Anal tests in the Arab world

Published: November 15, 2013

October was a difficult month to be gay in the Arab world.

 
On Oct 13, Egyptian police detained 14 people in Cairo pending investigations into allegations that they committed “homosexual acts” inside a medical centre in a middle-class neighbourhood in Cairo. The Egyptian prosecutor also ordered that they be sent to a pathologist for forensic reports and that the centre be shut down, the Arabic Ahram news site reported.
 
Rather than addressing its country’s problems — the current political struggle and the terrorism growing in the country — the Egyptian government is spending time and effort harassing gay people.
 
Egypt is infamous for its acts against gay people. In 2001, 52 Egyptian men stood trial on charges of “sexual immorality.”
 
Meanwhile the Kuwaiti government is spending time and money on finding the best ways to detect gay people in airports to prevent them from entering the country.
 
The proposal, put forth earlier in October by Kuwait’s director of public health, would ban anyone found to be homosexual, transgender or a crossdresser from entering the country. If adopted, it would add a new test to the medical assessments already required for migrants attempting to enter the Arab country.
 
And how exactly do they propose to test for homosexuality? Both the Kuwaitis and the Cairo police casually refer to "anal tests" as a means to detect homosexuality.
 
In April 2013, I stood outside the Ministry of Justice in Beirut, Lebanon with about 60 other people to protest the use of “anal tests” on Syrian gay people who were arrested in an underground nightclub famous for being gay-friendly.
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