Transgender Celebrity and Model Gigi Detained in Dubai Over Homophobic Law
In the 21st century the recognition of transgender people and celebrities has grown more than other time in history.
The legislative battles over whether or not transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom still rages.
Bruce Jenner, one of the most famous Olympians of all time, comes out as a transgender person, shocking the world and those outside of his inner circle.
The remake and reimaging of the classic movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show actually stars a transgender talent, Laverne Cox, in the title role of Dr. Frank-N-Further, a mad transvestite scientist.
Jeffrey Tambor stars on the critically acclaimed Netflix drama Transparent, about an elderly man who undergoes sex reassignment surgery and the consequences and freedoms it has on himself and his family.
However, there is so much further to go. Relatively speaking, if one lives in a Western country, life as an LGBT person can be more tolerable than in other parts of the world.
In Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, being an individual with an LGBT identity is an illegal offense. LGBT people can be fined, jailed or executed.
In 2014, two transgender Brazilian women were roughed up and detained by Dubai police for, “imitating women in public.” Their passports were detained and the two are awaiting start of a trial in Dubai.
Transgender model, reality TV star and internet celebrity Gigi, a Canadian citizen, was detained in Dubai for over 5 hours for being transgender and having the temerity of trying to enter Dubai.
According to TMZ and several media outlets, on August 9, 2016, Gigi and a companion were stopped and detained in Dubai when officials became concerned that Gigi’s appearance did not fit those of her passport, which reported features Gigi’s male name.
Gigi reported to TMZ that she was told she could not enter Dubai because she was a transgender person.
Gigi rose to recent pop-culture and reality TV fame by documenting her own sex reassignment surgery on internet videos, modeling and becoming a beauty expert.
Gigi and her companion were released by Dubai authorities.
It isn’t safe to express oneself as transgender everywhere in the world. So much more has to be done to further the cause of equality and recognition of humanity.
The best that can be done now is to be situationally aware of what countries in the world actively criminalizes the LGBT identity and to stay away from such places.