It is really an escalating tug of war between the homophobic society, human rights activists, and homosexual oriented persons. Undeniably, the Middle East society has been adamant in supporting lesbians, gay bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups since time immemorial. What is the status of homophobia In Middle East? This paper addresses the current issues of homophobia in Middle East by trying to answer the following important questions. What are the current trends of homophobia in Middle East? What are the main causes of homophobia in this region?
Current Trends of Homophobia in Middle East
Homophobia refers to the outraged fear and expression of anger towards homosexuals or simply to people who express sexuality that differs from the normally accepted heterosexual behavior or identity. Since time immemorial, the general society has always recognized and appreciated the heterosexual type of orientation towards sexual identity. However, few societies have identified and developed their own sexuality identity. Middle East has been in particular very resistant towards any persons or group of people deviating from heterosexuality. For the last few years, increased homophobia has been observed in Middle East. It is claimed “In parts of Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and elsewhere it is still very dangerous to be gay. People are being executed. Homophobic attacks, rapes, and murders happen all too frequently” (Dehgan, 2011, p. 1). Homophobia has always been suppressed by various societal structures such as the law, traditions, and religion. Most Middle East countries have laws that prohibit marriage between homosexuals or any other form of sexuality besides heterosexuality. For instance, “More than two dozen men were arrested at what police called a “mass homosexual wedding” in the United Arab Emirates” (The Advocates, 2006, p. 37). However, as the society becomes more revolutionized more homosexuals come out in the opens and begin fighting for their rights. This is arguably the main cause of homophobia in this region and the rest of the world as well. Many people are coming up in the open to form groups that help them express their concerns on how the society treats them due to sexual orientation. The media plays a very important role in shaping the discourse of issues affecting the society. In the Middle East, media influence is a great force that cannot be ignored. Arguably, it has given the two opposing camps a fair playground in expressing their feelings and opinions. Homosexual groups come out in the media and openly express their stand towards sexuality. Internet and television has been one of the most widely used media in which homosexuals use to either express their sexuality or express their outrage against groups fighting them. Middle East countries are mostly Islamic. This implies that there is high degree of homophobia in this region than any other region in the world. Islam religion strictly prohibits homosexuality and has stern disciplinary measures and actions against homosexuals. Koran prohibits this type of sexuality and as such, Muslims in this region use it as a source of authority to discredit homosexuality. Politicians play a role in shaping the societal fabric. Politicians have been known to follow the current trends and demands of the population to achieve their political ambitions. Arguably, the politicians have been instrumental in quenching the homophobia crisis by advocating for equal rights to people of all types of sexual orientation. It has enabled the society to accept the homosexuals and their sexual orientation rather than fighting them. Indeed, there is a slight increase in countries accommodating homosexuality. Habib agrees that “