The list of prohibitions is long: It’s haram—forbidden—to smoke, drink, go to discos, or mix with an unrelated person of the opposite gender.
Like many gay and lesbian teenagers everywhere, he felt isolated.
“I used to have the feeling that I was the queerest in the country,” he recalled.
(For this reason, the names of most people in this story have been changed.) Ask many Saudis about homosexuality, and they’ll wince with repugnance.
“I disapprove,” Rania, a 32-year-old human-resources manager, told me firmly.
Officially, men in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to wear their hair long or to display jewelry—such vanities are usually deemed to violate an Islamic instruction that the sexes must not be too similar in appearance.