Saudi Arabia: 260 arrests for homosexuality in 1 year

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

Religious police in Saudi Arabia continue to crack down on homosexuals, with a total of people 260 people arrested and punished for homosexuality in a one-year period, the Saudi newspaper Okaz says.

Sheik Ahmed Ali Al Ghamidi, a ranking official of the religious police in Riyadh, said those cases include arrests for cross-dressing, men wearing makeup, and men trying to pick up other men, according to an account of the Okaz coverage on the website of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA.

In addition, the ILGA account states, “Ghamidi complains that there are not enough treatment centers in the Kingdom to cure homosexuality.”

The article focuses on sex-reassignment surgery in Saudi Arabia, stating:

In Saudi Arabia, only intersex individuals are allowed to undergo sex-reassignment process. According to a decree by the Saudi Ministry of Health issued in May 2011, all hospitals and medical centers can only perform sex-correction after the cases are confirmed by the “Medical Treatment Office” of the Health Ministry.

The criterion for deciding whether to allow such surgery, Okaz says, is as follows: “Correcting sexuality (which is caused by a birth defect) is allowed, changing sexuality is illegal.” Further, “if ‘the experts’ decide that ‘the real sexuality’ of an intersex person is male, that person’s sexuality will ‘be corrected accordingly,’ regardless of the person’s preference.”

Okaz adds that Saudi Arabia provides inadequate post-surgical psychological care. “As a result, 60% of those who go through the ‘sex-correction process’ cannot adapt to their new gender role and suffer from psychological problems, which may, in some cases, lead to suicide.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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