Anti-Gay Dubai to Host Conference on LGBTQ Rights

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday January 11, 2021

Dubai
Dubai  (Source:Getty Images)

The International Conference on Gender Identity and LGBT Rights will be held in May in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, where homosexuality is illegal, LGBTQ Nation reports.

In a move to present itself as more tourist- and business-friendly, the UAE recently overhauled some Islamic laws — unmarried couples can now live together, alcohol restrictions have been loosened and "honor killings" have been criminalized. The latter pertained to male family members permitted to assault and kill women viewed as having dishonored their families.

Nonetheless, No UAE laws pertaining to sexuality have been changed, which should be a concern for LGBTQ tourists accustomed to more open societies. As the LGBTQ tourist guide Mr Hudson writes, "Dubai's limitless verve isn't slated to slow down anytime soon—meaning there's never been a better time to visit this multicultural mecca of design and innovation. That said, we would be remiss not to mention that homosexuality remains illegal throughout the United Arab Emirates. As a gay tourist, you are unlikely to encounter any problems, provided that you avoid all public displays of affection."

Nor does The World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, the organization hosting the conference, provide any information about UAE laws that could impact and potentially imprison presenters and participants who attend.

As LGBTQ Nation points out, Article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai carries a sentence of up to 10 years for consensual sodomy. Both straight and gay rape victims have been prosecuted for sodomy or sex outside of marriage or have fled the UAE to avoid criminal charges.

Adultery and fornication are punishable by death, and people convicted for homosexuality "can also be prosecuted for adultery if they are married to an opposite-sex partner," LGBTQ Nation notes.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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