Propagates Homophobia in the UAE

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In an article published February 11, 2010, English-language UAE-based newspaper Gulf News contributed to the homophobia frenzy of the recent years with a piece called “Too close for comfort: Homosexuality in schools.” Growing concerns over what officials are calling an epidemic of “boyat” (butch lesbians) led the authorities to launch a state-sponsored correctional campaign entitled “Excuse Me; I’m a Girl” in 2009.

The article cites a number of quotes by young women complaining of being approached and harassed by lesbians in universities and schools. It is hard to side-step the blatant ignorance of most of the “expert” opinion in the article. Dr Alia Ebrahim, educational consultant in Sharjah, blames a range of things – including gender identity disorder – for same-sex relationships. We expect more from a doctor than to mix up gender identity with homosexuality. Also, “Dubai-based Islamic scholar Shaikh Ahmad Al Qubaisi, speaking on the issue of lesbianism noted that while it is forbidden (haram), there is no specific punishment as per Sharia law.” He recommends that families “treat” their daughters’ homosexuality discreetly. I find it interesting that most of this GCC obsession is with lesbianism more than male homosexuality. Could one perhaps guess why? On top of the hateful quotations, the reporter Salam Al Amir adds his own ridiculous analysis of lesbian types:

  • The Boya: The first type is the girl who turns to sexual delinquency and plays the boy’s role.
  • The Tomboy: The second type is a girl who is not sexually delinquent.
  • The Weaker girl: The third type is the weaker, beautiful girl who gets lured by the first type.

We’ve written to the Gulf Times expressing our disappointment in their factually incorrect reporting and biased views. We urge you to do the same by filling in a comment under the article or by contacting the editor. We must make it clear that we will not stand for discrimination against lesbians and transgenders in our region.


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