At present, it’s neither safe nor legal to exist as LGBTQIA in Qatar

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY PEXELS

As a mark of solidarity with LGBTQIA Qataris, Stonewall has launched its ‘Proud Stadium’ campaign. Aiming to fill an 80,000-seat virtual stadium – matching the size of Qatar’s Lusail Stadium, where the World Cup will be played – it is taking a stand against Qatar’s treatment of LGBTQIA people.

The Men’s World Cup begins on 20 November, and Stonewall is urging football fans to educate themselves, their friends and their colleagues about LGBTQIA rights globally.

At present, Qatar criminalises same-sex relationships and trans people are forced to undergo conversion therapy in Government-sponsored clinics. Many LGBTQIA people are imprisoned for their identity, and some even face the death penalty.

Liz Ward, Director of Programmes at Stonewall, (she/her) states: “The World Cup is a vital moment for the global sporting community to stand up and call out the criminalisation and persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar. In 2022, it is alarming that countries that have appalling human rights records are rewarded with the rights to host one of the world largest sporting tournaments.”

“But we can make our voices heard and be counted. When 80,000 pledge their support for LGBTQ+ Qataris it sends an important message that football fans stand in solidarity with marginalised groups in Qatar and in 70 countries across the world who continue to face horrific persecution for simple being themselves.”

“All LGBTQ+ people deserve to live their lives to the full, to travel without fear, and to be part of global sporting events like the World Cup. This year’s tournament is not safe for everyone, but we can’t stay silent. Let’s fill our ‘Proud Stadium’ with love, support and solidarity and show the world that fans stand with LGBTQ+ Qataris.”

By signing the pledge and joining the virtual ‘Proud Stadium’, LGBTQIA people and allies alike can make a bold statement against Qatar’s treatment of LGBTQIA people. Through this, Stonewall endeavours to call on national Governments and international football bodies alike to stand up for LGBTQIA rights across the world.

To get involved, visit Stonewall’s website at stonewall.org.uk.

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