LGBT rights in Qatar

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LGBT rights in Qatar
QAT orthographic.svg
StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia law is applied
PenaltyFine or 7 years in prison
The death penalty is applicable only to Muslims, for extramarital sex regardless of the gender of the participants (no known cases that the death penalty was enforced for homosexuality).[1][2][3]
Gender identityNone
Discrimination protectionsNo protection
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex relationships

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Qatar face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine and the possibility of death penalty for Muslims under sharia law; however, there are no known cases that the death penalty was enforced for homosexuality.[4] There is also prevailing cultural mores which view homosexuality and cross-dressing negatively.[5] The Qatari government does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, nor does it allow people in Qatar to campaign for LGBT rights.

In November 2008 British performer George Michael performed at a successful concert in Qatar,[6] making him the first openly gay musician to perform in Qatar.[7]

Legality of same-sex sexual acts

Since 2004, Article 296 of the current Penal Code (Law 11/2004)[8] stipulates imprisonment between one and three years for sodomy between men. This is a slight revision of the original law that stipulated up to five years' imprisonment for male homosexuality. Also, the death penalty is applicable only to Muslims, for extramarital sex regardless of the gender of the participants. However, there is no evidence that the death penalty has been applied for consensual same-sex relations taking place between adults and in private.[1][2][3]

In 1998 an American citizen visiting Qatar was sentenced to six months in prison and 90 lashes for homosexual activity.[9] In the 1990s, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration informed Philippine workers that gay workers were prohibited in Qatar. This was in response to several mass arrests and deportations of Philippine workers in Qatar for homosexuality.[10]

In 2016 Polish Instagram star King Luxy was arrested in Qatar for allegedly being homosexual. He spent two months in custody before he was released. The Polish embassy claim he was arrested for extortion.[11]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Qatari law concerning marriage, divorce and other family matters are influenced by traditional Islamic morality. Hence, cohabitation is illegal and no legal recognition exists in Qatar for same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships.

2022 FIFA World Cup controversy

In 2010, shortly after Qatar was selected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was asked about the political reality for gay people in the country, and he responded by joking that gay football fans in Qatar "should refrain from any sexual activities." After being criticized for this joke, Blatter added that: "we [FIFA] don't want any discrimination. What we want to do is open this game to everybody, and to open it to all cultures, and this is what we are doing in 2022".[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

In 2011, a member of the Dutch Parliament for the Party for Freedom (PVV), proposed that the Dutch football team play in pink, instead of the country's national colour, orange, to protest the gay rights situation in Qatar.[19]

In 2013, the head of Qatar's World Cup bid team, Hassan al-Thawadi, said that everybody was welcome at the event, so long as they refrained from public display of affection. "Public display of affection is not part of our culture and tradition", he said.[20] In 2013, Kuwait proposed banning gay foreigners[21] from entering any of the Gulf Cooperative Countries, and the GCC agreed to discuss it.[22][23] However, the GCC backtracked, possibly due to concerns over the effect on Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.[24]

In November 2021, the Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, the league's only currently openly gay player, said he would be afraid to travel to Qatar to play, to which Nasser Al Khater, head of the tournament's organizing committee, replied that Cavallo would be "welcome" in the country.[25]

Qatari officials initially stated in December 2020 that, in accordance with FIFA's inclusion policy, it would not restrict the display of pro-LGBT imagery (such as rainbow flags) at matches during the World Cup.[26] However in April 2022, a senior security official overseeing the tournament stated that there were plans to confiscate pride flags from spectators—allegedly as a safety measure to protect them from altercations with spectators that are anti-LGBT. Fare network criticized the report, arguing that actions against the LGBT community by the state were of a greater concern to those attending the World Cup than the actions of individuals. [27][28]Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari stated that fans should also respect the norms of the host country and mentioned about their privacy by adding “Reserve the room together, sleep together, this is something that’s not in our concern.” “We are here to manage the tournament. Let’s not go beyond, the individual personal things of fans”.[29]

In May 2022 some hotels on FIFA's official list of recommended accommodations for the World Cup event were outright refusing to provide accommodations to same-sex couples, while other hotels on the list indicated they would accept reservations for same-sex couples so long as they hid their relationship in public.[30] FIFA claimed that it would ensure that the hotels mentioned are once again made aware of the strict requirements in relation to welcoming guests in a non-discriminatory manner.[31] During a press conference in Germany on May 20, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stated that the LGBT visitors would be welcomed to the 2022 World Cup but they need to respect the nation’s culture.[32]

Living conditions

In 2016, an opinion piece that appeared in the outlet Doha News by a gay Qatari man under the pseudonym Majid Al-Qatari that described being gay in Qatar as "jarring" and spoke of the "irreparable damage to [his] mental health", was criticized for "allowing the topic of 'homosexuality' in Qatar to be discussed". and it was met with extremely strong reactions.[33][34]

In 2018, nine entire articles covering gay and transgender rights published from April to July including a discussion of LGBT rights in Africa, criticism of the US military's transgender ban and, most recently, a retrospective on a 1973 fire that killed 32 people at a New Orleans gay bar, were censored from the Doha edition of The New York Times International Edition. The Government Communications Office for the State of Qatar issued a statement pledging to investigate the matter.[35][36][37][38]

In 2018, Tom Bosworth, an openly gay British race walker, said that he is ready to risk prison to defend LGBT rights in Qatar during 2019 World Championships in Athletics which had been held in September 2019.[39] He finished seventh at the 2019 World Championships.[40]

In June 2019, although the laws in Qatar still criminalise homosexuality, its international pubcaster Al Jazeera Media Network's AJ+ marked the month as LGBTQ Pride Month with a tweet about speaking to the cast of Queer Eye on LGBT issues. This led many online users to point out online the paradox that AJ+ discusses and encourages recognition of gay rights outside Qatar, while Qatar censors LGBT content.[41]

In February 2020, Northwestern University in Qatar cancelled an event featuring Mashrou' Leila following anti-LGBT backlash.[42]

In December 2021, Nasser Al Khater, CEO of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, assured gay fans they could feel safe there, as long as they act conservatively. The tournament organiser also welcomed Josh Cavallo, the world’s only current openly gay top-flight professional footballer, at the World Cup. Khater added that Qatar is a modest country where everyone is free to live their life.[43]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal No/No (Penalty: Fines and up to 7 years imprisonment; death penalty is applicable only to Muslims.[1][2][3])
Equal age of consent No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Homosexual people allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation[44])
Men who have sex with men allowed to donate blood No

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". The Washington Post. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Here are the 11 countries where being gay is punishable by death". Gay Times. 5 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Assunção, Muri. "Brunei is just one of several nations where killing gays by stoning is perfectly legal". New York Daily News.
  4. ^ "Here are the 11 countries where being gay is punishable by death". GAY TIMES. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Gay Qatar News & Reports". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Entry #5463: Homosexual activity in Qatar". Equaldex. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  7. ^ "'I never had a problem with being gay': George Michael, LGBT rights champion, remembered". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  8. ^ "الميزان - البوابة القانونية القطرية :: التشريعات :: قانون رقم (11) لسنة 2004 بإصدار قانون العقوبات :: التحريض على الفسق والفجور والبغاء :: 296". 14 June 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  9. ^ The Cornell Daily Sun, Inc. 4 December 2002. "Qatar's Gay Rights Policy Under Scrutiny."
  10. ^ "Discriminatory Ad to Gay Contract Workers". Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
  11. ^ "Teen Instagram Star Jailed in Qatar for Two Months, Claims it was for 'Being Gay'". The Daily Dot. 29 August 2016.
  12. ^ Gibson, Owen (14 December 2010). "World news,World Cup 2022 (Football),Sepp Blatter,Fifa,Football,Sport". The Guardian. London.
  13. ^ "FIFA President: Gay Fans 'Should Refrain From Any Sexual Activities' During 2022 World Cup In Qatar". 13 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Blatter sparks Qatar gay furore". BBC News. 14 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Gay rights group wants apology from FIFA's Sepp Blatter for comments". ESPN. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  16. ^ "Blatter: Gays should 'refrain from sexual activities' in Qatar | Football". The Sport Review. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  17. ^ "FIFA president says gays should refrain from homosexuality during Qatar World Cup". Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  18. ^ Gerald Imray (13 December 2010). "FIFA President: Gay Fans 'Should Refrain From Any Sexual Activities' During 2022 World Cup In Qatar". HuffPost. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  19. ^ "Expreszo | Headlinearchief". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Qatar chief defends gay laws". 13 September 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Qatar 2022: Gulf States' 'Gay Tests' Trigger World Cup Boycott Call". International Business Times UK. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Gulf Cooperation Countries to test, detect then ban gays from entering their countries". Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  23. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (10 September 2013). "Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  24. ^ "Kuwaiti authorities arrest 23 'cross-dressers and homosexuals'". Middle East Eye. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  25. ^ Davies, Amanda; Ramsay, George (30 November 2021). "Amid ongoing human rights concerns, World Cup chief promises Qatar is 'tolerant' and 'welcoming'". CNN. Retrieved 30 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ "2022 World Cup: Qatar to allow LGBTQ displays, rainbow flags in stadiums". AP. ESPN. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  27. ^ "'Not acceptable' for Qatar officials to confiscate rainbow flags at World Cup". The Independent. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  28. ^ Ziegler, Martyn. "Rainbow flags may be confiscated at World Cup, says Qatar security chief". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  29. ^ "Qatari official: Rainbow flags may be taken to protect fans". AP NEWS. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Qatar World Cup 2022: Some hotels refuse to accept same-sex couples, according to investigation". Sky News. 13 May 2022. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  31. ^ Reuters (13 May 2022). "Fifa issues warning to Qatar 2022 hotels over LGBTQ+ discrimination". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  32. ^ Reuters (20 May 2022). "Qatar's emir wants World Cup visitors to respect his country's culture". Reuters. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  33. ^ "What it's like to be gay and Qatari". 5 August 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  34. ^ "We do not tolerate homosexuality in Qatar". 8 August 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Quand le Qatar censure des articles LGBT+..." 23 July 2018.
  36. ^ "Under World Cup spotlight, Qataris crack down on LGBT news coverage". ABC News.
  37. ^ "Preparing for World Cup, Qatar Cracks Down on LGBT Coverage". 20 July 2018.
  38. ^ "Theresa May urged to advocate for LGBT people in Qatar during Emir's visit - PinkNews · PinkNews".
  39. ^ "Team GB's only gay athlete ready to risk prison to defend LGBT rights in Qatar". The Independent. 22 July 2018.
  40. ^ Bloom, Ben (5 October 2019). "'Don't you dare hide it away' - Race walker Tom Bosworth urges those with mental health issues to talk after claiming seventh at World Championships". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  41. ^ "Qatar bans homosexuality as Al Jazeera in English marks LGBT Pride Month - Middle East - Jerusalem Post".
  42. ^ Closson, Troy (4 February 2020). "Northwestern University in Qatar cancels Mashrou' Leila event post-backlash". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  43. ^ "'Nobody feels unsafe here': gay footballer Josh Cavallo told he is welcome at Qatar World Cup". the Guardian. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  44. ^ "Surrogacy law: regulated, unregulated |".

External links

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