Saudi Doctor Accidentally Flies Gay Rights Flag Above Home
In a country where homosexuality is illegal, and can be punished by death, flying the rainbow flag associated with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) rights might be considered exceptionally brave, or just blissfully naïve. In the case of one Saudi doctor, it appears to be the latter.
The doctor, who lives in Jeddah, was arrested by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (religious police), and later bailed after agreeing to remove the flag. He insisted that he had bought it online after one of his children said they liked the pretty design.
The extremely conservative attitudes in Saudi Arabia, whilst explicitly anti-LGBT, are also suspicious of relationships between men and women outside marriage, leading some to comment that same sex relationships are easier as they do not arose suspicion.
In his book Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia, Robert Lacey quotes a Saudi lesbian as saying, “In this society you are mad if you have an affair with a man. With a woman it is safe. No one can question why you spend an evening at home together.”
Likewise in her article on homosexuality in the Wahhabi state, Kingdom In The Closet, Nadya Labi quotes a gay man ‘Yasser’ as saying, “It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here … If you go out with a girl, people will start to ask her questions. But if I have a date upstairs and my family is downstairs, they won’t even come up.”