Lesbiangaybisexual and transgender citizens generally have limited or highly restrictive rights in most parts of the Middle Eastand are open to hostility in others. So were there gay clubs and parties in Dubai? Now, unlike in earlier years, there are lawyers to defend people when they are arrested, and voices to speak up in the press.
Not yet. It was underground and never advertised so you had to know the right people but this created a nice sense of community — think all-day all-gay yacht parties and all-night pool parties on the Palm. But to blame this entirely on Islam is an oversimplification.
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What kind of destinations did you fly to? Without a social network to call on for job leads it is increasingly difficult to find work, and transsexuals are discriminated against in the job market forcing them into sex work. When the US supreme court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage last year, the White House welcomed it with rainbow-coloured lights and many people celebrated by adding a rainbow tint to their Facebook profile.
Dubai sticks out as one example of a city that had a relatively well established gay scene. Remaining single is usually equated with social disaster and once young people have completed their studies, organising their marriage becomes a priority for the family.
The pressure to marry is much greater in Muslim countries than in most western countries. Family members are a primary resource for job acquisition in Iran. The organization focuses more on Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, but also partners with other groups in the region in order to listen to local LGBT activists, and advocate on their behalf at the United Nations.