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Gays Face Government Ordered Male Hormone Shots In Emirates


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Gays Face Government Ordered Male Hormone Shots In Emirates

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 26, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(Dubai) More than two dozen people described by the government as gay have been arrested at what police called "a mass homosexual wedding" and could face Sharia court imposed male hormone treatments, five years in jail and a lashing, authorities in the United Arab Emirates told the Associated Press on Saturday.

The Interior Ministry said police raided a hotel earlier this month and arrested 22 men from the Emirates as they celebrated the wedding ceremony. It was the latest in a string of recent group arrests of suspected gay men.

The men are likely to be tried under Muslim law on charges related to adultery and prostitution, Interior Ministry spokesman Issam Azouri told the Associated Press.

But, it is not clear if those arrested were all gay men or if some were transsexuals. The transgendered have no legal recognition in the Emirates and sexual minorities in the region are often lumped into one category, homosexual.

Azouri told the AP that police, acting on a tip, raided a hotel in Ghantout, a desert region on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, and found a dozen men dressed as female brides and a dozen others in male Arab dress.

"It was a real party with balloons and champagne,'' he said.

The 26 men arrested include those from the Emirates as well as an Indian disc jockey and three men from neighboring Arab states. One of the arrested was to perform the wedding ceremony. Azouri said some of the group told police they worked as prostitutes. Others had been arrested before.

Last year, police made mass arrests at another event, also described by authorities as a gay wedding in the conservative emirate of Sharjah and at the Khor Fakkan beach resort in Fujairah emirate, a police official told the Associated Press.

Two dozen men arrested in Sharjah were given symbolic lashings - meant to humiliate, not inflict pain - and then released from jail, said prominent Emirati lawyer Abdul Hamid al-Kumaiti.

Azouri described the arrests in Ghantout as a ``delicate'' matter made public for the first time - more than a week after the event _ because the country's tribal leadership wants to demonstrate it will not tolerate open homosexuality.

On Friday, as newspapers reported the arrests, the minister of justice and Islamic affairs, Mohammed bin Nukhaira Al Dhahiri, called on parents to be vigilant for ``deviant'' behavior in their children.

"There will be no room for homosexual...acts in the UAE,'' Al Dhahiri was quoted as saying in the Dubai-based Khaleej Times newspaper.

Homosexuality is banned in the Emirates. The Arabian peninsula, nevertheless, has a long tradition of openly homosexual wedding singers and dancers.

``Lately people have been talking about (homosexuality), but it has been here for a long time,'' said Nadia Buhannad, a Dubai psychologist. ``It becomes shocking only when it is your own son.''

``There are so many others like these guys,'' al-Kumaiti said. ``The police and rulers need to do more than just lash them and let them go.''

The arrested men have been questioned by police and were undergoing psychological evaluations Saturday. Azouri said the Interior Ministry's department of social support would try "to direct the men away from homosexual behavior", including treatment with male hormones.

©365Gay.com 2005

with files from The Associated Press


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