Kuwait and Other Gulf Countries to Medically Test Travelers in Order to "Detect Gay"

Those found to be gay will not be allowed in.

Kuwaiti officials have announced they are developing a new medical test to "detect" homosexuality in an effort to keep gay poeple from entering the country, or any of the Gulf Corporation Countries (GCC).  Many of the countries included in the GCC—Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—already view homosexual acts as unlawful, and as a result are cooperating with the extra precautions. 

According to the the Daily Mail, Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at Kuwait's Ministry of Public Health, recently told Kuwaiti newspaper, Al Rai, that "health centers conduct routine medical checks to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into GCC countries. However, [it] will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwair or any of the GCC member states." 

This isn't the first time the issue of gay rights has figured prominently in the dialogue surrounding Kuwait. The law states that anyone under 21 taking part in homosexual acts can receive a jail sentence of up to 10 years. And earlier this month, Oman newspaper The Weekwas suspended over an article that was deemed to be far too sympathetic to the homosexual community. 

Richard Lane, a member of the gay rights campaign collective Stonewall, told the Daily Mail:

"These proposals are not only futile but contrary to international human rights law. Many Gulf states have gone to great lengths to market themselves as open for international business. Their leaders should think long and hard about putting forward measures to restrict freedom of movement and further prohibit the best talent from doing business in the region simply because of their sexual orientation."

It is illegal to be gay in 78 countries around the world, with lesbianism specifially banned in 49. Of those countries, five countries—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Maurtiania— have the death penalty for being gay. 


Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

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