Pride: Amazon restricts LGBT goods in United Arab Emirates

Marchers hold Pride flags as they take part in the 2022 San Francisco Pride Parade.Getty Images

Online retail giant Amazon has restricted search results related to LGBT people and issues on its website in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The firm took the step after reportedly coming under pressure from authorities in the Gulf state.

Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE – it is one of 69 countries in the world where being gay is criminalised.

The news comes as Pride month, which is dedicated to celebrating LGBT people around the world, comes to a close.

“As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected,” an Amazon spokesperson told the BBC.

“With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate,” they added.

The company made the decision to restrict the searches after being threatened with penalties by the UAE government, according to the New York Times, which first reported the story.

The UAE embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

Earlier this month, the Kuwait foreign ministry said it had summoned a top US diplomat in protest over tweets from the American embassy supporting LGBT rights.

US officials there had posted a rainbow flag and message of solidarity from President Joe Biden for Pride month.

Kuwait officials criticised the embassy for “supporting homosexuality” and demanded it didn’t happen again.

Rights for LGBT people are severely restricted in Kuwait and it is illegal there for men to be gay.

Also this month, authorities in Saudi Arabia seized rainbow-coloured toys and children’s clothing, which they claim encourage homosexuality, state TV said.

An Al-Ekhbariya report showed commerce ministry officials removing a range of items from shops in the capital Riyadh.

They included hair clips, pop-its, t-shirts, hats and pencil cases.

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