Qatar World Cup: Despite the Arab state’s ban on public displays of affection, gay couples will be permitted to publicly hold hands, cuddle, and kiss at the tournament.
Despite the change, there are concerns that LGBTQ+ people in the nation who now enjoy the temporary freedom may still face punishment after the World Cup is gone.
In secret meetings, FIFA convinced Qatar’s Interior Ministry to stop its Preventive Security Department officers from detaining gay World Cup supporters.
According to rumors, undercover ministry operatives were planning to mix with the crowd and apprehend alleged violators.
A statement Mail Online retrieved from a lesbian group via its office manager read: ‘The World Cup has given us the protection we need for maybe a month.’
‘But you will find very few Qatari gay and lesbian people who will believe there will be no repercussions after the World Cup is over.’
‘There may not be trouble while football is here, but they will catch up with Qatari people after, beat and jail us for what they see as shaming the country.’
The office manager who is said to be 30-year-old added: ‘As a lesbian woman, I will enjoy the World Cup like other fans, but you won’t see me hugging my girlfriend in Doha. No way.’
‘We will keep our relationship private like many others here.’
Despite the short-term measures, the official Foreign Office’s travel advise is unchanged and simply states, “Homosexuality is forbidden in Qatar.”
Last month, England and Wales supporters were forewarned by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly saying: “These are Muslim countries; they have a very different cultural starting point (from ours).
“I think it’s important when you’re a visitor to a country that you respect the culture of your host nation.”
Since Qatar was selected as the host nation for the 2022 World Cup, the decision to hold the tournament there, where homosexuality is punishable by death, has come under fire from gay and human rights organizations.
According to British human rights activist Peter Tatchell, “LGBT+ people there can be subjected to police harassment on the street and in shopping malls for merely “appearing queer.”
‘There are reports of LGBT+ people being entrapped by police using gay dating apps and being murdered in ‘honour’ killings by their families,’ he said.
Last month, Mr. Tatchell was interrogated by authorities in Qatar after demonstrating against the nation’s anti-homosexuality laws on the city’s streets.
Human Rights Watch reported that between 2019 and 2022, it had identified six instances of severe and persistent beatings and five instances of sexual harassment against LGBTQ+ people detained by the police.
‘While Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are detaining and abusing LGBT people simply for who they are, apparently confident that the security force abuses will go unreported and unchecked,’ it said.
‘Qatari authorities need to end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching.’
What Did Qatar Initially Say About LGBTQ+?
In an interview with German network ZDF, an ambassador for the World Cup in Qatar called homosexuality “a damage in the mind“
The remarks, which come just two weeks before the World Cup begins in the Gulf state, add to already existing worries over the country’s treatment of LGBTQ+ people and its human rights record.
Khalid Salman, a former Qatari international, said to a German reporter: “[Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram [forbidden] means?
“During the World Cup, many things will come here to the country. Let’s talk about gays: the most important thing is everybody will accept that they come here – but they will have to accept our rules.”
According to Islamic Sharia law, homosexuality is forbidden in Qatar.
Salman’s comments about homosexuality were denounced by Germany’s interior minister Nancy Faeser, who said: “Of course, such comments are terrible, and that is the reason why we are working on things in Qatar to hopefully improve.”
The tournament, which is projected to draw some 1.2 million foreign tourists to Qatar, has drawn criticism and skepticism ever since FIFA chose the gas-rich nation as the host in December 2010.
LGBT rights in Qatar World Cup
People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) in Qatar confront legal obstacles that non-LGBT citizens do not.
According to sharia law, homosexual acts against men are punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine, and the potential of the death sentence for Muslims; however, there are no records of homosexual acts receiving the death penalty in Qatar.
Additionally, there are dominant cultural mores that are against cross-dressing and homosexuality.
Both same-sex marriage and civil unions are not recognized by the Qatari government, and no one is permitted to advocate for LGBT rights there.
George Michael, a British entertainer, was the first openly gay musician to play in Qatar in November 2008 at a well-attended concert.