Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls

'Nine men dressed in women's clothing were arrested on New Year's Eve in the discotheque of a Manama, Bahrain, hotel and charged with public debauchery, the United Arab Emirates' Gulf News reported this week. Police reports cited by the paper said the men were "heavily made up and wearing provocative outfits" while soliciting fellow patrons. The reports said the men were from different Arab countries but did not specify their nationalities. The paper noted that Bahrain has been seeking to crackdown on perceived homosexual behavior, which is illegal in the Persian Gulf nations, by introducing tougher immigration measures and prompt deportations'.

(Los Angeles Times, 6 January 2010)

'The UAE government has launched a campaign against what it describes as masculine behaviour among women. Under the slogan "excuse me I am a girl", it has launched a series of workshops, lectures and TV programmes. The aim, the UAE authorities say, is to help women avoid what is seen as "delinquent behaviour". That is how the social affairs ministry in the emirates describes what would in some other societies be known as homosexuality or transvestitism. Officials from the ministry told the local press that "masculine behaviour" among young girls was first spotted in special care homes. There were no studies available that describe the extent of the phenomenon in the rest of the Emirati society, they said, but it is believed to be common in girls' schools.

A social worker in charge of the campaign, Awatef al-Rayyes, was quoted as saying that this kind of behaviour could be attributed to a number of causes including the unfair treatment of wives by their husbands and lack of mixing between the sexes. This, she said, could lead to girls feeling more secure in the company of other girls and some may adopt the male role by having their hair cut short or by putting on a man's voice'.

(BBC World, 12 March 2009)

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