July 18 2008
By Ian Black

Foreigners visiting the Gulf tourist hub of Dubai have discovered the limits of tolerance after cross-dressing in the city’s shopping malls and other public places.

On Wednesday police detained 40 “cross-dressing tourists”, the Gulf News reported, quoting the local police chief as complaining that transvestites were frequently being spotted.

“This is against the UAE’s traditions and social values,” said General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim. Any man or woman who behaved like the opposite gender in public would be questioned and action would be taken, he added.

Dubai, a city state that is part of the United Arab Emirates, is a magnet for foreign tourists as well as investors and is known for a liberal lifestyle fuelled by a booming property sector.

More than half the population are expatriates, with thousands sporting bikinis on public beaches, wearing shorts and drinking alcohol that is freely available in bars and restaurants.

In 2006 more than a million British visitors travelled to the UAE and 100,000 British nationals live there.

Openly gay behaviour is banned. Despite its western and cosmopolitan outlook, Dubai is (…)

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