Sunday, November 03, 2013

Persian Gulf States Seek To Bar Trans Workers

Remember the post I wrote in July asking where in the world I could travel on a US passport?   

Scratch the Persian Gulf States from that list if a proposed policy is approved to bar trans people from obtaining visas to work in the Persian Gulf States. 

The Gulf Cooperation Council according to the Saudi based Arab News is pondering a proposal by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health tightening genetic tests for immigrant workers in order to prevent transgender migrants from entering the GCC job market.

Tawfiq Khojah, director-general of the Executive Office at the GCC Health Council, said, “The health checklist for migrant workers now contains a mandatory examination to determine gender.”

GCC_5.jpgThese constrictions are necessary to 'preserve Islamic principles', he added and will be made in a meeting for the Central Committee for Foreign Workers’ at the Health Council to be held on November 11, Khojah told Arab News.

I don't doubt that part of what's motivating this Kuwaiti proposed policy is a reaction to the flood of trans sex workers entering the conservative leaning Gulf States combined with transphobic attitudes in that country leading to the persecution of Kuwaiti transpeople.

“Undergoing the test will become mandatory for an estimated 289 health centers across the GCC if the Health Council approves the proposal of tighter controls on gender tests for migrant workers. More than 2 million expatriate workers underwent the new gender tests in 2012,” Khojah said.

Youssef Mendkar, director of the Public Health Department at the Kuwait Ministry of Health, confirmed that the proposal aims to prevent transgender migrants from working in GCC countries. The tests determine the gender at birth.

The Kuwaiti backed anti-trans proposal before the GCC is a violation of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Yogyakarta Principles.

The transphobic proposal is getting denounced by LGBT human rights advocates such as London based Peter Tatchell and is only adding to the pressure FIFA is getting to pull the 2022 World Cup tournament from Qatar.

"Excluding expat workers because of their gender identity is immoral and doesn't make economic sense," said Tatchell to The Guardian. "People should be employed solely on the basis of their personal integrity and their ability to do the job. Trans people make perfectly good, reliable employees."

The new proposal would also violate FIFA's non-discrimination values and prompts questions about Qatar's hosting of the 2022 tournament, Tatchell said.

2022-fifa-world-cup-awarded-to-qatar"The proposals to test and ban foreign trans employees from the Gulf Co-operation countries will include Qatar and will penalize World Cup construction and hospitality staff from overseas who are trans," he said.

"If these plans get the go-ahead, FIFA should cancel the 2022 World Cup contract on the grounds that Qatar has violated FIFA's non-discrimination values. It should find a new host city for the 2022 tournament. Discrimination against trans people is incompatible with FIFA's commitment to equality for all."

Indeed.  If the Kuwaitis insist on pushing this transphobic policy,, then FIFA needs to yank the 2022 World Cup from Qatar in order to stay true to their anti-discrimination policies.   Good luck on that happening. 

We'll find out what transpires at that November 11 meeting and see if transphobia prevails.. 

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