Saudi’s LGBT Rights Rule Denies Homosexuals’ Right to Worship at Hajj

Culminating in the fulfilment of the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is a primal wish of most believers of Islam. Even as millions of blessed worshippers undertake this voyage as an act of submission to God, Saudi’s conservative LGBT rights rule refrain the queer community from visiting the Hajj.

While there haven’t been any definitive announcements about this year’s Hajj, one thing remains certain — ‘entry bans on LGBT Muslims’. Saudi’s ultra conservative society define homosexuality and being transgender as an indecent, immoral and punishable offence. Same-sex marriages, domestic relationships, cross-dressing and public display of affection is strictly against Saudi’s law, often leading to fines, lifetime imprisonment and even death penalty.

Considering the religious significance of a Hajj visit, Muslims staying in countries where third gender ID’s are acceptable are forced to hide their third gender on ID cards. If not hidden, they would not be allowed to visit the Mecca. The very fact that individuals have to subside a part of their identity just to get acceptance in a holy pilgrimage is shear disrespect of not just LGBT but also human rights!!

Various human rights organisations and independent activists have highlighted Saudi’s rigorous efforts to supress voices that are critical about its LGBT rights rule. In July 2020, a Saudi court ordered 10 months of imprisonment to a Yemeni blogger Mohamad al-Bokari for supporting equal gay rights on a social media platform.

Bokari was accused of ‘promoting homosexuality online’ and ‘imitating women’. After his trial, he wasn’t offered any counsel. The government’s attempts to supress powerful voices surely affect travelling choices of those supportive of LGBT community. Famous gay travel bloggers @nomadicboys advice LGBT travellers visiting most Middle Eastern nations to switch all social media accounts to private in order to avoid being tracked easily.

On the other hand, American gay rapper Lil Nas X recently hit top charts in Saudi with his newest track, “Call Me By Your Name (Montero). It is surprising that the song was a huge success in a conservative society like Saudi that punishes gay sex by death penalty. The song touched hearts of all who wish to raise their voice against Saudi’s conservative LGBT rights rule, yet are forced to remain silent due to fear of inhuman law. Clearly, there is a lot to be said and unheard. No wonder LGBT Muslim travellers are hesitant about visiting Saudi Arabia!

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