LGBTQ World Cup Fans Fear Prison For Kissing In Qatar

The 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 typically bacchanalian sporting events picked up after a massive bribery scandal.

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

Homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable by death, according to the Human Dignity Trust, a global advocacy group for LGBTQ rights.

But public displays of affection are frowned upon even for people who are heterosexual, and women are expected to dress modestly and be in the company of men, not lovers. Women who go to the police because of sexual violence can be flogged for engaging in illegal sex, according to news reports.

Alcohol consumption is restricted in Qatar, significantly affecting another aspect of a typical World Cup fan experience.

Limited drinking will be allowed in some areas during the World Cup. But fans are strictly prohibited from bringing alcohol into the venue. “Specific measures” have been taken to take action against anyone trying to smuggle alcohol in their luggage, ESPN reported.

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A Qatari official recently offered some reassurance to Europe’s LGBTQ community. While “holding hands” may be allowed in public, Qatar’s ambassador to the UK Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah could not guarantee in an interview on London’s Times radio that anything more would be acceptable.

“I think we have to take into account the norms and cultures of Qatari society,” he warned, and incorrectly suggested that public displays of affection are also illegal in Britain.

The UK’s Tory Foreign Secretary James Cleverly sparked a massive backlash 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 UK’s new prime minister Rishi Sunak angrily responded that no fan should be expected to “compromise who they are”.

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Most of the European officials involved have tried to persuade Qatari law enforcement to tolerate their typical fan behavior, including climbing on tables, draping flags over statues and singing “loud songs in public” without arrest, according to a summary of the deals seen by The Guardian. .

LGBTQ fans are also supposed to be allowed to fly Pride flags in public. But what happens in actual practice with around a million fans expected 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 will also be expected to “respect local values ​​and culture.”

The nation had no football heritage when it was elected in 2010, no stadiums capable of hosting international-level matches and weather so hot during the typical tournament time that football league schedules around the world had to be changed to accommodate the weather. Qatar.

More fundamental concerns included rewarding a country with egregious human rights abuses, particularly involving migrant workers, who make the nation run. Thousands of migrant workers have died in the past 10 years in Qatar, many in construction accidents – or from heat exhaustion – on World Cup-related projects.

In a stunning example of authoritarian sexism in the country, several women on a Qatar Airways flight to Sydney – including citizens from Australia, New Zealand and Britain – were pulled off the plane and subjected to forced vaginal exams at gunpoint in October 2020 after a newborn was found abandoned at the airport. Abandoned newborns are a problem in the country, which imprisons women who become pregnant out of wedlock.


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