AFP: With rainbow flags and “OneLove” armbands, World Cup fans have protested against host Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ policies, but many queer Arabs fear a Western solidarity push could do more harm than good.
Gestures in support of the local LGBTQ community have unleashed a torrent of homophobia, activists and community members say, creating new risks for people who have long relied on discretion to survive.
“It’s not great to live in the shadow, but it’s also not great to live under a spotlight,” said a 32-year-old entrepreneur from neighbouring Gulf nation Bahrain, who requested anonymity for safety concerns.
“The World Cup will end, FIFA will leave, and the hate will continue.”
LGBTQ rights in Qatar — where homosexuality is illegal — and concerns over the use of the rainbow flag during the World Cup have been a simmering issue ahead of the international tournament that kicked off on November 20.