Kuwait City: Kuwait’s Education Minister Badr Al Eisa said there were no plans to fire gay teachers or to expel homosexual students.
“There are no measures against the cases at the Ministry of Education or the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training [PAAET] or the University of Kuwait,” he said.
“Gays will not be fired from the educational institutions, and if any were sacked, they will be reinstated by the force of law,” the minister told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai.
He added there were some individual cases, “like the ones that can be seen in all state institutions”.
“To limit the cases, we need the enactment of law by the parliament,” he said.
“At the same time, some of them are employees in state institutions. So should we fire them and create new social problems? Currently, we are dealing with the cases in schools with utter discretion and we provide social and psychological assistance through service offices in educational institutions. They even receive parents to discuss matters with them,” he said.
Al Eisa added that there had been no studies or research about behavioural phenomena in the schools for boys or girls during his tenure.
It was unclear whether Al Eisa was reacting to a specific incident or just general comments.
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are a social and legal offence in Kuwait and the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In June, security authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested several people in the Red Sea city of Jeddah following raids on two parties in which most participants were homosexuals.
In November 2014, a court in the port city of Dammam in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province sentenced a homosexual man to three years in jail for engaging in “immoral acts”.
He was also ordered to pay a 100,000 Saudi riyal (Dh97,838) fine by the court.
The man, in his 30s, was apprehended by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice after he posted pictures of himself naked on social media and offered to have sex for free with other men.
In October 2014, in Kuwait, where prison terms for homosexual acts can go up to 10 years if the people involved are under the age of 21, the police arrested 23 cross-dressers and homosexuals after they busted a “wild party” held at a chalet in the south of the country.
In Bahrain, lawmakers, wary of the growing number of gays coming into the country, had pushed for a crackdown, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures and prompt deportations.
In 2011, Bahrain arrested 127 people, mainly gays from the Gulf countries, for holding a “depraved and decadent” party. The revellers hired a sports hall in Hidd, a conservative village on Muharraq island in the north of Bahrain, and organised a fee-paying party that brought together gay men from the Arabian Gulf countries.
Most of the attendees were between 18 and 30 years old and one Lebanese and one Syrian were among those arrested following the police swoop.
In 2010, Kuwait banned the screening of a controversial Egyptian film, saying that it promoted a culture of debauchery.
The film, Bedoon Rakaba (Out of Control, or Uncensored), was produced in 2009 and addressed lifestyles centering on drug use by young people, and lesbianism, a taboo subject in Arab cinema and society.
A member of the censorship board said that some of the scenes were “too hot” and that the lesbianism theme was “too bold”. The censor stressed that the script was very weak and failed to address the controversial issues properly.
In the film, the main character, Ahmad Fahmi, is a drug addict and an alcoholic who inherits a colossal fortune when his father dies. Actress Ola Ganem plays the role of a lesbian who seeks to lure young girls into her way of life.