“This further proves the need for CHANGE.”
As the war for equality ceaselessly rages in the United States, it’s easy to forget that the battle has barely begun in other parts of the world.
Many Americans take our rights and freedoms for granted, which is easy to do in such a large and prosperous country. Though we’re all aware of the many prejudices that exist throughout our nation and among our people, so long as they don’t affect us personally, the headlines and news reports are fairly simple to ignore. As always, life goes on.
They say ignorance is bliss, but our inherently American ignorance can lead to even more disastrous outcomes when faced with alternative lifestyles, social movements, and other cultures both at home and abroad. Like a bull in a china shop, Americans abroad are often a force to be reckoned with. Donning leggings and flip flops, why is it that so many Americans leave the country on holiday only to be surprised, even angered, that our rules and privileges don’t apply elsewhere?
Though the United States still has a long way to go in terms of social equality, human rights, and the basic acceptance of our many and varied minorities, things remain far worse in other nations, as is their right should they choose to remain stuck in the past. This realization, however, can come at a terrifying price, as it did for trans model and internet personality Gigi Gorgeous.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be denied from Dubai.”
Born Gregory Allan Lazzarato, 24-year-old Canadian actress, model, and personality Gigi Gorgeous is a perky and insightful trans woman who came to fame after documenting her transition on YouTube starting in December 2013. Previously identifying as a gay male, practicing Catholic Gorgeous now considers herself bisexual and uses her influence to promote LGBT advocacy and awareness.
For all the good that she does, Gorgeous deals with her fair share (and then some) of adversity. Most recently, the model dealt with what she’s since referred to as “one of the scariest moments of [her] life” after arriving at the Dubai airport having traveled to the popular Middle Eastern metropolis to see a friend.
Here’s what happened to her…
In the Airport
After a lengthy flight, Gorgeous arrived at the Dubai airport and met up with a hired team (security guard and assistant) before heading to airport security on her way out. After handing her new passport to a worker, who she claims gave her a nasty smirk, she was quickly told that she was not welcome in the country, and that if she stepped foot outside the airport, she would be arrested.
The crown jewel of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai may seem like a modern city for all its innovative architecture, luxury shopping, and world-class attractions, but it remains a Muslim nation governed by Sharia law nonetheless. The Human Rights Watch has previously stated that the country’s laws inherently discriminate against women, but perhaps no community is more at risk in the UAE than the LGBT one.
Homosexuality is a gervious offense in the United Arab Emirates, punishable by deportation, fines, chemical castration, prison, or death. According to the US Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Report, “Both civil law and Sharia criminalize homosexual activity. Under Sharia the death penalty is the punishment for individuals who engage in consensual homosexual activity […] At times the government subjected persons to psychological treatment and counseling for homosexual activity. Cross-dressing is a punishable offense.”
In a country where capital punishment is the norm and stoning and crucifixion are still acceptable forms of punishment, Gigi Gorgeous is lucky her trip to Dubai started and ended at the airport. Here’s what happened.