A British university says LGBTQ staffers should hide their identity if they take a job on the Dubai campus.
The University of Birmingham last year officially opened a new campus in the United Arab Emerites, despite a long history of the nation detaining LGBTQ visitors. Now the University of Birmingham Rainbow Network has offered its official guidance to anyone visiting and taking a job in Dubai: stay closeted.
A list of travel tips suggests staff with same-sex spouses change travel documents so as not to draw attention to the relationship. “If your next of kin is registered as a same sex partner, consider changing this to another family member for the duration of your trip to Dubai and changing it back when you return,” the Rainbow Network document reads.
The network recommends that anyone transgender not go to Dubai at all unless they have a passport that matches their “perceived” gender or risk being denied entry into the country or even risking arrest if ever “discovered to be trans.”
“Consider that some types of healthcare, even if they are not related to transitioning, may also result in the discovery that you are trans,” the travel tips note.
The university also suggests changing social media to conceal one’s sexuality or gender identity.
“If you identify as LGBTQ, try to avoid making this publicly available knowledge on the internet. For example, if you have a University of Birmingham LGBTQ staff profile on the University intranet, ask for it to be uploaded to a restricted webpage,” the document reads.
“Make your social media profiles as private as possible. Avoid disclosing your or your family’s LGBTQ identities, or displaying advocacy for LGBTQ equality, in any parts of your social media profiles which may remain publically visible.”
The network even recommends deleting any LGBTQ content, including literature with same-sex themes, from any electronic devices, noting Dubai authorities have the legal right to access any visitors’ personal information.
The Rainbow Network even advises against wearing any rainbow pins, lanyards, or other items that would identify sympathy with LGBTQ advocacy. That includes anything showing a connection with the Rainbow Network itself.
“If you decide not to disclose your or your family’s LGBTQ identities to anybody in Dubai, ensure that any colleagues, students, and dependants who are aware of these identities are aware of this decision,” the document reads. “Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship status, especially if you travel with a same sex partner.”
The university stressed that all tips and guidance are about preserving the safety of staff and visitors to the school, and that the institution remains committed to a diverse workforce and accepting environment.