Qatar’s World Cup: LGBT Between a Rock and a Hard Place
By: A. Raman Fathy
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Proud Lebanon.
Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ speech has been clearly visible from the first day of launching the promotional campaign for the world cup. However, not only Qatar is blamed for such an attitude. Since the world cup is supposed to be an international event held and organized by FIFA, I intuitively wondered what kept them silent?! So, instead of making it an event for everyone to celebrate diversity and reunion, it turned into a show for trading off the integrity of FIFA for benefits.
One Love Story
One Love is a campaign initiated by the Dutch Football Association at the start of 2020. This campaign aimed to support the unification of all people” and condemn all forms of discrimination.
The football captains of seven European teams agreed to wear rainbow armbands during Qatar’s world cup in order to promote LGBTQ inclusion and social diversity in a nation where homosexuality is illegal and even punished. However, after facing heat from the sport’s ruling body FIFA, none of them was permitted to do that.
Leaving Loyal Fans Behind
By the World Cup start, the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino asked the participating teams to “let football take center stage, not politics” and “focus on the football.” Still, that desire hasn’t exactly gone as planned after like a couple of days into the tournament.
So, what is political about promoting inclusiveness and considering big segments of sportsmen and sports fans from the LGBTQ community?!
However, upon the teams’ arrival in Qatar, rumors began to spread of a possible yellow card sanction for every captain or for those who wear the armband.
Meanwhile, the Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, whose position on the field makes the risk of a yellow card more minimal, insisted on wearing the armband no matter what happens. On Sunday, Netherlands skipper Virgil van Dijk was less enthusiastic about discussing the situation yet again but nevertheless reiterated his support.
Despair and Treason
As for the LGBTQ community across the whole world, they felt like they got backstabbed after the world cup. As for the entity that is supposed to support inclusiveness and promote the unity of humans through sports aka FIFA, turned the tables against a big segment of sports fans around the world.
At a time when a big segment of the LGBTQ community is threatened even with being killed and left homeless for being themselves, then comes this shameful action from FIFA that added insult to injury.
You, as, a reader, may feel overwhelmed, so you can imagine how people who face that on daily basis feel just for being themselves. When I started writing this article, I didn’t think of myself as a writer, but as a human and put myself in the other’s shoes and sport the light on their daily struggles. This article was just a wake-up call and a shoutout to those who witness this hassle and kept silent for some benefits.