Kuwait's 'Gay Tests' Not A Gay Issue?

Kuwait National Assembly

Amidst growing concerns over a Kuwaiti official's recent comments that Kuwait "will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] member states,” and a subsequent call for a boycott of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar (a GCC member state) in response to this latest anti-gay regulation, the author over at the blog "a paper bird" has argued this anti-gay law is actually focused more on combating migrant labor and enforcing established "gender norms." Among other observations, the author suggests that, due to mistranslations among other things, what Kuwaiti medical officials will be screening for in the workers it would apply to is not evidence of gay sex, but rather determining what a person's biological gender is and if he or she is adhering to the societal norms associated with that gender:

While police abuse of transgender-identified women has been especially violent and brutal, [my colleague Rasha Moumneh] stresses that the law does not just single out a “transgender” identity, much less “gay” sex, but rather targets anybody who doesn’t follow gender norms. It’s easiest for police to pick out biological men who are overtly wearing women’s clothing – but all men seen as effeminate, or women seen as butch, are potential victims.

The whole piece is worth reading and helps paint the larger picture about this proposal, including how it would affect everyone hoping to be employed in the region, including LGBT people.

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  1. Homosexuality is a crime in both Kuwait and Qatar.

    That 'Paper Bird' article is a really pathetic attempt to divert attention from homophobia to transphobia, which affects far fewer people.

    Why do the trans community constantly try to minimise homophobia.

    Is the trans community largely homophobic or something?

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 11, 2013 8:45:44 AM

  2. Said by the men in maxi-dresses and robes.

    Posted by: JT | Oct 11, 2013 9:18:51 AM

  3. MARYM:

    Passing this off as something the 'Trans' community has done is Disgusting and corrupt.

    And thismnew tactic of Trying to sow dissent between LGBs and Trans folk so you people can have a new enemy we all can getnbehind? Well, that is positively grotesque.

    But since YOU take your Ps and Qs from the Catholic Crutch, it's perfectly normal for you to start bashing Trans. Because your bosses have told you you've LOST on the Ghey, but now you can start bashing the Trans folk.

    You, Madam are a troll like no other.

    How dare you!

    Posted by: Bruno | Oct 11, 2013 10:03:16 AM

  4. Correction to the article, GCC is the "Gulf Cooperation Council"

    Posted by: Jim Elliott | Oct 11, 2013 10:07:16 AM

  5. @1, you are myopic, if you can't connect those dots you can just stop trying.

    That is a great article, I would have liked it to cite it's sources a bit more. It's hard to refute a misinformation line if you don't prove what you say to be true. But all of it is easily searched on google.

    I know some people don't like lumping trans and gay issues, but racists don't like races, sexists don't like sexes, we hear you and we don't agree.

    This issue deserves some more spotlight, I know that people start to burn out right about now in protests, the idea of jumping on another country seems like too much but it isn't.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 11, 2013 10:09:27 AM

  6. The person rather obliquely referred to as "the author over at the blog 'paper bird'" is actually Scott Long, a rather well-known scholar of sexual rights in various parts of the world.

    Some people like him and some people don't, but he's extremely intelligent and his writing is always very well researched and grounded in local sources.

    He's spent a lot of time in Egypt since the beginning of the Arab spring, and he has enough Arabic himself and Arab-speaking sources to know what he's talking about.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 11, 2013 10:22:38 AM

  7. One day it's Kuwait that is pushing this law, the next it's claimed that it's Qatar and then the next again it's Kuwait. I hope that the writers at Towleroad realize that these are two different, sovereign countries.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Oct 11, 2013 10:58:47 AM

  8. I'm not bashing trans people. they are not my enemy.

    But LGB issues and trans issues have only a small overlap, and I have nothing more than a passing interest in their issues.

    The transfolk are free to fight their own battles after all.

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 11, 2013 11:00:25 AM

  9. @MaryM: that's pretty egotistical. What you're saying is that the overlap is so narrow that you're willing to ignore the plight of effeminate gay men and butch lesbians, since their gender nonconformity doesn't affect you personally. Not to mention the fact that there are trans folks in the community, too, who you casually discount as "not your problem." Just because you've got a problem with trans folks doesn't mean the LGB community at large does, and luckily most LGB folks are glad to help out the trans minorities, since they know what it's like for the majority to crap on you.

    Posted by: Thedrdonna | Oct 11, 2013 11:10:10 AM

  10. this is hysterical.......does this mean the "gender police" will be making cavity searches and crotch searches??!!??

    Posted by: Bernie | Oct 11, 2013 11:27:14 AM

  11. I don't get this clarification; so now they're just the fashion police, and that's somehow not as stupid and laughably backwards ?

    Then again, how can we whine about their invasive groupings when every time we fly anywhere here we're subjected to being grouped by our own government ?

    I see very little outrage and support of human dignity and privacy in our own country under the guise of protecting us. I'm tired of being harassed and molested every time I fly. I'm just a white guy with a beard that last flew to go see my mother for the last time, just before she died of breast cancer. Why my government felt compelled to molest me in the boarding tube in Phoenix on my way back home, I have no clue and can make absolutely zero sense of.

    Posted by: Jake | Oct 11, 2013 11:55:13 AM

  12. Now that we have an explanation of how these laws will be implemented, I am all for them.

    One of the great pleasures of traveling in the Middle East is that almost all men are bisexual and it is very easy to find sex with hot, young, masculine guys because of that.

    Introducing the whole Western concept of "gay" with its culture of effeminacy and ideas of "gender-non-conformity" would ruin all that.

    So a big shout-out to Kuwait and the other countries who have made it clear that men who think of themselves as women and/or act like women have no place in respectable society and should be treated like the deeply-disturbed mental cases they are.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 11, 2013 11:56:59 AM

  13. Back to the medieval dark ages, crazy muslims.

    Posted by: Kev C | Oct 11, 2013 12:29:09 PM

  14. Are those house dresses those men are wearing?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2013 1:00:50 PM

  15. Scott Long is by no means a "respected scholar" - he is in fact a disgraced former analyst at Human Rights Watch who was fired for his bizarre attacks on gay activists and his constant minimization of islamic and third world homophobia. He was forced to resign and issue a public apology to Peter Tatchell (a true hero and activist from the UK) who he defamed as a "western gay imperialist" because Peter had the gall to criticize Iranian executions of gay men. You see, Scott Long actually agrees with the former Iranian president who claimed there were no "gays" in Iran because Long is a queer theorist who actually believes "gay" is a western identity that is culturally constructed and hence there can be no "gay" men in Iran. He actually agreed with the Iranian propaganda that the gay men who were executed were actually child molestors despite ample evidence from the mens lawyers and local iranian gay activists that the government uses that lie all the time to slander gay men. Long is one of those extreme cultural relativists and sees "western imperialism" as the enemy everywhere. Like a few anti-war activists in the 2000s, he was more in line with ANSWER and the British SWP (trots) who were part of the anti-war coalition. They were and are extremely divisive because they view the West as the source of all evil the world and excuse the crimes of third world countries. Long is also one of the "pinkwashing" conspiracy theorists who discount any gay rights in Israel as a zionist ploy to legitimize oppression of Palestinians. Along with Katherine Franke, Jasbir Puar, Sarah Schulman, Ryan Conrad, the Against Equality "Queer Anarchist Collective" and the Pro-Palestinian groups that insist that gay rights only benefit rich white men so they can be sacrificed for the greater good of anti-imperialism, these activists are at best misguided stooges and at worst enemies of LBGT rights internationally.

    See http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/07/02/human-rights-watch-apologises-to-peter-tatchell/



    I have noticed that some gay news sites are generally clueless when it comes to the motivations of Long so I am not surprised that Towleroad fell for his lies. Jim Burroway at Boxturtlebulletin also is a personal friend of Long's and has promoted his other latest revisionist lie that the Russia isn't really experiencing a surge of homophobia - its just the western media using a few "isolated incidents" and misunderstanding and "mistranslation" of Russia's culture to hype the attack on Syria and to distract from the Snowden affair. With Long, it is always the West, and Western gay activists in particular, that he hates.

    They have actually coined terms like "Homonationalism" and "Gay Imperialism" that sound like the exact same homophobic nonsense that comes from the extreme right - its odd how you can go so far Left that you end up agreeing with the far right. But make no mistake, while these morons aren't nearly as dangerous as the right, they should not get a pass just because they reach the same conclusions from the opposite perspective.

    In fact, the religious right is starting to incorporate some of the social constructivists theory into their international opposition to gay rights. They have used the arguments that sexuality and gender are not "real" but merely cultural expressions and thus they have no grounding in international law.

    Posted by: etseq | Oct 11, 2013 1:28:42 PM

  16. @ "Back to the medieval dark ages, crazy muslims."

    KEV C,

    you're being ironic, right? You just caused me to spend 30 minutes reading about Islamic Spain, and what most of Europe was like at that time. The "crazy Muslims" took Spain out of the Dark Ages and allowed Christians and Jews to live freely.

    . Then around 1492 these two crazy Christians named Isabella and Ferdinand took over, and killed any Muslims and Jews who wouldn't convert to Catholism.

    Oh, the Roman Catholic Church started burning a lot of women also...all over Western Europe.

    Posted by: Derrick from Phillyl | Oct 11, 2013 1:31:19 PM

  17. Hey anyone else notice that the article yesterday that was promoted that awful anti-gay parenting study has been deleted?

    Posted by: etseq | Oct 11, 2013 1:41:08 PM

  18. This is finally holding that can of RAID against gays. They've been liberated by The Supreme Court since June '13. They are trying to get the Olympics stopped in September '13. They want to adopt babies from every country. This is a "NO" from Kuwait. So you first figure out what you can ban--the 2022 World Cup. And you think Russia is bad? If someone could only explain what is so valuable and redeeming about homosexuality, we'd have no problems.

    Posted by: Shirtless | Oct 11, 2013 1:45:33 PM

  19. KevinVT, what a coincidence that you pop up to defend Long. I see from your website you appear to be a Johnny Weir Russophile wannabe. Hell, you are even a member of that disgusting homophobic Orthodox Church. I think you need to work out your own self-loathing as it is blinding you to the danger both the extreme queer left and the religious right are to LGBT people.

    Posted by: etseq | Oct 11, 2013 1:49:34 PM

  20. Derrick, the islamic golden age is overrated. It may have had some beneficial aspects, but they could only advance because christianity shot itself in the foot. Remove tyranical governments and oppressive religions and people naturally advance.

    Posted by: Kev C | Oct 11, 2013 1:49:38 PM

  21. Why do self-loathing closet cases like Shirtless comment on gay blogs? Do you get off sexually when you write such crap? I'm getting this disgusting image of you beating off as write your homophobic filth. Go join Opus Dei and flog yourself to death creep.

    Posted by: etseq | Oct 11, 2013 2:19:52 PM

  22. @ETSEQ: KevinVT a Johnny Weir Russophile wannabe and self-loathing? Haha. You're sooooooo far off. His Russian is way better than Johnny's tho. Calm down, bro.

    @Rick, Kuwait awaits you. Pack your bags!

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 11, 2013 6:08:34 PM

  23. Let me get this, err, straight. If you shave your you know what or trim your you know what (as porn stars supposedly do to make something look bigger), they won't let you into to their country?

    But look at the bright side. At least the fleas of a thousand camels won't infest your you know what!

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 11, 2013 7:24:19 PM

  24. @ shirtless, what is so "redeeming" is that we don't have to go beyond our own gender to love and be loved. We are quite aware of what works and doesn't because there is a familiarity that will NEVER be actualized by a gender diverse couple.

    Posted by: ty | Oct 11, 2013 8:53:15 PM

  25. LOL a) I'm hardly an apologist for Russia, and I've had a PhD in Russian since the year Johnny Weir was born. Plus I publish on Russian gay culture.

    b) Obviously etseq hasn't actually read anything Scott Long has written, but instead takes his talking points from Tatchell et al, whose level of scholarship is close to nil, though he does meddle in scholarship by threatening lawsuits just like his recent pal Alekseev, whom many of us knew was antisemitic well before Tatchell & Co. realized it. To paint Long with one brush with Puar as someone prone to criticism of homonationalism to the point of blindness is absurd. Yeah, Scott's a big pal of Massad's too!

    The world and sexuality are both more complicated than some people think. That doesn't make those of us who realize this apologists for homophobic regimes. It just means we're capable of processing more complexity than you.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 12, 2013 4:30:40 AM

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