Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health in Kuwait announced that the country has stumbled upon the technology to "detect" gays and prevent them from coming across its borders. Mindkar's master plan will be debated on November 11 when the Gulf Cooperation Countries committee convene. What he, and presumably Kuwait, wants is to make sure that the expatriates going to Kuwait are healthy, which seems to mean that they are also not gay.
"Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states," Mindkar said in a local report picked up by Gulf News. (In fairness to Kuwait, other countries have had similarly myopic and anti-gay immigration laws. In 2009, the U.S. ended its ban on foreigners with HIV from immigrating or traveling here.)
Mindkar's anti-gay enthusiasm has piqued our interest and conjured images of metal detector-like devices with a disembodied RuPaul voice saying, "Shante you are not gay. You stay." or "You are gay, sashay away (from Kuwait)" after someone steps through.
Kidding aside, how is this even going to work? Is it purely visual (this is very confusing in certain cases)? Doesn't Kuwait know that plenty of LGBT people have spent years living in closets and pretending to be people they're not? Is there a lie detector test? And we wouldn't want to be the ones to break it to Mindkar that gay people come from the loins of straight people, meaning any attempt to keep your country gay-free is all but impossible.
Further: Kuwait isn't even a gay hotspot. Neither is the Middle East, where gay is banned because of conservative Islam — Dubai, considered one of the more progressive places there, is still pretty intolerant of homosexuality. Berlin and San Francisco these places are not, and people going to Kuwait or Dubai aren't doing so because it's some wonderful Shangri-La for gay people (like Tel-Aviv) or some open gay sex paradise (like Pakistan). And it all makes you wonder if Mindkar is just banning people who, by and large, don't even have any interest in going.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.