Saudi Gov't Gets Tough on Gay Foreign Workers

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For nine years, Ramil Autentico had to watch his moves as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

That was because as a homosexual, Ramil knew very well that the Saudi government didn’t approve of his sexual orientation.

“Once they see you swaying your hips or applying make-up and you’re a man, they’ll conclude that you’re gay and detain you. They call you ‘gay,’ or ‘harami,’ which means you’re in danger of being arrested," Ramil says.

The Saudi government follows Shari’ah or Islamic law, which strictly prohibits open display of homosexual behavior.

Last month, the government took its drive against homosexuality a step further when it banned the recruitment of gay and lesbian workers, including those from other countries.

In a May 26 memorandum, the consular section of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia reminded recruitment agencies in Manila to be stricter in screening job applicants to the Middle Eastern country.