England wicketkeeper Steven Davies

An United Arab Emirates (UAE) gay rights activist says that he is inspired by the fact that openly gay England cricketer Steven Davies is playing in his homeland.

Abdulla Alzareei told the BBC that “Having an openly gay member of the England cricket team play in the UAE is awesome”.

Wicketkeeper Davies came out the closet in February last year, making him the first still-playing openly gay professional cricketer.

Alzareei commented that he doubted that the authorities would make a fuss about Davies’ sexual orientation. “If anything they won’t report anything about him being gay at all. They will turn a blind eye to it,” he said.

Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE, which includes the emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Sharjah.

Punishment includes imprisonment, fines, deportation, and the death penalty as well as hormone treatment and chemical castration.

Alzareei, who runs a Facebook page promoting LGBT rights in the UAE, was granted asylum in Canada two years ago after his parents threatened to force him to have hormone treatment in a bid to “cure” him of his homosexuality.

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