As the FIFA World Cup kicks-off in a couple days in Qatar, one issue on the front burner has been that of ‘human rights’ and the promotion and spread of homosexuality.
In recent years, there has been immense support for and solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, LGBTG community, especially from the USA and UK Governments.
The English Premier League recently took the lead in using the most loved sport to promote gay.
The Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013 spearheaded by the charity of Stonewall founded in 1989 by a small group of people who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act.
Section 28 of the Act was a piece of legislation that aimed to prevent the “promotion” of gay in schools – and though it stigmatised the LGBT community, it also galvanised them.
The Rainbow Laces campaign is designed specifically to promote lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality within sport.
The Rainbow Laces campaign kick-started in October with captains of the 20 Premier League clubs wearing rainbow-themed armbands.
Additionally, all is set for thousands of fans to take part in a huge lace-up in a nationwide support of LGBT athletes for “Rainbow Laces Day”, on November 24 with more than 75,000 Rainbow Laces already being sold.
Stonewall called on fans and athletes to be “active allies” within the game both off-pitch and on, and to play their part in ensuring that LGBT people feel included in sport.
The Rainbow Laces were created as a symbol of solidarity with the LGBT community within sport.
However, ahead of the kick-off of the World Cup this weekend, Qatar a Muslim State has said that even though “Everyone is welcome” to their country, “we are a conservative country and any public display of affection, regardless of orientation, is frowned upon. We simply ask for people to respect our culture.”
Qatar government has also been invited to comment on the claims made by Human Rights Watch, HRW, and in what appears like a compromise, the Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy had recently told CNN that the 2022 World Cup will “be an inclusive, safe tournament” and said “everyone is welcome, regardless of race, background, religion, gender, orientation or nationality.”
The fact remains that “Homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment and, if you’re Muslim, possibly even death in Qatar.
“Qatari authorities need to end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching,” said Rasha Younes of Human Rights Watch.
Under Qatari law, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison and for this particular reason, FIFA has received backslashes for awarding the hosting right to Qatar.
Beckham’s fellow Qatar World Cup ambassador, Khalid Salman told a German outlet that homosexuality is “damage in the mind.”
HRW has also recently highlighted “arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment” of LGBTQ people in Qatar.
“There are just a few days until the World Cup kicks off, but that’s plenty of time for the Qatari government to end ill-treatment of LGBT people,” HRW said in a November press release.
“Qatari authorities should publicly condemn violence against LGBT people and formally recognize that having same-sex sexual attraction is not a mental health condition.”
Meanwhile, UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly has told LGBTQ+ football fans travelling to Qatar for the World Cup to “respect the law” of the host country, as the foreign secretary defended attending the tournament himself.