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Stonewall Fills Virtual World Cup Stadium For LGBTQ+ Rights

Stonewall Fills Virtual World Cup Stadium For LGBTQ+ Rights
15 November 2022

LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall has created a virtual football stadium, in protest against the injustices that this community faces in Qatar, and in many more countries around the world. 

Stonewall aims to fill the “virtual pride stadium” with at least 80,000 people, which is the capacity of the Lusail Stadium in Qatar where the World Cup final will be held. The aim is to show that LGBTQ+ rights are the same as human rights, and to take a stand against their persecution.


Qatar Controversies


Qatar was named as the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts in 2010, amidst much controversy, due to the country's poor record on worker safety and human rights.  Amnesty International’s 2013 report into Qatar’s construction sector found how the country’s permissive legal framework has allowed “unscrupulous employers to exploit and abuse migrant workers.”

LGBTQ+ people are actively criminalised in Qatar. Under the Penal Code 2004, sexual activity between people of the same sex can mean seven years’ imprisonment, and in some cases, the death penalty.

Qatar is just one of eleven countries which have jurisdictions in which the death penalty is imposed, or at least a possibility, for private, consensual same-sex sexual activity, including Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, and UAE.


Human Rights Abuses


The Human Rights Watch recently reported that security forces in Qatar have been arresting members of the LGBTQ+ community and subjecting them to physical and verbal harassment.  Human Rights Watch interviewed six LGBT Qataris, including four transgender women, one bisexual woman, and one gay man. All said that security officers had physically abused them, forcing them to  sign pledges indicating that they would “cease immoral activity.”

Qatar has confirmed that there will be no restrictions on non-married friends or couples (including LGBT+ people) staying in the same room, but that public displays of affection in public by any gender can be considered offensive.

Around 1.2 million international visitors are expected to visit the country for the month-long tournament.


Stonewall’s Proud Stadium


Supporters of Stonewall’s campaign can find out more here.





Picture: a photograph of a person watching a football pitch. The image is taken from behind. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 November 2022


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