35 Arrested in Saudi Arabia for ’Gay Party’

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday April 9, 2014

Police from Saudi Arabia arrested 35 people, accusing them of being gay and for holding a "gay party," Gay Star News reports.

The men were allegedly dressed in women's clothes and were taken into custody at a beach resort in the western city of Jeddah, which sits on the coast of the Red Sea and is considered to be the most important commercial hub in the Arab state with a population of 5.1 million.

GSN cites local reports, which say neighbors contacted the religious police, known as "Hay'ah," and complained about the loud music being played at the party. After the authorities arrested the men, they took them to the police station and confiscated the women's clothes and music equipment.

"Once the Hay'ah [religious police] have your identity on record for being gay, you are very likely to face financial and even sexual blackmail," a 31-year-old gay law student in Jeddah told GSN. "If families hear that a member is gay it is not unheard of that they would attempt to kill the person in order to avoid being 'shamed.' If word spreads to employer or the wider community, then not only the person is likely to loose his job but become a social pariah."

There are currently no LGBT rights in Saudi Arabia and homosexuality is considered to be a taboo subject. Those who are found guilty of being gay can be jailed, hit with fines, face corporal punishment, torture, capital punishment and chemical castrations. Transgender people face the same persecutions.