Tests to catch gays could catch homophobes too.
News that the Gulf States – starting with Kuwait – are going to start carrying out ‘tests’ to bar entry to gays and transgender people is worrying expats and potential visitors, especially soccer fans and players. Will they be probed at the airport on their way to the World Cup in Qatar 2022? Perhaps not: latest indications are that this proposal is aimed at transgender people coming to work in the Emirates.
The tests were announced by Yousouf Mindkar of the Kuwaiti health ministry, who said that the routine clinical screening of expatriates coming into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) will include measures to identify and exclude LGBT people.
Incidentally, it’s worth noting that one of the GCC states is the United Arab Emirates, which incorporates Dubai. Australians moving there to work for Qantas may want to rethink their career choices!
It’s not known what the ‘tests’ will consist of, but authorities in Lebanon and Egypt employ doctors to conduct ‘forensic anal examinations’ to ‘detect’ signs of anal intercourse when they suspect a man may be gay.
The head of the Lebanese Doctor’s Syndicate, Dr. Sharaf Abu Sharaf, opposes the examinations, calling them medically and scientifically useless in determining whether consensual anal sex has taken place, and stating that they constitute a form of torture.
Such tests are also in contravention of the UN Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, World Medical Association principles, and the UN Principles of Medical Ethics.
Other countries have used the penile plethysmograph, which measures bloodflow to the penis, as a means of detecting homosexuality. A cuff which measures changes in blood pressure is attached to the penis, and the suspected man is then shown gay porn.
However, this could prove problematic, as the same test has also shown that the most homophobic men are often unconsciously aroused by homosexual pornography. The Gulf States could find themselves excluding the very people most sympathetic to their own attitudes.
It is not known what tests, if any, the GCC plans to deploy to detect lesbianism, or if any are in fact available.
Leading global gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has called on FIFA to move the World Cup elsewhere: FIFA, meanwhile, maintains that it has no knowledge of the planned testing.