Last edited: January 31, 2005

Dubai Club Punished for Gay Night / Network, April 4, 2001

By Gregg Drinkwater

SUMMARY: "Fluff night" may have opened people’s eyes, but it also led to the closing of the club that hosted Dubai’s first publicly advertised gay night.

A nightclub in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai hosted a gay night last week, only to be shut down by government officials, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The Diamond Club’s gay "Fluff Night"—Dubai’s first publicly advertised gay club night—featured a transvestite DJ from Birmingham, England, and a "best-dressed transvestite" contest, according to the BBC.

Alerted to the gay event by the thousands of publicity flyers distributed by the party’s organizers, local authorities closed the club for "violating Islamic laws and indulging in immoral activities" according to a report from the Khaleej Times, an English-language newspaper published in Dubai.

The order to close the club, issued by Dubai’s Crown Prince, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, was also seen by those in the region as a public demonstration of the governments disapproval of homosexuality. According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, consensual sodomy in Dubai is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, although punishment can be more severe if defendants are charged under Islamic law, rather than under the secular penal code.

One of the seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is one of the most important ports in the Persian Gulf. Home to thousands of expatriate workers from Britain, Russia, South Asia and elsewhere, Dubai offers one of the livelier nightlife scenes on the Arabian peninsula.

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