Qatar World Cup: Protesters stage powerful kiss-in against cruel anti-LGBTQ+ laws

Two people kiss in protest at Qatar laws

Human rights group All Out have protested in front of the FIFA Museum in Zurich by kissing in a bid to persuade Qatar to remove its abhorrent anti-LGBTQ+ laws ahead of the World Cup.

All Out – a global movement which works to stamp out inequality worldwide – said the demonstration aimed to “make sure FIFA and Qatar know the world is watching and that citizens around the world expect action”.  

The protest, which was staged on Tuesday (8 November), saw participants kiss and play football with a goal decked out in rainbow flags, in a bid to pressure Qatar to decriminalise same-sex relations and protect its LGBTQ+ community.

Two men kiss next to a goa

Two protestors kissing at the All Out demonstration in front of the FIFA museum in Zurich on 8 November. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Homosexuality is illegal in the country, and anyone convicted of same-sex activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison, while Sharia law may be applied to some Muslims, which imposes the death penalty for homosexuality.

Ahead of the World Cup, which kicks off on 20 November, the group has criticised FIFA for not taking action to ensure the safety of queer players, fans or Qatar’s LGBTQ+ community. 

Activists play football

Activists play football during in front of the FIFA museum in Zurich. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

In an email exchange between the group and FIFA, the football body said: “FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be in place for LGBTIQ+ fans and allies to enjoy the tournament in a welcoming and safe environment, just as for everyone else.

“Qatar as a host country is fully committed to ensuring that everyone will be able to enjoy the tournament in a safe and welcoming environment, including members of the LGBTIQ+ community.”

Protestors hold up boards

The protest was held to defend the rights of the LGBTQ+ community ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup that will start on 20 November. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

The decision by FIFA to hold the World Cup in Qatar has been surrounded by controversy given the country’s human rights records – particularly the treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

Two women stand with a board

Two protestors stand with a board reading in German “smooching for Qatar”. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Most recently, Gay Labour MP Luke Pollard said the country isn’t safe for gay people, while the Football Association of Wales said it is considering creating “safe houses” for women and LGBTQ+ supporters.

Activists hold boards

Activists hold boards reading in German “shooting at queer hate” and “smooching for Qatar”. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

German footballer Leon Goretzka said he was “speechless” at recent comments from a Qatar World Cup official, who claimed LGBTQ+ had “damage in the mind”. The official claimed he had been misrepresented, but doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ+ stance.