Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 19:29 pm (KSA) 16:29 pm (GMT)

Kuwaiti gays and lesbians want association

Kuwait City (File)
Kuwait City (File)

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has received a request for the establishment of an association to protect the rights of homosexuals and transsexuals, press reports said Monday.

The request is the latest sign of defiance by Kuwait's growing gay community, which has upset some in the Muslim country, Kuwait's An-Nahar newspaper reported.

According to press reports, gays no longer avoid public places and are starting to seek recognition and equal rights despite the traditional aversion to their lifestyle by mainstream society.

Gay rights activists have lashed out at a recent statement by the Kuwaiti National Council, and its Commission for Upholding Ethics, which condemned sex changes.

The Council's legislative committee has proposed an amendment to Article 198 of the penal code, which deals with acts of debauchery. If approved, the new law would criminalize cross-dressing and all instances of imitating the opposite sex. Offenders will face up to one year in prison or a 1,000 dinar (USD 3,564) fine.

The paper also said the Kuwaiti government has allocated two million dollars to combat the growing phenomenon of gays and transsexuals in the Gulf emirate.

The campaign comes in the wake of complaints from parents that lesbians were harassing their daughters at school.

Researchers estimate the number of lesbians in the school system to be in the thousands.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).

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