The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the United Arab Emirates has further vented its fury over a video showing a gay man being "cured".
The six-minute "tutorial" entitled Be Yourself depicts five young men as they try to "convert" a Western-dressed, long-haired and effeminate man to using more masculine behaviour. At the end of the footage, they thank Allah for helping bring about the "change".
"Views about the LGBT community tend to be very negative in our society, which reflects on the attitudes and policies coming from the government," Abdullah Alz, spokesman for the network Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Rights UAE (LGBT UAE), told International Business Times UK.
The scientific community in the Arab world also does not support the rights of gay people, he added.
"The LGBT UAE community has no proper outlets to dispel myths and misconceptions about gay people, but we are using social media and the internet to help us challenge and change those beliefs," Alz said.
The LGBT UAE network had sent an open letter to the government complaining about the persecution of the gay and lesbian community. They claim UAE officials have used hormonal treatments to "cure" homosexuals. Homosexual acts are prohibited by the UAE government.
"We don't have basic rights, the gay scene is mostly underground or between friends, people use the internet to hook-up but even that is censored," Alz said. "It is dangerous and, if you get arrested, the consequences are dire."
Alz claimed refugee status in Canada after his family found out he was homosexual. "So to help the gay community back home, I've started this network," he said.