While homosexual relationships continue to be banned in Qatar, the Gulf state has decided to allow LGBT+ football fans to wave rainbow flags during the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be held in the country for the first time.
YAAAAAAY it's official! Pride flags can now be waved in the universally soccer-obsessed nation of Qatar at the next World Cup! What a tremendous achievement!— Marco (@MarcoPitino) December 9, 2020
BUT... nuh uh uuuh, not so fast! If you haveth the gay sex you will still go to jail #logichttps://t.co/vAAmSqepGy
The decision comes after months of online campaigns pressuring Qatari officials to have a more open and inclusive policy towards people with different sexual orientations or gender identities, prior to the global event that is expected to attract millions of football fans from all over the world, including members of the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the Associated Press, 2022 World Cup chief executive Nasser Al-Khater stated that his country will not change FIFA policies when it comes to flags waved in stadiums, including ones allowing pride flags.
Qatar will ease their strict anti-LGBTQ laws and allow rainbow flags at 2022 World Cup https://t.co/nKnxOrR0sx— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) December 9, 2020
"We are open and welcoming - hospitable. We understand the difference in people's cultures. We understand the difference in people's beliefs and so I think, again, everybody will be welcome and everybody will be treated with respect."
While Al-Khater's statements assured FIFA that his country will show full respect to people from all cultures, he also stressed that visitors to his country "are expected to respect our culture. I think there's a balance and there´s a feeling that people will respect people from everywhere."
Qatari laws still carry out imprisonment sentences against non-heterosexual individuals who openly express their sexuality in the country. This has alarmed many social media commentators who voiced out their concern that the World Cup-related decision might only be temporary, and that it will not apply to Qatari citizens anytime soon.
So foreigners can go and show their ?️?while LGBTQ+ folks in Qatar still experience some of the most heinous anti-lgbt acts.— Rokkenwolf | #wearamask ? ?️? (@Rokkenwolf) December 10, 2020
Wtf?? Is FIFA ok??
Right, its the ???https://t.co/7boOdc34Sg
Earlier this year, Qatar faced numerous criticism following news of relocating a Doha workshop to the US state of Illinois, in which Northwestern University was supposed to host the openly gay star of the Lebanese music band, Mashrou' Leila.