We’re less than three months away from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar – and just like every four years, the hype for the FIFA World Cup is coming in hot. The latest update is all about Puerto Rican and Dominican artist Ozuna, who released the global competition’s second official upbeat single “Arhbo,” featuring Congolese-French rapper Gims.
Although “arhbo” means “welcome” in English, Qatar’s not necessarily opening its arms to every tourist that’s visiting the Arab country in November. We’re talking about the country’s notorious anti-LGBTQ+ laws around the global event’s massive scale.
Unfortunately, Qatar inhibits its LGBTQ+ community and even punishes same-sex relations with up to seven years of prison, according to Human Rights Watch.
Qatar’s Conservativism is in Question
It’s no surprise that Qatar’s strict conservative laws are concerning to everyone – especially those who identify as such and are participating in person this November.
However, the executives are reportedly “complying” with FIFA’s promotion of tolerance and inclusion. They’re even allowing rainbow flags – which may be common sense to us living in the U.S. but seems to be a huge act of liberation and compliance from the infamous conservative country.
“We have a country that’s conservative, however, we are a welcoming country,” the 2022 World Cup chief executive Nasser Al-Khater said in 2020, per ESPN. “We are open and welcoming — hospitable. We understand the difference in people’s cultures. We understand the difference in people’s beliefs and so I think, again, everybody will be welcome and everybody will be treated with respect.”
The “respecting” other people’s “cultures,” in reference to sexualities that they’re not in favor of, seems to be the way the country’s leaders are handling when asked about the “taboo” subject.
What Should Visitors Expect?
Human Rights Watch also reported that the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said: “We [Qatar] welcome everybody, but we also expect and want people to respect our culture,” when asked about the rights of queer visitors.
But other than the “welcoming” that they’re promising, where does that leave the safety of LGBTQ+ foreigners that are visiting this year? That’s still a huge gray area that will surely be exposed once Qatar’s community starts to receive international foreigners in November.
Will the FIFA World Cup be a safe space for the queer community – from their players to their own staff, and of course, their international audience – this year?
No es por nada pero FIFA should’ve known better in the first place. Shame on them.