‘Quasi-men’ or ‘Coexistence’? Saudi's Homosexuality Debate Reveals Extremes in Attitudes

Published August 12th, 2017 - 10:42 GMT
"Proud to be queer and Muslim", London Gay Pride Parade, 2010 (Flickr)
"Proud to be queer and Muslim", London Gay Pride Parade, 2010 (Flickr)

After a hashtag called for the arrest of Saudi’s “incomplete” gay men, a new viral trend is calling for “coexistence with homosexuals”.

Hashtag “arrest the quasi-men” drew considerable media attention last week for the homophobic tweets it solicited.

Sexual perversion [homosexuality] is moral degeneration, and the society which accepts the moral decay is on the road to destruction. This goes against human nature.

I am surprised by the spread of the phenomenon and even more surprised by the silence of the government about it. I hope that they will be punished [as a] deterrent.

Arrest them, punish them with lashes and teach them how to become real men.

Still, not all the responses supported the hashtag’s call for the detention of LGBT Saudis.

In fact, come the weekend, a new trend had been launched to say “together towards coexistence with homosexuals”. BBC trending reported that the tag had gained more than 40,000 responses in just 24 hours, the majority of which were from Saudi Arabia, although responses also came from Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt.

Many spoke out in support of the Arab LGBT community.

Whoever believes that this love and beauty is wrong should check themselves.

It's true that I'm not homosexual, but I accept gay people and I'm proud of it because it's a natural thing, a person has the tendency from birth. What are they supposed to do, drop dead?

The percentage of Muslim acceptance of LGBT people in America increased to 52% across ten years.

It is not clear, however, whether these responses to the hashtag (which spread internationally) were from within Saudi Arabia itself. Many other tweets opposed any tolerance towards the LGBT community in Saudi Arabia

 

This is not freedom but a violation of our freedom, such an abnormality does not satisfy God nor his Prophet. Ask God to guide them.

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and can be punished severely, including by stoning to death in the case of “sodomy” carried out by a married man. The ultraconservative kingdom enforces a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Conservative social and religious values are dominant among most sections of Saudi society, and are reflected in attitudes towards homosexuality and women's rights.

That having been said, this is not the first time Saudi Twitter has played host to a conversation around homosexuality. In February this year, the hashtag "I'm straight and I love gays" went viral in the powerful Gulf state.


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