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Middle East

Brazil transgender women accosted, detained in Dubai for ‘imitating women’

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two transgender women from Brazil were detained and their passports confiscated while on vacation in Dubai, and have been charged with the crime of ‘imitating’ women.

Karen Mke and Kamilla Satto

Karen Mke and Kamilla Satto

Karen Mke, 38, and Kamilla Satto, 33, hairdressers from Amazonas, Brazil, were detained in December while attending a local nightclub and are now awaiting trial with the possibility of further imprisonment, fines and/or deportation back ot Brazil.

According to Mke and Satto, they were accosted by security at a hotel nightclub, and then asked to display their passports.

When the security staff saw that their registered names were masculine, they said they were subjected to further abuse.

“We were well dressed, according to their culture and yet were accosted. We found the incident untenable and prejudiced,” they said.

Mke and Satto said a friend accompanying them decided to call the police “and it was the worst thing we did.”

“When they arrived and realized we were trans, they placed us in a [police] car without saying anything, and we remained detained for two days,” reported Mke and Satto.

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The pair said that police informed them that they were detained because it is forbidden for “men to dress as a woman”

Dubai punishes the “imitation of women by men” under a law prohibiting “indecent acts” with fines, deportation and possible imprisonment of six months to a year.

The pair cannot leave Dubai as their passports have been confiscated by the authorities.

“We just want to go back to Brazil and make clear that we merely came here to get to know the local culture, and not to attack Islamic laws and moral precepts,” explained Mke.

Brazil’s embassy confirmed the case and said the pair will have to await a court session to be held on March 23.

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105 more reader comments:

  1. Honestly people, Dubai will take our money but only if we’re on the DL about who we are. Stop giving them $$$

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:38pm
  2. As if they need our money. When I traveled there they had just built an indoor ski mountain. INDOOR. M O U N T A I N!

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:58pm
  3. i don't know why gay people go to arab countries give them their money when they dont like us. all they want to see is us beheaded. no way im never going to dubai nor recomend any gay person to go. Like · a few seconds ago

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:37pm
  4. that is horrible!! this world is coming to an end faster than I could have ever imagined! =(

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:38pm
  5. YEAH UM FUCK SAUDI ARABIA THEY TREAT WOMEN LIKE SHIT THERE ANYWAYS. FUCKING BACKWARDS COUNTRY. THEY THINK THEY ARE SO FUTURISTIC, JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE SOME TALL BUILDINGS DOESN’T MAKE YOU A “FUTURISTIC CITY” YOU DUMB FUCKS

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:40pm
  6. why go there,you know something could happen !

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:41pm
  7. I agree with Mr Padden.. You were asking for trouble. However I hope you get released and soon.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:43pm
  8. I went to Dubai for several weeks. As a gay person, I was in constant fear of legal harassment. I cannot imagine being trans, with opposite gender passports, and wanting to go there. Perhaps good will come of it. Perhaps they were attempting to make some sort of statement. I am very fearful for their well-being.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:45pm
  9. If these two beautiful women are so offensive to UAE sensitivities, then why doesn’t the UAE just deport them back to Brazil instead of wasting taxpayer money?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:45pm
  10. That is so unfair. >:(

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:45pm
  11. Stop putting yourselves in danger going to these fucking shit-holes. You are willingly wandering into one of the most radically conservative nations on the planet and expecting nothing will happen?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:46pm
  12. No one should ever have be afraid to go anywhere in the world because of their gender. Do not victim blame. It is not these women's fault for traveling, it is the fault of he country for being horrible.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:57pm
  13. If I jump the fence in a zoo and punch a lion in the stomach then put my head in its mouth, is it still my fault or am I being a naive fool? I am not "blaming" them, because there isn't even anything to "blame" here. I am simply stating that it is abundantly clear that your actions have, and existence has, consequences that you need to be acutely aware of that when travelling abroad. The only part you are right about is that, yes no one SHOULD ever have to be afraid to go anywhere in the world because of their gender or sexual identity. But they do have to be afraid right now. Some places on Earth are still in the dark ages and to tempt fate in the manner that they did is plain ridiculous. It's just plain ridiculous.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:00pm
  14. I agree with Darren. We know these countries are dangerous for gays, stay away,spend your money elsewhere and be safe.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:47pm
  15. I would never go to Dubai or any other city/country which has laws that make what we are illegal.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:32am
  16. I agree w/ Darren Sanderson totally - the mid-east & most of Asia in fact as well as most of Africa & those regions of the world can be wicked hostile to anyone of the LGBT community, as well as w/ women & outsiders (especially Americans) in general - I personally would NEVER wanna go abroad - unless its to Australia; I've been to Canada a few times, but other than those 2 places, the USA & those 2 other countries are perhaps the 3 most LGBT Friendly & Pro-women's rights countries on the earth in the western hemisphere, cause we are more educated, understanding & more tolerant of human rights & human empathy & compassion then the rest of the world, which for most of Africa, The Middle East & Asia, are waaaaaay more intolerant, hateful, backwards, prejudiced, discriminatory, suppressive, more outwardly aggressive & hostile, & Ube-rconservative unfairly cruel to Women & the LGBT community..... My heart goes out to those poor TG women, but still, Mr. Sanderson has got a good point - if you don't go in the lion's den, you won't get mauled... & that's all I'm sayin'

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:12am
  17. As an Aussie I can say with authority you are dead wrong about Australia being on-par with Canada, New Zealand and other progressive nations in the Western Hemisphere.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:15am
  18. Any lgbt going to Islamic countries,specially orthodox ones,will be running high risk ,as fundamentalists have been on the rise in them and specially these last years even more.Orthodox Christian countries are not advisable either but less dangerous if one stays in the big cities and keep a low profile,but not a good choice anyway.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:43am
  19. what about European countries Matt Pinard? You can even marry in some of them- The Netherlands took the lead on that issue long time ago. Don't you think Europe countries are amongst the world most friendly LGTB countries? Or aren't we enough educated to be tolerant and understanding?

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 11:03am
  20. We the LGBT community must be careful when traveling abroad. Lets’ not put ourselves in situations like this. This is certainly one place you don’t want to visit. And so are many others. Be smart about traveling…

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:47pm
  21. …fuck that.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:47pm
  22. Oh, it is ON, DUBAI.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:48pm
  23. be transgender and go to a highly homophobic country, I mean, people do not think in a very smart way.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:49pm
  24. Who the fuck vacations in Dubai???

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:55pm
  25. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid people. You going to get what you deserve. As a gay man I can’t believe you would be so stupid. Well guess what your getting what you deserve for visiting a county so repressed.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:56pm
  26. your disgusting.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:31am
  27. I am a firm believer that people need to take responsibility for their behavior, and held accountable for it. The laws are clear in this county. No respect.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 12:53pm
  28. In a way it is a good news. It will educate other people to avoid going to that country and spend their money at LGBT friendly places around this World.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:59pm
  29. Well at least we have some progress…..no talking of stoning just yet

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:00pm
  30. Poor girls!
    God bless you and u both gonna be ok!
    I hate this fucking countries full of shit!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:01pm
  31. they can shove the sharia up their own arses… don’t fall for the glitter or the hype thes people are backwards bedoin boo boos

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:05pm
  32. grrrr

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:06pm
  33. So there next stop is in Nigeria-just asking for trouble!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:06pm
  34. Fuck them!!! That is way to long to be in jail. Brazil go get your people now!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:07pm
  35. Well, I guess they got to learn a lot more of the local culture than they had planned for.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:10pm
  36. unfortunately

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:10pm
  37. Dubai is islamic country, what the fuck you waiting that happened?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:10pm
  38. Maybe people of other countries should detain and harass people from Dubai for imitating human beings.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:10pm
  39. I sympathize but you need to be aware of the laws and culture of a place BEFORE you go there.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:13pm
  40. This is why people need to look at the laws of countries they are considering traveling to, to make sure they are not putting themselves in danger. First clue, it’s a Muslim country

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:14pm
  41. They’re as good as dead.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:14pm
  42. small minded, selfish, ignorant idiots with too much clout!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:15pm
  43. don’t victim shame, folks. there is no excuse any country, conservative or liberal, should pull this kind of shit.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:18pm
  44. They don’t deserve to be accosted and put in jail. But it was a horrible decision to go there.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:19pm
  45. Why the hell would any member of the LGBT community even GO to these shit-hole countries?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:26pm
  46. This is the country where rape victims have been imprisoned for having sex outside of marriage. So important to know the laws before you travel.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:29pm
  47. Sad.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:36pm
  48. despite their ultra-modern skyline, they still haven’t progressed very far socially, don’t you think?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:41pm
  49. Quite distressing.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:45pm
  50. They go to a sharia-law country and still wonder those people won’t just look away? Are they for real?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:47pm
  51. What is wrong with people even going to Dubai? I wouldn’t visit that quadrant of the planet for any price at this time in history. This is EXACTLY why.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8:49pm
  52. Why DUBAI? It’s like me going to Saudi Arabia and I only wear clubbing clothes, I have to respect the law of the land and the U.S. embassy even states that when visiting foreign countries, this on your heads!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:08pm
  53. Why would anyone want to go to Dubai? Dubai is so ugly, nothing but sands and buildings.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:08pm
  54. WHY would you go to these god forsaken barbaric countries???

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:12pm
  55. oh gheez!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:16pm
  56. wow

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:18pm
  57. retards both of them

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:23pm
  58. I hate just being in the airport for transfer ,I would never visit any of those middle eastern countries ,

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:25pm
  59. Why would anyone “vacation” with the towelheads of terror? Like sleeping with asps.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:30pm
  60. Knowing their laws why the hell would anyone even go there?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:30pm
  61. Why go to fucking Dubai? Idiots.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:42pm
  62. I’m concerned both about the safety of these two women and about what little if any help Brazil will provide, considering its poor record when it comes to treating its transpeople. In the meantime, us here, instead of offering our support and sympathy, we blame what we perceive as lack of judgment in the harshest terms possible. And how exactly is that helping?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:49pm
  63. i don’t know why gay people go to arab countries give them their money when they dont like us. all they want to see is us beheaded. no way im never going to dubai nor recomend any gay person to go.
    Like · a few seconds ago

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:37pm
  64. Again …and I want to visit these third world countries why…..

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:45pm
  65. how far do some people want to strech reality?????????????They ARE imitating women.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:46pm
  66. really??why would you go there????

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:13pm
  67. Dubai…. Did you all read that correctly? This is Dubai. Not Saudi Arabia or Syria.
    But, having said that, tolerance for gay / trans rights are not high on Dubai’s agenda, so it wasn’t a clever decision to travel there, but it does highlight the need for the ongoing fight for LGBT rights.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:21pm
  68. :-(

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:23pm
  69. It’s an Islamic country, They should have done their homework and would have found out that they would not be welcomed there.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:38pm
  70. I agree Francine Brewin. Sucks that anyone has to go through this. But we should always do our homework to know where WE are wanted and not wanted. Many people stuck in the past.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:48pm
  71. Absolutely Outrageous!! Why doesn’t their country demand their release??

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:50pm
  72. This is ridculous

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:57pm
  73. I wouldn’t go near any Abrab state because of the fear of going to jail.This could even take place at the airport changing planes.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 12:20am
  74. wishing them a safe and speedy return to Brazil.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 12:32am
  75. The new middle east my ass…

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:10am
  76. DUBAI let them GO!!!!!!!!! Thats sad they are not even from there just visiting and you have to be pricks like that. Deanna is right we need to stop giving you money and let you stay in your old ways. LET THESE PEOPLE GO HOME. They were not there to break your laws or hurt you so let them go. I will tell you one thing my family and I were talking about visiting DUBAI not anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:11am
  77. Screw the towel heads

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:23am
  78. Not an imitation.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:58am
  79. I feel so sorry for them! But really!! Come on ! Don’t tell me they had no idea where they where going! As a gay man I will never visit and spend my money at any homophobic country or businesses! Sorry girls :-(

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:05am
  80. Wow…i cant believe these comments. If it was a gay couple yall would be outraged. smh.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:27am
  81. how the fuq did they know they weren’t “women”? fuq

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:48am
  82. So sad but then what can you expect there they don’t like equality for women

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:07am
  83. why the hell do people keep going to these places and then acting surprised at how they’re treated? no sympathy at all!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:34am
  84. the worst place to go for women! they are a shit hole no matter how much money is there or how pretty it is blah,blah blah they are a bunch of barbarians neanderthal with money …they treat woman like third class people …will never go to any extremist radical dark age countries like this one !!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:56am
  85. Barbarians.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:05am
  86. Primate country.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:10am
  87. Scary!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:23am
  88. And doing a pretty good job

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:01am
  89. why did they go that stupid country?????

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:05am
  90. I will never go to places like that fuck he’ll no

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:38am
  91. when is fb going to make a dislike button seriously.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:16am
  92. They’re going to hold them for 2 more months until their trial? I can only guess what’s going to happen to them in a Dubai jail!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:33am
  93. The hell of going to the middle eastern countries where women are second class citizens!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:43am
  94. They will probably be executed

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:43am
  95. Why do they not have special rules in place for tourist safety? >.> It’s bad enough that you attack your own people but everyone elses when they’re on vacation?

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:59am
  96. Why would anyone venture to any middle eastern country?? They are so backwards.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:03am
  97. Why would anyone go to Dubai. No thanks.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:19am
  98. Gerald Panuthos Brazil is a very anti-LGBT country too

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:33am
  99. okay i really hate how people here are attacking my country… despite it being hell for a gay guy living here. these girls should have known better than to visit such country.. putting them in jail wasnt necessary neither making them pay a fine but they should’ve just deported them..

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:41am
  100. Dubai is a real “tourist trap” that features tourist prisons! Dubai is dangerous to women, gays, transgenders, drinkers of alcohol and those who speak freely or frankly. Dubai imprisons women for allowing themselves to be raped.
    I’d rather visit a middle age dungeon with a torture staff talented in delivering pain to guests than to visit such a hysterically religious country as crazy tenth century Dubai. Dubai needs a warning label since it’s more dangerous to consumers’ health than any cigarette on earth.
    This detainment is a disaster for these two young people and typical of Dubai. Shame on Dubai opening its dangerously primitive culture to tourism. It’s a dangerously backward tourist destination.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:15am
  101. went to DUBAI dressed like a woman. do ya read at least watch tv…they don’t respect women either dude and if dude looks like a lady dude be lucky to survive.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 11:36am
  102. DONT GO TO THE MIDDLE EAST!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 11:44am
  103. Why would anyone want to go on a vacation in the Middle East? Must be something about all the peace they have there. Lol

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 12:21pm
  104. What the hell would you expect in a Muslim country?
    Dubai is a city built on Muslim hate.
    .

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 12:45pm
  105. good grief and I agree with Darren

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:30pm