Dubai, a country which legally bans homosexuality, is set to host the International Conference on Gender Identity and LGBTQ+ Rights in May.
In recent years, Dubai has been taking steps to separate Islamic law from the state and have announced changes to legislation that better protects women, reduces alcohol restrictions and changes to divorce and marriage laws.
Event organisers, The World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, have announced details of the conference on their website but fail to outline the fact that many of the panellists could be imprisoned as a result of the country’s laws.
The conference brings together “leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects” of LGBTQ+ rights and gender identity.
Under Article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai, anyone who engages in consensual sodomy could face up to 10 years in prison. This has been put into practice with straight and gay people being prosecuted.
Fornication and Adultery and punishable by death and someone convicted of homosexuality who is married to an opposite-sex partner can be prosecuted for adultery.
While Dubai has made moves to liberalise other areas of law, changes to laws around sexuality have yet to be announced.
In 2017, a British man was arrested for public indecency after he touched another man’s hip in a Dubai bar to avoid spilling a drink and was imprisoned for three months.
Many have been reacting to the news that the conference will be held in a country where the topics being discussed are illegal.
I’m glad all the influencers going to/in Dubai are just choosing to ignore and can happily overlook the fact that LGBT+ people still face the death penalty for existing in Dubai
— eoin (@finglasboy) December 30, 2020
On Twitter user said:
“I’m glad all the influencers going to/in Dubai are just choosing to ignore and can happily overlook the fact that LGBT+ people still face the death penalty for existing in Dubai.
“Taking the pandemic out of it, you can go ANYWHERE and that’s where you choose to go. Very much ‘woo hoo to gay pride and allyship but I wanna go on holiday so I’m willing to abandon my morals and support and advertise a country that hates u tee hee’
“Hope ur all having a great time but I don’t ever wanna see you call yourself an ally or say you support the LGBTQ+ community cus u don’t.”
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