Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Gulf countries to ban visas for gays using medical test to ‘detect’ homosexuality

Dubai Airport Immigration


It’s no secret that Gulf countries ban homosexuality and have been known to give jail time for those caught in ‘homosexual’ acts.  Now, however, they are going a step further and will soon ban visas for homosexuals and transgender individuals based on a medical test to ‘detect’ them.  This story will surely go down as one of those ‘what were they thinking?!’ stories.



Gulf States plan to study a project which will identify homosexuals and transgender individuals through a ‘clinical test’ which will be added to the list of medical tests one has to undergo to obtain a visa. If individuals are revealed to be homosexual or transgender, they will be denied entry into the country, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting a senior official in Kuwait’s Ministry of Health.

“Homosexuals and ‘third-sex’ individuals can be detected through clinical tests during the routine medical examination for visa”, Public Health Department Director Dr Yousuf Mendakar said. ‘Third-sex’ is a common term used in Gulf States to refer to transsexuals or people with gender identity disorder. The senior official added that an individual who is identified as homosexual will have ‘unfit’ stamped on his medical report; a term often used for people who fail medical tests which will automatically disqualify their visa application.

Dr Mendakar’s statements did not specify the test or the people targeted in the new project. It was also unclear whether this excluded cross-dressers or included all homosexuals in general. He also did not explain how medical examiners intend to determine a visitor’s sexual orientation. “Expatriates undergo medical tests at local clinics, but the new procedure includes stricter measures to find out homosexuals and transgenders so that they are banned from entering Kuwait or any GCC state”, he added.

Read the full article from the Kuwait Times.


I wish I had more to say here but all I have are questions, beginning with; why?  Followed by; how does the medical test work? Then; what rights and privacy laws will they step on to implement this?  And finally; is it really worth it?


Gulf States are known to be the moral and righteous police, not only to their citizens but also to everyone living in their respective country, by getting involved in their daily lives.  However, a lot of double standards exist in these countries, which beg another question; why focus on this and not something else?  Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are dry countries, yet all the other countries in the GCC* are wet as can be with free-flowing alcohol.  Prostitution is prohibited along with homosexuality yet you can’t step into a bar in Dubai without seeing a few working ladies practicing their profession.  A new birth control bill takes years to get approval for sale in Saudi Arabia yet Viagra received approval almost immediately after hitting the market in the US.


GCC countries have real problems to worry about rather than waste their time on this.  Read our earlier posts to see what some of their real problems are.



* Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.