March 09, 2004
TNR’s John Bradley has a short but detailed article on homosexuality in Saudi Arabia. Like many countries that outwardly proscribe homosexuality, Bradley finds an implicit acceptance of gay culture in Jeddah in which nightclubs and internet sites thrive despite official prohibition. Though no where near the repressiveness of totalitarian Saudi Arabia, a similar gay culture exists just below the radar in the big cities of India. In popular culture, homosexuality still remains a major social stigma, but in Delhi and Bombay night clubs not so clandestinely sponsor singles nights at least once a week. Since a date isn’t necessary to be admitted, the clubs have become de facto gay nightspots. A friend brought me to one in Delhi at a major hotel a few years ago and from the sea of men dancing it was obvious what was going on as soon as you entered. The only curious thing was that floor lights were all on making for a strange lighted night club. Apparently, this was the only concession that had to be made to have the police look the other way and not shut the club down.