LGBTQ World Cup Fans Fear Prison For Kissing In Qatar

Members of The LGBTQ community fears they could be arrested and even jailed if they kiss while attending the World Cup later this month in Qatar, a particularly problematic venue for the usually bacchanalian sporting event chosen after a major bribery scandal.

The Brits are so worried about potential trouble that they are sending a team of special “engagement officers” to protect fans from overzealous police in Qatar.

According to the Human Dignity Trust, a global advocacy group for LGBTQ rights, homosexuality is illegal in the country, and can be punished by death.

But even for those who are heterosexual, public affection is not frowned upon, and women are expected to dress modestly, and be among men, not friends. According to the news, women who report sexual violence to the police can be flogged for illegal sex.

Alcohol consumption is restricted in Qatar, which significantly detracts from a typical World Cup experience.

Limited consumption will be allowed in some areas during the World Cup. But fans are strictly prohibited from bringing alcohol into the country. There are “special measures” in place against anyone trying to smuggle alcohol into their luggage, ESPN reported.

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A Qatari official recently offered some reassurances for the European LGBTQ community. Despite the “authority” being allowed in public, Qatar’s ambassador to the UK, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, could not guarantee anything more would be approved in an interview with London’s Times radio.

“I think one has to be aware of the norms and cultures of the Qatari society,” he warned, wrongly suggesting that public displays of affection are also illegal in Britain.

Conservative UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly struck a blow last month after telling football fans to “be respectful” of Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ culture if they attend the World Cup. A spokesman for the new UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, angrily responded that no fan should be expected to “compromise who they are”.

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Most of the relevant European officials have tried to persuade Qatari authorities to stop their typical fan behavior, including climbing on tables, hanging flags on statues and singing “loud songs in public” without arrest, in according to a summary of the agreements seen by The Guardian. .

LGBTQ fans are also expected to be allowed to wave Pride flags in public. But what happens in practice with the expected one million fans remains to be seen.

An official from Qatar’s Government Communications Office told NBC News last month that fans will be “free to express themselves” — but are also expected to “respect local values ​​and culture.”

The massive cultural clash is a major symptom of Qatar’s troubled selection to host the World Cup after officials at international soccer governing body FIFA were bribed.

When the country was selected in 2010, there was no football heritage, no stadiums capable of hosting international level matches, and the weather was so hot during the typical tournament that football league programs around the world had to be cancelled. to be modified to meet Qatar’s climate.

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The most fundamental problems have to do with awarding a country with gross human rights abuses, especially the involvement of migrant workers, who run the nation. Thousands of migrant workers have died in Qatar over the past 10 years, many in construction accidents – or from heat exhaustion – on World Cup-related projects.

In a striking example of authoritarian sexism in the nation, several women on a Qatar Airways flight bound for Sydney – including citizens from Australia, New Zealand and Britain – were removed from the plane and forced to undergo vaginal examinations at gunpoint in October 2020 after a new baby. found abandoned at the airport. Child abandonment is a problem in the country where women who become pregnant out of wedlock are jailed.


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