Dance-Pop Group ‘Steps’ Refuse Dubai Gig Over Sexuality Clause

Steps

Dance-Pop Group ‘Steps’ has turned down a proposed Dubai show banning the members from making any mention of sexuality, band member Ian “H” Watkins announced.

In a Chippenham Pride event in Wiltshire, England, gay member Watkins said he was at a point in his life where morals were more important than a “pot of gold gig.”

Watkins said nobody had known that the group was offered to perform in the Middle East but he said it was important to raise the issue.

In an interview on Saturday (June 17) with Bobbi Pickard, chief executive of Trans in the city, Watkins said he was emotional that he could not speak up about it sooner and wished he had the courage to talk earlier.

“This week we were offered a gig, a show, and it was in a country where there’s lots of oppression, where the LGBTQ+ community is treated so horrendously. And in the contract, it said ‘no mention of sexuality’ and that really jarred with me,” he said.

Dubai is one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates which has strict laws against homosexuality. According to the Human Dignity Trust organization, there are currently 66 countries that have jurisdictions that criminalize private, same-sex, and consensual sexual activity. All of them criminalize men and 41 criminalize women.

Following Watkins’ revelation, some were quick to note that another ‘Steps’ member, Lisa Scott-Lee has been a resident of Dubai since 2011 and has spoken highly of it in a Euronews interview.

Scott-Lee is also the founder and principal of the Dubai Performing Academy.

Watkins, however, said the band followed his decision despite telling them they could perform the gig without him.

Watkins came out as gay in 2007 and became part of the first same-sex couple on ‘Dancing on Ice’ in 2020. 

 

Sources: (1) (2) (3) (4)

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