A proposal for Gulf States to sex test expats to root out those who are transgender or homosexual has provoked worldwide outrage.
The condemnation follows comments by a minister calling for medical tests for expats to extend to detect gays – and to bar them entry to the Gulf States.
Kuwaiti Health Ministry public health director Yousuf Mindkar wants stricter gender tests.
“Expats already undergo routine medical tests to assess their health before they can enter Gulf Co-operation State countries,” he said.
“We want to impose stricter tests to help detect gays who will be banned from Kuwait or any other GCC nation.”
The GCC covers Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
Each of these nations has large expat populations.
Tawfiq Khojah, director-general of the executive office at the GCC Health Council, said, “The health checklist for migrant workers has a mandatory examination to determine gender.”
He explained the test is necessary to preserve Islamic principles.
The proposal is due for discussion by the committee at the Health Council on November 11, 2013.
The UAE’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Rights Group has posted an online statement against the proposal.
“The thought that the government in Kuwait wants to bring in a sex test to identify lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people is shameful and morally repugnant,” said the statement.
The group also speculated about what form the tests might take.
“Homosexuality is generally believed to be a Western invention,” said the group. “However, the truth is that people of a gay persuasion exist in every nation and culture, whether governments care to acknowledge the fact or not.”
Stonewall, the largest gay rights organisation in Europe, complained that the proposal was against international law.
“On the one hand, many Gulf nations have worked hard to market themselves as open for international business,” said spokesman Richard Lane.
Human rights violation
“Their leaders should carefully consider such measures that restrict freedom of movement and bar the best talent from moving to the region on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Bahrain Bloc MP Ahmed Al Sa’ati claimed the idea was barmy and illogical.
“This plan violates human rights. Islam teaches interference in personal affairs is wrong,” he said.
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are criminal offences in Bahrain, punishable by imprisonment.
But Bahraini gay rights lawyer Fowzia Janahi, who is believed to be the only Arab dealing in transsexual legal cases, backs the plan.
“Homosexuality is not acceptable,” she said. “Kuwait should differentiate between homosexuals and transgenders. The latter can get a medical report that allows them to travel freely.”