LGBT rights in Qatar

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

LGBT rights in Qatar
StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia law is applied
Penaltyde facto, Fine or up to 7 years in prison for non-Muslims.
de jure, Capital punishment for Muslims.
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsNo protections
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex relationships

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Qatar face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Sexual acts of male homosexuality are illegal in Qatar, with a punishment for all convicts of up to three years in prison and a fine, and for Muslims duly convicted in a court under sharia law the possibility of a judicially sanctioned capital punishment for homosexuality; however, there are no known cases where the death penalty was judicially enforced for homosexuality,[1][verification needed] though extra-judicial murders of LGBT people are unverified.[citation needed]

There are prevailing cultural mores in Qatar which view homosexuality and cross-dressing negatively.[2] 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,[3] making him the first openly gay musician to perform in Qatar.[4]

Legality of same-sex sexual acts

Since 2004, Article 296 of the current Penal Code (Law 11/2004)[5] stipulates imprisonment between one and three years for sodomy between men. This is less severe than the original law that stipulated up to five years' imprisonment for men found to be homosexual (punishment of sexual acts instead of punishment for sexual orientation). The local death penalty for same-gender sex is applicable only to homosexual Muslims because extramarital sex regardless of the gender of the participants is punished by death and because same-gender couples cannot get married. However, there is no evidence that the death penalty has been applied for consensual same-sex relations taking place between adults outside the spaces policed by authorities.[6][7][8]

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 laws 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.

Transgender rights

In Qatar, trans women can be arrested for the crime of "impersonating a woman" and while in prison, forcibly detransitioned. This can involve forced surgery to remove breasts, and being sent to "behavioral health centers" where conversion therapy is imposed. Further punishments can involve imprisonment up to seven years, and death by stoning.[12]

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 Qatar, and he responded that gay football fans in Qatar "should refrain from any sexual activities." After being criticized for this remark, 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".[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][excessive citations]

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 color, orange, to protest the gay rights situation in Qatar.[20]

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.[21] In 2013, Kuwait proposed banning gay foreigners[22] from entering any of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the GCC agreed to discuss it.[23][24] However, the GCC backtracked, possibly due to concerns over the effect on Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.[25]

In November 2021, the Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, the league's only current player who is openly gay, 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.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28][29]

Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari stated that fans should also respect the norms of the host country and assured 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".[30]

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. Other hotels on the list indicated they would accept reservations for same-sex couples as long as they hid their relationship in public.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33]

In September 2022, according to a report by The Guardian, the FA (Football Association) has assured LGBT couples will not face arrest while holding hands or kissing in public in Qatar. The FA has declared that fans with rainbow flags will not face arrest as long as they do not "disrespect" the local culture and norms by draping flags over mosques in Qatar.[34][35]

An October 2022 report from Human Rights Watch alleges systemic police brutality against LGBT people in Qatar, based on eyewitness reports from 2019 to 2022.[36]

Transport for London banned Qatar from advertising on London's bus, cab and tube systems after an outcry over the ban on European teams participating in the World Cup in Qatar wearing armbands supporting LGBT+ rights. Subsequently, Qatar said it was reviewing its current and future investments in London.[37][38]

In 2022, Qatar police arrested protesters after they criticised Qatari law.[39]

In October 2022, the Australian men’s national team called for the host country to recognize same-sex marriage and improve migrant workers rights. Qatar's spokesperson responded by commending the "footballers (for) using their platforms to raise awareness for important matters,” and by stating no country is perfect, and every country has its challenges, also stating new laws and reform often takes time to bed in, including in Australia.[40][41]

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". It was met with extremely strong reactions.[42][43]

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 a retrospective about 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.[44][45][46][47]

In 2018, Tom Bosworth, an openly gay British race walker, said that he was ready to risk prison to defend LGBT rights in Qatar during the 2019 World Championships in Athletics.[48] He finished seventh at the 2019 World Championships.[49]

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.[50]

In February 2020, Northwestern University in Qatar cancelled an event featuring Mashrou' Leila following anti-LGBT backlash.[51]

In December 2021 Nasser Al Khater, the CEO of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said that "Nobody feels threatened here, nobody feels unsafe here" but added that " ... public display of affection is frowned upon, and that goes across the board – across the board. Qatar is a modest country ... They [gay people] will be coming to Qatar as fans of a football tournament. They can do whatever any other human being would do. What I'm saying is Qatar, from a public-display-of-affection factor, is conservative". The tournament organiser also welcomed Josh Cavallo, the world's only current openly gay top-flight professional footballer, at the World Cup.[52] Cavallo had said that to know that the World Cup was being held " ... in a country that doesn't support gay people and puts us at risk of our own life, that does scare me and makes me re-evaluate – is my life more important than doing something really good in my career?".[52]

In May 2022, Naser Mohamed, a physician based in the US, became the first Qatari to publicly come out as a gay man.[53]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal No/No (Penalty: Capital punishment for homosexuality and up to 7 years' imprisonment; is fines applicable only to Muslims.[6][7][8])
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 (including 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[54])
Men who have sex with men allowed to donate blood No

See also


  1. ^ "Here are the 11 countries where being gay is punishable by death". GAY TIMES. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  2. ^ "Gay Qatar News & Reports". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Entry #5463: Homosexual activity in Qatar". Equaldex. Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  4. ^ "'I never had a problem with being gay': George Michael, LGBT rights champion, remembered". The Guardian. 26 December 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ a b "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". The Washington Post. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Here are the 11 countries where being gay is punishable by death". Gay Times. 5 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b Assunção, Muri. "Brunei is just one of several nations where killing gays by stoning is perfectly legal". New York Daily News.
  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. ^ Moss, Lauren (2 December 2022). "World Cup 2022: 'I am very afraid', says Qatari transgender woman". BBC News.
  13. ^ Gibson, Owen (14 December 2010). "World news,World Cup 2022 (Football),Sepp Blatter,Fifa,Football,Sport". The Guardian. London.
  14. ^ "FIFA President: Gay Fans 'Should Refrain From Any Sexual Activities' During 2022 World Cup In Qatar". 13 December 2010. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  15. ^ "Blatter sparks Qatar gay furore". BBC News. 14 December 2010.
  16. ^ "Gay rights group wants apology from FIFA's Sepp Blatter for comments". ESPN. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Blatter: Gays should 'refrain from sexual activities' in Qatar | Football". The Sport Review. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  18. ^ "FIFA president says gays should refrain from homosexuality during Qatar World Cup". 13 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "Expreszo | Headlinearchief". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Qatar chief defends gay laws". 13 September 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Qatar 2022: Gulf States' 'Gay Tests' Trigger World Cup Boycott Call". International Business Times UK. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (10 September 2013). "Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  25. ^ "Kuwaiti authorities arrest 23 'cross-dressers and homosexuals'". Middle East Eye. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  26. ^ 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)
  27. ^ "2022 World Cup: Qatar to allow LGBTQ displays, rainbow flags in stadiums". AP. ESPN. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  28. ^ "'Not acceptable' for Qatar officials to confiscate rainbow flags at World Cup". The Independent. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  29. ^ Ziegler, Martyn. "Rainbow flags may be confiscated at World Cup, says Qatar security chief". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Qatari official: Rainbow flags may be taken to protect fans". AP NEWS. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  31. ^ "Qatar World Cup 2022: Some hotels refuse to accept same-sex couples, according to investigation". Sky News. 13 May 2022. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  32. ^ Reuters (13 May 2022). "Fifa issues warning to Qatar 2022 hotels over LGBTQ+ discrimination". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2022. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  33. ^ "Qatar's emir wants World Cup visitors to respect his country's culture". Reuters. 20 May 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  34. ^ "LGBT+ couples who hold hands in Qatar will not be prosecuted, says FA". the Guardian. 21 September 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  35. ^ "English FA given assurances over LGBTQ+ fans at Qatar World Cup". The Independent. 21 September 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  36. ^ "Qatar: Security Forces Arrest, Abuse LGBT People". Human Rights Watch. 24 October 2022.
  37. ^ Presse, AFP-Agence France. "London Transport Network Blocks Qatar Ads Over LGBTQ Laws". Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  38. ^ "Qatar reviews UK investments after advertising ban". Deutsche Welle. 26 November 2022. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
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  40. ^ Nasser, Celine Alkhaldi,Irene (28 October 2022). "Qatar says it 'commends' call for reform after Socceroos video criticizing its LGBTQ and labor rights". CNN. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  41. ^ Lev, Jacob (27 October 2022). "Australian footballers call for reform in Qatar ahead of next month's World Cup". CNN. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  42. ^ "What it's like to be gay and Qatari". 5 August 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  43. ^ "We do not tolerate homosexuality in Qatar". 8 August 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  44. ^ "Quand le Qatar censure des articles LGBT+..." 23 July 2018.
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  46. ^ "Preparing for World Cup, Qatar Cracks Down on LGBT Coverage". 20 July 2018.
  47. ^ "Theresa May urged to advocate for LGBT people in Qatar during Emir's visit - PinkNews · PinkNews". 20 July 2018.
  48. ^ "Team GB's only gay athlete ready to risk prison to defend LGBT rights in Qatar". The Independent. 22 July 2018.
  49. ^ 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.
  50. ^ "Qatar bans homosexuality as Al Jazeera in English marks LGBT Pride Month - Middle East - Jerusalem Post". The Jerusalem Post |
  51. ^ Closson, Troy (4 February 2020). "Northwestern University in Qatar cancels Mashrou' Leila event post-backlash". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  52. ^ a b "'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.
  53. ^ Campbell, Charlie (15 November 2022). "This Is the Reality of Life for LGBTQ+ People in Qatar". Time. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  54. ^ "Surrogacy law: regulated, unregulated |". 13 June 2022.

External links