A top health official in Kuwait has floated the idea that routine clinical screenings of expatriates entering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries might also be used to "detect" homosexual people and bar them from entering.
A committee that oversees the status of expatriates in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will consider the proposal in November.
"Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries," Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry told local newspaper Al Rai.
The GCC countries are among the 76 globally where homoxexuality is illegal, and punishments can be harsh. Most of these nations are in the Persian Gulf region and Africa.
Governments in majority Muslim countries are among the world's most anti-gay. The irony is heavy as some Islamic societies have cultures in which homosexual behavior is considered normal, though men rarely identify as homosexual. In Iran, for instance, male rape among youths has a long history. It is used as a bullying tactic and means of humiliating boys. Many men carry the practice into adulthood.
Strict gender-segregation for unmarried people is also cited as a leading men into homosexual acts in countries including Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Public veiling of women and few to nil opportunities for contact with women lead men to alternative outlets for their sexual urges.
Mindkar's comments have stirred outrage in LGBT circles, with activists calling for a boycott of the 2022 Football World Cup which is scheduled to be held in Qatar.
"FIFA now has no option but to cancel the World Cup in Qatar," said British activist Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, referring football's world governing body. "Allowing it to go ahead in these circumstances would involve FIFA colluding with homophobic discrimination. ... There is no known medical test to detect homosexuality. I wonder what quackery the Kuwaiti authorities plan to invent in their vain attempt to identify gay men. It simply won't work."
A FIFA spokesperson told the International Business Times that the organization was unaware of the plan to screen for homosexuality and said "is actively engaged in fighting against all kinds of discrimination within football and within society as a whole."
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