I guess it’s that time when the venue for Worldcon is considered, and there are currently two candidate sites. One of them is … Saudi Arabia? Yikes. This is not a criticism of Muslim science fiction writers — I’m a fan of Saladin Ahmed, for instance — but the country has some major problems.
…Local laws require men and women to dress modestly covering shoulders and knees in public, avoiding tight-fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. It is not mandatory for female travellers to wear the traditional robe or abaaya. Information on important laws and etiquette around dress codes is available to visitors on the Visit Saudi website.
Forget about cosplay, then? But there’s worse:
…Homosexual or extra-marital sexual relations, including adultery, are illegal and can be subject to severe penalties. It’s also illegal to be transgender. Transgender people travelling to Saudi Arabia are likely to face significant difficulties and risks if this is discovered by the authorities. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Shouldn’t that be instantly disqualifying? The only people who would be pleased at that choice would be the rabid puppies fans, who would find Saudi-style oppression perfectly copacetic.
The alternative choice is Chicago, in the US. That makes it tough to argue that we should avoid repressive puritanical governments. So far, though, the US is clearly to the left of Saudi Arabia.