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FIFA called on to cancel World Cup in Qatar over ‘gay/trans tests’

New reports reveal the much-feared 'gay tests' will be a gender test banning trans people, effeminate men and butch women
Tawfiq Khojah has confirmed the Gulf will be using 'gender tests' to ban trans people from Arab countries.
Photo via Scott Long.

FIFA is being called on to cancel the World Cup 2022 in Qatar over fears the Gulf region will ban any person who fails a ‘gay/gender test.

Earlier this week, Kuwait’s director of public health Yousouf Mindkar said health centres will be taking stricter measures in order to detect members of the LGBT community.

But while he did not specify what these ‘tests’ would involve, he said it would ban members of the ‘third sex’ from entering the Arab states.

Tawfiq Khojah, director-general of the Executive Office at the GCC Health Council, confirmed to Arab News the health checklist will now include a mandatory examination to determine gender.

So any person who wishes to work and live in any of the Gulf states such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, will have to ‘prove’ they are not trans.

Khojah said they had brought this in to ‘preserve Islamic principles’.

Peter Tatchell, veteran LGBT rights campaigner and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, described it as ‘unjust discrimination against transgender people’.

‘Banning trans persons from entering the country may deter some foreign investors and companies with trans staff. They won't want to subject their employees to the humiliation of these intrusive gender tests.

‘FIFA says it opposes all discrimination. Yet the proposals to test and ban foreign trans employees from the Gulf Cooperation Countries will include Qatar and will penalise World Cup construction and hospitality staff from overseas who are trans.

He added: ‘If these plans get the go ahead, FIFA should cancel the 2022 World Cup contract on the grounds that Qatar has violated FIFA's non-discrimination values.

‘It should find a new host city for the 2022 tournament. Discrimination against trans people is incompatible with FIFA's commitment to equality for all.’

In recent years, Gulf countries have seen ‘morality’ campaigns targeting the LGBT community. Gay sex is banned in every Arab country.

Cross-dressing, being transgender, or ‘imitating the other gender in any other way’, has been illegal since 2007.

In a 2011 Human Rights Watch report, they discovered instances of Kuwaiti police torturing and sexually abusing trans women continually since the law was enforced.

As former LGBT director of HRW Scott Long noted in his blog, report author Rasha Moumneh stressed the law does not single out a ‘transgender’ identity, much less  gay’ sex, but targets anybody who does not follow gender norms.

While it is easier for police to pick out what they see as biological men wearing women’s clothing, all effeminate men and butch women are potential victims.

Speaking to GSN, a Kuwaiti transgender activist has said: ‘While many countries and cultures are going forward in legal and social acceptance of their LGBT communities, Kuwait is going backwards.

‘Our country is regressing both legally and socially, sexual orientation and gender identity is increasingly talked about by politicians and the media as an “epidemic” that the country must get rid of.’

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