You can tell homophobia has gotten out of control when even handshakes between men are scrutinized for being “gay.” In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one man stands trial after being accused of giving a gay handshake to a colleague, reports The Huffington Post UK.
As a Care2 member stated in a petition she created, “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GAY HANDSHAKE!” It is an absolute joke that Dubai courts are entertaining the allegation as a potential criminal matter. The fact that the case wasn’t immediately thrown out shows how the government is inclined to condemn homosexuality in even the most ludicrous of scenarios.
The handshake in question occurred between a pair of firefighters with a longstanding grudge. The prosecution has charged the defendant with indecency for shaking hands in a “perverted” manner. The supposed “victim” says that, when shaking hands with his coworker, the defendant rubbed his middle finger on his palm.
Although the gesture seems too insignificant to be considered a homosexual act, even supposing it were meant to communicate something “gay,” a harmless handshake should not warrant judicial intervention.
For what it’s worth, the defendant denies giving the “perverted” handshake. He cites a workplace feud as the reason the plaintiff pressed charges.
“If this case goes any further it has the potential of setting a dangerous precedent,” argues the head of the UAE LGBT advocacy group. “It is inviting misuse by other claimants who are simply against homosexuality, causing a witch hunt against an already prosecuted minority group. What[‘s] next? ‘He look at me in a funny way, therefore he is gay and must be punished?’”
Unfortunately, legal action over something this trite isn’t all that surprising given the other anti-gay legislation on the books in the UAE. In Dubai, both parties of a same-sex couple that engage in consensual sex can receive up to 10 years in prison, while a federal law stipulates that male sodomy is punishable with the death penalty.
Considering that the UAE Supreme Court permits men to abuse their wives and children so long as they don’t leave visible marks (sigh) and rape victims in Dubai can still be placed in jail for their part in getting raped (double sigh), this case shows the warped priorities and sense of justice in the region. When actual sexual misdeeds are committed, the courts look the other way, but when the smallest hint of something that someone has construed as “gay” occurs, then they hold a trial.
Join others around the world in telling Dubai officials that a handshake is not “gay” and prevent this homophobia-based witch hunt from escalating further by signing the petition below.