Cross-dressing is considered a crime in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The punishment for crossdressing can range from fines to prison time. Please be advised on this because at times you may think that it’s alright in your country, however in the UAE it is illegal.
Also Read: UAE Do’s and Don’ts: Tips for Newcomers
It is highly recommended for travelers to respect local laws and customs while visiting the country. To avoid any misunderstandings or punishments, please take into account all cultural differences when traveling abroad.
The UAE is an Islamic country and its laws and values reflect this. It is important to be aware of the culture and society you are entering, so that you may avoid engaging in behavior which could be interpreted as offensive or illegal.
Article 359 of UAE Penal Code
According to Article 359 of the UAE Penal Code, cross-dressing is illegal and punishable. This should be taken seriously, as noncompliance could result in serious punishment.
Imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding ten thousand Dirhams or one of said two penalties shall be imposed on whoever molests a female in an indecent way by words or acts on a public road or in a much-frequented place.
The same penalty shall be imposed on any male, disguised in female apparel, who enters a place reserved for women or where entry is forbidden for other than women. Should he perpetrate a crime in this condition, this shall be considered an aggravating circumstance.
According to a post shared by Content Creator, Ebrahim_Ka, cross-dressing last year (2022) was decriminalized but it’s now back. He adds in the video that he is giving people the heads up “Do not go to the mall wearing a dress (if you’re a guy).” Below is his video post:
Article 412 Arabic Penal Code
According to Emirati lawyer Faisal Al Zarooni, as per the revised UAE Penal Code of January 2, 2022, cross-dressing is now considered unlawful. He recently posted a video discussing the same on TikTok and his Instagram page.
The Penal Code’s Article 412 in the Arabic version states that if a male person enters a place designated exclusively for women, or where men are not permitted to enter while disguised, they may face penalties of up to an AED10,000 fine, imprisonment for one year, or both. The same provision was previously listed as Article 359 in an older version of the Penal Code.
Based on the UAE Penal Code, it states that if someone is caught cross-dressing the punishments could range from fines to prison time including:
- Imprisonment of less than 1 year
- AED 10,000 Fine
- or Both
Reminder to All Foreigners and Expats
It is important for everyone to be aware of the laws and regulations in a foreign country as one misstep can lead to serious consequences. We advise all foreigners and expats who are visiting or living in the UAE to be mindful of the local customs and laws, especially when it comes to cross-dressing as it is illegal under UAE law.
In the UAE, gender roles are taken seriously, and anyone who is seen as disrespecting them can be punished.
Cross-dressing is not accepted in the UAE and those found guilty of cross-dressing can face serious punishment. To ensure your safety and respect for local law, please refrain from any activities that go against the country’s beliefs while visiting.