Campaigner in call after Gulf states reveal proposal to screen for homosexuals at airports, writes Greg Leedham
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has called on Fifa to cancel the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after Gulf Co-operative Council (GCC) countries announced a plan to “test” for gay people at airports and ban them from entering the states.
Kuwait and other countries could carry out medical tests in an attempt to “detect” homosexuals trying to enter Gulf states, a senior official announced.
Anyone who is identified as an LGBT person would then be refused entry into the country. A central committee charged with the status of expatriates will view the proposal on November 11.
Fifa’s selection of Qatar as a World Cup host has come under scrutiny for a range of reasons, including the treatment of migrant workers in the country, as well as the potential for health problems caused by searing heat in the summer months.
Upon hearing of the bizarre plan to test for homosexuality, Tatchell said that Fifa, who have stubbornly refused to reconsider Qatar’s selection, must cancel the World Cup — or be seen to be “colluding with homophobic discrimination.”
Speaking to PinkNews, he said: “There is no known medical test to detect homosexuality. I wonder what quackery the Kuwaiti authorities plan to invent in their vain attempt to identify gay men. It simply won’t work.
Banning gay people from entering the country will deter foreign investors and companies. They won’t want to subject their employees to such barbaric, medieval humiliations.
“The proposal that this gay ban will apply across all Gulf Co-operation Council countries will mean that gay players and spectators will be banned from attending the football World Cup in Qatar in 2022. This contradicts previous assurances given to Fifa by the Qatar government that everyone will be welcome and that there will be no discrimination.
“Fifa now has no option but to cancel the World Cup in Qatar. Allowing it to go ahead in these circumstances would involve Fifa colluding with homophobic discrimination.”
It is illegal to be gay in all of the GCC member countries. These include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
LGBT supporters also face discrimination in Russia, who have been chosen as hosts for the 2018 World Cup.
In June the Russian State Duma approved Kremlin-backed legislation which banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”
Speaking to the Morning Star at the time, Louise Englefield, campaign director for anti-homophobia group Football v Homophobia, said that Fifa has a confused policy on gay rights.
Englefield said: “On the one hand we have Fifa’s anti-discrimination taskforce recommending that homosexuality is included on their list of protected characteristics, but on the other that same organisation has licensed a global event in a country where fans who express their sexuality are at risk of being deported.”