BAHRAIN'S gay community and human rights activists were furious yesterday over a parliamentary campaign to stamp out homosexuality.
MPs are demanding the Interior Ministry stop granting residence permits to foreign homosexuals and that it deports any that are already here, as soon as they are detected.
They also called for regular inspections to root out homosexuals at massage parlours, health clubs and hair salons.
The MPs also want monitoring in schools and for pupils who veer towards homosexuality to be punished.
One Bahraini homosexual said it would be almost impossible to monitor the sexual leanings of students, without turning schools into concentration camp regimes.
Even then, it would be impossible to stamp out homosexuality and that tyring to hide it would only make it more attractive to curious youngsters.
"There is nothing legal or illegal you can do to stop it (homosexuality)," he said.
"It is better to educate the public than keep it under cover because this is what will attract people to it - it's reverse psychology."
Some expat homosexuals said MPs were wrongly putting homosexual prostitution in the same light as gay relationships.
"I think it's unfair to generalise on a certain group of people," said a gay Filipino artist.
"This is against human rights and I think half the world would be against them.
"It's like a witch-hunt. And what's the test? If you talk gay or walk gay, you are out? How can they implement it?"
Another homosexual, who was once married, said MPs seemed to have a misconception that homosexuals are perverse and dirty.
He said some homosexuals had given the gay world a bad image by selling their bodies and preying on young boys.
"They must separate respectable gays and those from Thailand and the Philippines who are prostitutes and paedophiles," he said.
He said monitoring and punishing school students who veer to homosexuality would traumatise and scar them for life.
"It is their right to choose their sexual preferences, there is nothing wrong to choose a guy and not a girl," he said.
"Normal gay life is two people that are happy to share their lives together. Being picked up on a street for half an hour is not a gay."
A homosexual Filipino designer urged MPs to tackle real issues such as raising the salary of Bahrainis. "They are focusing on the wrong things," he said.
"Everyone has a contribution to society, not everything is sexual. They think we brought homosexuality to the island, which is not the case - it's the culture.
"Since boys and girls are not allowed to mingle until they are 16 they have sexual experience with their own sex and miss it when they marry."
Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society regional and international relations director Faisal Fulad said that while Bahrain's tradition and religion should be respected, the parliament proposal was illogical and out of date for modern times.
"In the modern world it's normal, it's not a disease - many homosexuals are lawyers, doctors and ministers. "Punishment never cures society, it should be through education and awareness in the family."
Mr Fulad said he was however against homosexual prostitution and MPs were right to come down hard on this.
A Thai Embassy spokesman said homosexuality was globally accepted and it was against human rights to discriminate against gays.
"Everything has to abide by human rights and international law and Bahrain has signed the agreements," he said.
Philippine Ambassador Eduardo Maglaya said expats came to the country to work not to 'spread' homosexuality.
"It's difficult to watch all of the borders of Bahrain to see who is limp wristed or not," he said.
"I don't know how the United Nations Human Rights Council would react to this but I'm sure it would be different from what our honourable MPs think."