Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too Close for Comfort...

Sharjah: A shocking trend is sweeping across educational institutions in the UAE. It’s called same-sex relationships and it’s worrying officials and parents no end.
A number of students, school employees and others confided in XPRESS that inappropriate intimacy among girls is on the rise on campuses.

“They sit intimately close and touch each other inappropriately,” said Umm Rawan, an employee at the Sharjah University for Women (UOS).

The Emirati woman also had to deal with the demon on a personal level recently – first when her 16-year-old daughter fell for an Indian girl and then when her teenage son started receiving overtures from homosexual male students. Umm Rawan lodged a complaint with the school administration. “I am a divorcee and couldn’t handle these things on my own. I feared my kids would become homosexual so I gave them in the custody of their father,” she recalls.

But Umm Rawan’s startling revelation pales in comparison to the scandalous disclosure made by a girl on Abu Dhabi TV’s Step programme some time back.
Badriya, who prefers to be addressed as Bandar (a male name), shocked television audiences across the nation when she openly spoke of her relationship with another girl, Maha, and expressed the desire to marry her and have children with her through artificial fertilisation. “I love my girlfriend and I want to have children with her,” she said on national TV, adding that she would work to support her family.

Prohibited by law

Homosexuality is prohibited in the UAE and violators face stiff punishment.

Authorities are trying to curb deviant behaviour to better reflect the traditional conservative laws of the UAE. Last year the Ministry of Social Affairs launched an awareness campaign called Excuse me, I am a Girl, directed against what was described as ‘the ‘fourth gender’.

Meant to tackle lesbianism-related issues, the campaign included a series of workshops, TV programmes and lectures at universities and schools and was run by the Sharjah Social Care Centre for Women, an affiliate of the ministry. Samira Al Shair, Security Affairs Officer, Ajman Police, who implemented the campaign at Ajman Educational Zone said lesbianism accounted for 40 per cent of the 70-80 per cent of juvenile delinquency cases reported at Ajman schools.

“I dealt with many cases, almost all of which had one thing in common – the absence of a father,” recalled Samira.

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