“Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE, with punishments from serious jail terms all the way to a death sentence. Any expression of an LGBT identity, or of being in any sort of LGBT relationship is strictly forbidden in the Emirates.
In recent years we have seen an Australian man report an assault to Dubai police, only to find himself charged with homosexuality, and sentenced to over a year imprisonment. Others have been arrested for “appearing” feminine in their clothing.
“Dubai has become a popular destination for many celebrities and performers who champion LGBT issues, such as Lady Gaga and Madonna; and even openly Gay artists like Elton John and Ricky Martin. The contradiction has been conspicuous, and it is inevitable that Dubai’s conservative laws will need progressive reforms.
"The UAE’s laws are increasingly at odds with the attitudes and values of the population. It is unrealistic for Dubai’s leaders to think that merely hosting performers with progressive views will satisfy people’s desire for equality. It is more likely that such gestures will bring the fundamental conflict of values to a head. At some point, Dubai is going to discover that the image of tolerance creates expectations of actual tolerance, not only among foreigners but among locals." Radha Stirling, CEO and founder of Detained in Dubai