Border "gay detection”Gulf States to “detect” gay travelers at border, barring them from entry

Published 9 October 2013

The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates— will set up a “detection” system at all points of entry to “detect” gay travelers in order to prevent them from entering the six countries. The detection system will also be used to detect gay expats who come back to visit their families, so they could be barred, too. Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, is in a tight spot.

Gulf state hosts of world cup competition developing test to determine sexual orientation // Source:

Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, the other day proposed that Gulf States set up a detection system at all points of entry to detect gay travelers in order to prevent them from entering the country. He said the detection system will also be used to detect gay expats who come back to visit their families, so they could be stopped, too. “Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries,” he said. “However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states,” he said, quoted by local daily Al Rai on Monday.

The Huffington Post reports that Mindkar did not specify the nature of the detection method. He said that a central committee has been asked to review the status of expats, and that the committee will examine the gay detection proposal when it reconvenes on 11 November.

The Kuwait Times reports that transgender individuals will also be barred from entering the Gulf States (Mindkar used the term “third sex” to refer to transgender individuals).

The Times reports that individuals identified as gay or transgender will have “unfit” stamped on their medical reports, a term often used for people who fail medical tests. The stamp will automatically disqualify their visa applications, the paper adds.

Homosexual acts are banned in Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, all GCC member countries. Those convicted of homosexual acts are given lengthy jail terms.

The Daily Mail notes that it is illegal to be gay in seventy-eight countries, with lesbianism banned in forty-nine. Five countries mete out the death penalty to gay people — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and Mauritania.

World Cup
Qatar finds itself in an especially tight spot. Two years ago it spent a lot of money to bribe high officials at FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, so they would vote to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup games. Even before the latest news about the gay detection system, there were calls to move the games to another location after Qatari officials said that spectators attending the games, and soccer players playing in them, who were caught engaging in gay behavior would be treated according to Qatari law.

The Qatari officials’ statements caused a firestorm, and the officials retreated from their position.

Peter Tatchell, head of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, told the International Business Times that the latest GCC move “will mean that gay players and spectators will be banned from attending the football world cup.”

This contradicts previous assurances given to FIFA by the Qatar government that everyone will be welcome and that there will be no discrimination,” he said.

FIFA now has no option but to cancel the world cup in Qatar. Allowing it to go head in these circumstances would involve FIFA colluding with homophobic discrimination.”

Tatchell added:

There is no known medical test to detect homosexuality. I wonder what quackery the Kuwaiti authorities plan to invent in their vain attempt to identify gay men. It simply won’t work.
Banning gay people from entering the country will deter foreign investors and companies. They won’t want to subject their employees to such barbaric, medieval humiliations.

A FIFA spokesperson told IBTimes UK that the football organization “is not aware about the specific matter” of the proposed gay detection legislation,” adding:

FIFA through the work carried out by its various Standing Committees is actively engaged in fighting against all kinds of discrimination within football and within society as a whole. FIFA’s zero tolerance policy towards any acts of racism and discrimination affecting the freedom of private persons — including their sexual and political freedom — applies to the FIFA World Cup and to all other FIFA events and activities.
“The creation of FIFA’s Anti-Discrimination Task Force by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter in early March 2013 was a key step in FIFA’s ongoing fight against discrimination.

Tatchell’s response: FIFA “has its head in the sand — of Qatar.”