Activists stage powerful kiss-in to protest anti-LGBTQ+ laws in Qatar
Amidst increasing tensions ahead of the World Cup 2022, human rights group All Out organised a defiant protest to show footballing organisations and the world that aligning with homophobia, for any reason, is unacceptable.
The group – along with Pink Cross, Transgender Network Switzerland and Lesbenorganisation Schweizin – organised the action in response to footballing organisation FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and its failure to adequately consider LGBTQ+ football fans or the dangers they face by attending the tournament.
FIFA has been heavily condemned since announcing that the tournament would be held in Qatar, where homosexuality is still criminalised, and same-sex marriages are not recognised by the government.
Currently in Qatar, same sex intercourse is punishable by flogging, stoning to death or up to seven years in prison and multiple appeals to suspend these laws during the World Cup were thrown out.
Participants at the protest were seen standing outside the FIFA museum in Zurich kissing and playing football with a goal covered in rainbow flags.
All Out said of the protest: “FIFA has failed to guarantee the safety of the LGBT+ community before and after the 2022 World Cup.”
Going on to say, “we staged a powerful action, including a symbolic Qatari police and FIFA referee standing in front of a goal post for love and equality”
The decision to hold this year’s tournament in Qatar has drawn criticism from day one, increasing in recent weeks as David Beckham faced backlash for calling the country “perfect”, footballer Gary Neville was condemned for talking a TV job in the country during the games, and with the matter regularly trending on Twitter due to outraged users demanding action.
This week, Qatar FIFA World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman made the headlines after he said, in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, that being gay is “damage in the mind.”
Saying any LGBTQ+ attendees should “accept our rules”.
Salman then said: “[Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram [forbidden] means?”
When asked why it was haram, he added: “I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is ‘damage in the mind.”
— Queer Insider 🏳️🌈 🏳️⚧️ (@qitweets) November 8, 2022
Also this week, gay Labour MP Luke Pollard slammed U.K. Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, saying he should apologise for suggesting that LGBTQ+ football fans show ‘a little bit of flex and compromise’ and ‘respect the culture of the home nation’.
Pollard condemned the comments, saying they landed like trying to ‘force people back into the closet’.
Speaking in the Commons, Pollard also (brilliantly) said: ‘I declare an interest as a massive gay, but as an England-supporting homosexual it is not safe for someone like me to watch the World Cup in Qatar.
As a gay @England fan it is not safe for someone like me to watch their team at the World Cup in Qatar.
Today I challenged Ministers to back our footballers in wearing the 🏳️🌈 armband and to apologise for the Foreign Secretary telling #LGBT fans to get back in the closet. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/yE9sz9VN0f
— Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) November 8, 2022