Gay Equality Group Forms in Kuwait
Gay Equality Group Forms in Kuwait by Michael Petrelis, September 15, 2007.
The march for international equality for LGBT citizens across our planet took a mighty big step forward in a small piece of the Middle East this week.
Gays in the constitutional monarchy of Kuwait are petitioning their government for approval of an advocacy organization permit, according to Arab news sources.
What fascinates most in this article are the claims of not just the mere existence of a Kuwaiti gay community, but one that is expanding and going very public with a request to the government.
I wish the name of the group had been reported by the news services, and a gay or lesbian Kuwaiti quoted, but it’s enough to know today that our brothers and sisters there are stepping out of the closet.
And I fear what sort of public education campaign will be waged with the two million dollars to “combat” gay people and lesbians in the school system.
The problems faced by gays in Kuwait were cited in the most recent annual human rights report from the US State Department, published in March 2007:
“There was discrimination against homosexuals in societal attitudes and legal issues. In February 2005 police charged a group of 28 alleged homosexuals with creating a public disturbance after they met outside a fast-food restaurant. On October 27, police raided a party where homosexuals were allegedly celebrating a wedding. On December 10, the legislative committee of the National Assembly unanimously approved a law to impose a fine of $3,450 (1,000 dinars) and/or one year’s imprisonment for those imitating the opposite sex.”
Here are excerpts from the Al Arabiya news service’s story:
“The Kuwaiti Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has received a request for the establishment of an association to protect the rights of homosexuals and transsexuals, press reports said Monday. [...]
According to press reports, gays no longer avoid public places and are starting to seek recognition and equal rights despite the traditional aversion to their lifestyle by mainstream society.
Gay rights activists have lashed out at a recent statement by the Kuwaiti National Council, and its Commission for Upholding Ethics, which condemned sex changes.
The Council’s legislative committee has proposed an amendment to Article 198 of the penal code, which deals with acts of debauchery. If approved, the new law would criminalize cross-dressing and all instances of imitating the opposite sex. [...]
The paper also said the Kuwaiti government has allocated two million dollars to combat the growing phenomenon of gays and transsexuals in the Gulf emirate.
The campaign comes in the wake of complaints from parents that lesbians were harassing their daughters at school. [...]“
© Photo Credit : Q8WOLF