A video showing a gay man being "cured" has sparked outrage in the LGBT community of the United Arab Emirates.
The six-minute "tutorial" entitled Be Yourself depicts five young men as they try to "convert" a Western-dressed, long-haired and effeminate man. They show him how to mimic masculine gestures, scrub his hair and cut his nails and hairs. After the make-over, the man is slapped for saying "bye bye" in a high-pitched voice and told: "Thicken your voice".
In the final scene all five characters meet up again. The target of the "gay cure" acts more macho and his friends appear happy and proud of what they did. They finish by thanking Allah for helping bring about the "change".
The network Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Rights UAE sent an open letter to the government to complain about the persecution facing the gay and lesbian community. They claim UAE officials have used hormonal treatments to "cure" homosexuals. Homosexual acts are prohibited by the UAE government.
"The video signifies the level of challenge we have ahead of us," Abdullah, founder of the network, told Pinknews website. "We don't merely have to change the views of the government but also society itself. It angers me but it also saddens me. This video would have been devastating if my 16-year-old self had watched it."
Gay activist and Dubai resident Omar told news website Bikyamasr.com: "This is the only way to enable our rights as citizens because activism on the ground here will lead to our arrest and jailing. We struggle."