Kuwait and other Persian Gulf nations are weighing a proposal to utilize routine medical screenings of prospective visitors to try to “detect gays,” with the aim of weeding out any homosexual applicants, a senior Kuwaiti public health official says.
“Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries,” Director of the Kuwait Health Ministry’s public health branch Yousuf Mindkar says according to Gulf News.
“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 says. Mindkar was originally quoted in Al Rai on Monday.
Websites around the world poked fun at the Kuwaiti effort, calling the alleged medical screening “gaydar.” Check out Policymic’s headline: “Kuwait Tries to Invent Magical Gaydar Test to Keep the Gay Away.” And the Atlantic Wire’s: “Kuwait Thinks Its Gaydar Is Good Enough to Ban Gays from the Country.”
Mindkar did not provide details on what medical procedure might be used to “detect” homosexuality; however, he said the committee responsible for the status of expatriates will examine the proposal at a meeting next month.
Homosexuality is punishable by law in all six GCC member states which include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. According to the Independent, in Kuwait, those under the age of 21 who are found to have engaged in homosexual acts face a prison term of up to ten years.
It also reports that homosexuality is punishable by death in the Muslim countries Iran and Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Richard Lane, a gay rights activist with the British advocacy group Stonewall, tells 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.”