Not So Gay Dubai – Just Say NO – To Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll

Today the city of Dubai is one of the wealthiest and most modern anywhere, boasting the highest skyline in the Middle East including the two of the tallest hotels in the world, and soon, the tallest building in the world! We did a story a while back on DUBAI and the amazing (and beautiful) growth they are experiencing there.

Even though I would love to see it – as a gay person, it would be difficult to travel there I would think. There were some stories online recently that spoke about the  fifth Dubai Desert Rock Festival and all the issues with sex and drugs.


“We are here to celebrate rock music in all its hedonistic, sex-and-drugs-and-rock’n’roll glory,” wrote John Clarke in The Times.

“But this is also a Muslim state. There are breaks between sets for prayers. The audience and bands are advised not to remove their T-shirts or engage in ‘any public demonstrations of affection’. No ‘offensive hand gestures’ are permitted and crowdsurfers face immediate ejection. So not quite Iggy Pop country then.”

Apart from the hotels, there is only one public bar – inevitably, an Irish one – where visitors can drink. The rapidly growing number of expatriates have to apply for a licence to drink at home. Many don’t, and rely on contacts with The Heineken Man, as the importers are known.

But it doesn’t matter – as long as you don’t get caught or openly disrespect the laws!  Prostitution is rife but purveyed in hotel bars, not on the street.

Homosexuality is also illegal. Rob Harkavy, of gay travel company Respect Holidays says that he would refuse to take a booking to Dubai on principle.   If you know the “right” people and the right places in Dubai, there is plenty of gay life. Some of the gay spots in Dubai you can even read about in the Spartacus Directory. However, you can’t compare the gay life here in Dubai with that of Western Europe. Here, it’s almost all “underground” and there are risks involved.  –  Do we really want to vacation that way??

Many gay people do live in Dubai and, as long as you’re quiet and don’t draw attention to yourselves, you should be fine. Finding other gay people is, however, a big challenge. It can be a problem to find hotel allowing gay people to order one bedroom with one bad, or to rent some other Dubai property for their vacation. However there are many gay men & women there, and as long as they don’t flaunt it publicly everywhere you go, there is no problem whatsoever. –  In other words, keep the closet door closed tightly.

Drugs ARE NOT tolerated.  A  Swiss man imprisoned for ‘possession’ of three poppy seeds on his clothing after he ate a bread roll at Heathrow.  Among substances banned by Dubai are foods containing poppy seeds; melatonin, which is taken to ease the effects of jetlag; codeine, a common ingredient in pain relief medication, and any trace of drugs such as cannabis, however small.

So do many gay people go there?

Who has been there?

Would love to hear our readers feedback!