Qatar has been in full steam preparation for the hosting of the 2022 Football World Cup. However, criticisms and challenges faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer persons in Qatar due to criminalisation have been growing.
In a quizzical move, the Qatari Government has reassured the world that the country will welcome LGBTQ tourists and further stated that visitors will be free to fly the pride flag at all matches without any repercussions. LGBTQ people in Qatar, who very much fear for their safety due to homosexuality being criminalised, denounce the hypocrisy of the Qatari Government.
Living as LGBTQ persons in Qatar is a real challenge. It was reported by the Human Rights Watch that the Qatari Government surveils and arrests LGBTQ people based on their online activities and any traces of LGBTQ activities was erased in traditional media, through drastic censorship of LGBTQ related activities therefore, preventing LGBTQ visibility in the country.
LGBTQ persons in Qatar fear that the changes of them being tracked and prosecuted, for publicly supporting LGBTQ rights during the 2022 Football World Cup will remain, and worse still, the homophobic and transphobic activities of the Qatari State will increase long after the event and after the tourists have vacated the country.
The Human Rights Watch has stated, “Freedom of expression and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be guaranteed for all Qataris, not just spectators and tourists flocking to Qatar for the World Cup”.
While denouncing the bias of the Qatari Government, likewise sports know no borders or religion, let us advocate and hope that LGBTQ visibility during the Football World Cup 2022 would improve the life and condition of LGBTQ people in Qatar.
Young Queer Alliance