1975's Matt Healy defies Dubai anti-gay law with kiss
Matt Healey, a singer from the band ‘the 1975’ told his gay fans that he loved them and that God did too, video footage that emerged online showed.
The footage showed the band performing in front of a rainbow-coloured backdrop as a sign of support for the LGBT community.
“I love you, bro. We’re all human, right?” Healy also told the crowd: “If you’re gay, I love you and God f**king loves you,” Healey said.
LGBT rights are non existent in the UAE, where homosexuality, transgenderism, and cross dressing are illegal and punishable with lengthy prison terms.
Footage showing the kiss with the fan was later removed from social media to protect the man’s identity. It is unclear whether he was a local from Dubai.
Healey later tweeted: "Thank you Dubai you were so amazing. I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again."
In March, popular British girl band Little Mix caused a stir in the United Arab Emirates after performing a “gay anthem” to the backdrop of a giant LGBT flag in Dubai, where homosexuality is illegal.
The band, which was performing as part of an all-star concert to celebrate the Global Teacher Prize, began to sing “Secret Love Song, Pt. II” before the colourful Pride flag appeared on the screen.
“Why can’t I hold you in the street?/ Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor?/ I wish that it could be like that/ Why can’t it be like that? ‘Coz I’m yours,” the girl band sang to the large crowd.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai has highlighted the hypocrisy of Abu Dhabi in its crackdowns on the LGBT community.
"The UAE has built a tolerant, cosmopolitan image, but the laws continue to reflect the conservative, traditional values of the society. It is not uncommon for visitors to be confused about what is or is not acceptable behaviour," she said.
However, even where homosexual acts are not criminalised in the Middle East, a largely conservative Muslim society where open displays of same-sex love and being transgender are severely frowned upon, homosexuals can often face harassment and abuse.
Despite the threats however, some LGBT communities remain defiant, including in Lebanon and Turkey where many attend the Pride festival in spite of warnings from Islamist groups.
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