The story of 2 Singaporeans sentenced to 1 year in prison for cross dressing and public indecency was published in gay news and social media today. Detained In Dubai has received emails and calls from gay campaign groups who are keen to rally support for a reduced sentence and deportation. They are aiming to warn the LGBT community that while the UAE seems gay friendly by way of gay clubs and a vibrant gay scene, the prevalence and openness contradicts local laws.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Stirling Haigh said in a statement:
"The UAE has many similar contradictions that can render tourists and expats highly confused and vulnerable to arrest. Alcohol, prostitutes, homosexuality, sex outside marriage and revealing clothing are all ever present, making these practices seem legal or at least, common and acceptable. In reality, they are serious offenses that can lead to lengthy imprisonment, fines and deportation.
Last year, we managed to secure a small fine to a British man accused of cross dressing. He was fined 5,000 dirhams and deported. The LGBT community is closely monitoring and supporting this case, hoping that the Singaporeans will receive a similar sentence on appeal. The family is obviously distraught and this experience has been draining on their finances and emotions.
The pair's representatives claim that the Singaporean embassy initially advised the duo against employing legal representation, suggesting that they simply apologise and will likely only be fined and deported. The embassy denies that this was the case."