News (World)

Journalist writes about using hook-up apps in Qatar, where gay sex is punishable by death

He writes, “I thought vaguely that these sites and apps would be a good way to track just these sorts of people, my sorts of people, were the government to want to do that sort of thing,” he writes.

After all, Saudi Arabia is suspected of using those techniques.

Archer asked one man — described as a bodybuilder who works for a large corporation — whether it’s hard to be gay in Doha, and the guy simply laughed:

“He laughed a laugh I’ve grown accustomed to on the road, the oh-you-stupid-callow-foreigner laugh. No, he said, it wasn’t tough,” Archer writes.

Instead, these men “went about with their lifestyle by knowing their enemy.”

Throughout his sexual adventures, the only time Archer felt he was in danger was when a stranger propositioned him on the street while he walked back to his hotel.

Once he was back inside, he did a bit of Google research.

“The first three results told me that police occasionally pick up foreign workers caught in compromising same-sex situations and, in exchange for not arresting and deporting them, turn them into bait,” he writes.

In short, he describes Quatar’s gay dating scene as “secret but not secretive” and “undramatic,” not altogether different from what it was like in Washington DC several decades ago when men would meet in the woods.

There would be the occasional search light, but no arrests.

According to Archer, the police just want their presence to be known and adhered to: “They’d let you do all those things you were doing as long as you didn’t step out of line and force them to do anything about it.”

“It’s not a happy and healthy gay-for-all, but it’s not being thrown off tall buildings either, and it’s not the way I’d gotten used to thinking about life in the religious Islamic world.”

h/t: Vice

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