Last edited: February 05, 2005

Bahrain Deporting 2,000 Gays from RP

The Gay Times Are Over

Manila Standard, July 11, 2002

At least 2,000 Filipino homosexuals in Bahrain will be forced to come home in the next few weeks as a result of a police crackdown on illicit sex and prostitution, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration said yesterday.

OWWA Administrator Wilhelm Soriano received a report from the Philippines’ welfare officer in Bahrain that authorities there have issued notices of closure to some 500 commercial establishments while threatening to deport their Filipino gay employees. Beauty salons, massage houses, flower and tailoring shops and other establishments are included in the crackdown.

Just last month Bahrain deported foreigners suspected to be involved in the sex trade.

An OWWA employee who has worked in Bahrain, an Islamic state, said the vulgarity of certain gay people is offensive to the locals because it goes against their norms, culture and religious beliefs.

"In Bahrain, there is no separation of church and state like in the Philippines, and they do not recognize gay rights," the OWWA worker explained.

Soriano said the agency has yet to take action because not even the Philippine embassy in Bahrain or its labor attache has been formally informed. It appears the local authorities have merely sent closure notices to establishment owners and their workers.

OWWA will attempt to request the government to "take it easy" on the Filipino workers with the promise that they would admonish the gay community to behave. They might also ask for a six-month extension or until the workers’ contracts expire.

"Some shops owners and their gay workers have trooped to the Philippine embassy in Bahrain requesting that representations be made on their behalf for a six-month grace period to give Filipino gay workers time to complete their work contract and prepare for their return home. Others have gone to court to defer enforcement of the crackdown," Soriano said.

If the gay workers’ pleas fail to convince the authorities, there will be no recourse but to deport them.

OWWA has a P10 million standby fund that can be used for the workers’ repatriation.

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