in Qatar in recent years has not concerned any gay executions, witch hunts, persecution or demands for gay marriage. Rather, in December 2010 the football/soccer World Cup association (FIFA) awarded to Qatar the playoffs in 2022. Completely overlooking the social impact of such a huge international event in such a tiny Islamic place as Qatar FIFA got itself into hot water from human rights organizations as well as gay rights associations. The disruptive issue was homosexuality. Thousands of football fans are LGBT –many from the ‘liberal’ West– will enter Qatar for the game finals. Very few are prepared to suddenly surrender their sexual identity and stop being gay for a

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Oman Country Photos (photos)

| January 12th, 2012 | Comments Off on Oman Country Photos

Oman is a quiet prosperous, modern and progressive Arab sultanate where life has settled into a quiet place in the Middle East. Little is heard of it in the modern world except as a peaceful land of rugged beauty and friendly people. It is ruled by a benevolent Sultan who since his reign began in 1970 has brought the country into the modern era with increased education, health care, business enterprise a moderate form of Islam, which quietly tolerates a closeted gay community. Prior to 1975 the country was distressed with internal tribal warfare. In the 18th century the Omani Sultanate territories stretched all the way from Pakistan to Tanzania.    

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Gay Life in Oman

| January 11th, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Oman

By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com Updated January 2017 Photos, News & Reports for Gay Oman Information and insight about LGBT life in Oman is neither plentiful nor scarce. GlobalGayz has not yet been to Oman so we have been researching the internet for some inside ideas and experiences. What is noticeable is that the lengthier commentaries posted online come from expats who live or have lived in Oman for several years. This is understandable since few Omani LGBT people–none really–are willing to be public about their love life or gender of desire. Expats, on the other hand, risk little in disclosing their sexual identity since the West is far more accepting of ‘lifestyle variations’. The worst that can happen is to be deported from Oman, unless a crime has been committed. Two important observations can be made about being homosexual in Oman. One is that homosexuality is forbidden with potential imprisonment

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Yemen Country Photos (photos)

| January 8th, 2012 | Comments Off on Yemen Country Photos

Yemen has a land area of 555,000 square kilometers and a population of approximately 24 million (2010). Its capital and largest city is Sana’a. Yemen’s territory includes over 200 islands, the largest of which is Socotra, about 415 km to the south of mainland Yemen, off the coast of Somalia. It is the only state in the Arabian Peninsula to have a purely republican form of government. Homosexuality is illegal and the official laws are severe. But there is an underground LGBT community which keeps silent and hidden, especially since February and March 2011: an uprising against the government began, and clashes with police and pro-government supporters have steadily intensified. Many people have been killed in trying to oust President Saleh from his 32-year rule.

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Gay Life in Yemen–An Introduction

| January 5th, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Yemen–An Introduction

Introduction: It’s difficult to write an informed and useful report about something unseen and unheard. In Yemen, homosexuality is both because no one is willing to speak or write about it in public or in the media, despite the inevitable presence of a gay underground that is kept well hidden from the scrutiny of the morality thugs and violent authorities. Also see: A Gay Yemeni–One Man’s Story of Life and Destiny Photos, News & Reports for Gay Yemen   Finding Gay Life is a Challenge In more than a decade of recording thousands of news and reports about LGBT life around the world, GlobalGayz has only found eight reports about homosexuality in Yemen. Five of these eight are responses (four against, one in favor) to the single issue of gay marriage. Two other stories tell about journalists being arrested for writing about homosexuality and a magazine being shut down for

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Gay Life in UAE (United Arab Republic)

| January 3rd, 2012 | Comments Off on Gay Life in UAE (United Arab Republic)

Introduction Very little LGBT news comes out of the Emirates gulf states because it is such a closeted culture, but the recent removal of an anti-gay video from YouTube, made in the United Arab Emirates, has evoked some dialogue around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the Emirates. In this report, Dan Littauer  of Gay Middle East, interviews two gay men from the Emirates about their public and private experiences and feelings as they seek a “Gay Life in UAE”. This is followed by another story ‘Detained in Dubai’ that was written in 2010 by an unnamed author using detainedindubai.org as their identity. The purpose of the report is to warn gay visitors of the risks of being caught by police for illegal behavior: “enjoying the underground scene doesn’t come without serious risks. There have been a few widespread reports regarding the condemnation and punishment of homosexual behavior in

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