Steps turned down an offer to do a show in Dubai over a contract clause which said there should be “no mention of sexuality”.
“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,” band member Ian ‘H’ Watkins told Bobbi Pickard, Chief Executive of Trans in the City, during an interview last week.
“And in the contract it said ‘no mention of sexuality’ and that really jarred with me.
“I’m at a point in my life now where my morals and what I strive for is more important than that pot of gold gig was in Dubai.”
As one of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has strict laws against homosexuality.
This includes the criminalisation of sexual activity between men, which is punishable by death.
“It felt like a little win”
Watkins shared that he told the rest of Steps they were welcome to do the show without him, but the band supported him in not performing.
“It felt like a little win,” he explained.
“If everybody did that, all of those ripples will make huge waves, and we will have a much more inclusive and beautiful place to live.”
Pickard said the band showed “fabulous allyship” in their united decision.
“They [Steps] have a strong Pride community following, and this reinforces their support and love for their fans.”
She also stated that she would like to see other artists think twice before opting to perform in places where their fans could potentially face imprisonment or the death penalty.