Matt Healy, the frontman of Brit Award-winning band The 1975, has defied Dubai’s anti-LGBTQ laws by kissing a male audience member during a gig.
Fan footage showed Healy venturing into the crowd and kissing a man on the lips, to loud cheers, on Wednesday.
He is then seen returning to the stage and declaring: “I love you bro. We’re all human, right?”
Homosexuality is illegal in the Arab emirate, and any public displays of affection are frowned upon.
Posting online afterwards, the singer said he did not regret his actions, which took place during their performance of the 2016 track Loving Someone.
He tweeted: “I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again.”
It was the Cheshire band’s first gig in the United Arab Emirates. They won best British group and best British album at this year’s Brit Awards, and all three of their studio albums have gone to number one in the UK.
Last year, the 30-year-old singer helped to finance a new LGBTQ community centre in London, telling The Observer: “You might wonder why it is needed, and even ask yourself what exactly is everyone still scared of, but sadly, I think stigma still exists even in London and we still have some way to go.”
According to the Foreign Office, there have been reports of people being punished for homosexual activity in the UAE, particularly where there is a public element or the behaviour has caused offence. There have also been several arrests for heterosexual kissing in public.
The socially-conscious band, who will headline the Reading and Leeds festivals next week, feature 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg on the first track of their forthcoming fourth album, Notes on a Conditional Form, which is out next February.