The controversy surrounding Soccer World Cup that is being played these days in Qatar It has focused mainly on the rights of the LGBT community and on the criminalization of relationships between people of the same sex. Qatari transgender people can be detained for “violating public morals”, which does not require a trial or an official charge. The BBC has spoken to two trans Qataris about their lives.
“I’m very scared, but I just want people to know that we exist,” Shahd says of her decision to speak out about her life as a transgender woman.
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Like the other person in this article, we’ve changed Shahd’s name to protect her.
We have communicated with her through an encrypted application to ensure her safety and she goes outside her house to secretly video call us from a dark room where nothing can be identified.
Shahd shows us his hair, which has been forcibly cut to give it a masculine look, but does not reveal by whom.
She then unbuttons her shirt to show us the wounds on her upper chest, explaining that the wounds are the result of being arrested for “impersonating a woman.”
The authorities told him to have breast tissue that had formed since you started taking estrogens removedwhich he got without a prescription in another country.
“I lost my job and my friends,” he says. “I was detained and interrogated several times for my identity. I lost everything.”
Qatar is one of more than 60 countries where it is illegal to be gay. In Qatar, homosexual acts are against the law because they are considered immoral under Islamic sharia.
Punishments include fines, prison terms of up to seven years and even death by stoning, although there is no record of this having occurred.
Police can detain a person for up to six months on suspicion of breaking “community protection” laws, without trial or charge, if they suspect they have “violated public morals”.
Shahd says she is constantly in fear of being arrested.
A recent report by the NGO Human Rights Watch detailed the arrests of LGBT people in Qatar, and discovered that several trans people were among them, for the mere fact of expressing their gender through clothing, hair or makeup.
shahd avoid crowded places at peak timesbecause she thinks people are watching her and she might report her to the police.
She says she has been arrested for “imitation of a woman” for wearing make-up and describes the government’s preventive security department – a division of Qatari law enforcement – as a “criminal gang”.
“They capture you and prevent you from telling anyone where you are. The prison is underground and they treat you like a criminal”recounts.
“They handcuff you,” he details and adds with a dry laugh: “it’s to protect society from us.”
We were unable to independently verify Shahd’s account of her detention, because she did not receive any official record of her.
Shahd claims that anyone who has been in prison for reasons similar to his is sent to a doctor to apply the so-called “conversion therapy”.
He shows us screenshots of his medical flyers for sessions at a therapy center in Doha.
A Qatari government official denied that the government operates or authorizes any “conversion centers.”
“They told me I could go to hell for this, but I believe that God created me as I am“, it states.
“I’m a woman. If I could be a man, I would. My life would be so much easier.”
Application for asylum in Europe
Things got so bad for Sara, another transgender woman, that she fled Qatar and is now applying for asylum in Europe.
He tells us how he left behind everything he knew, taking only a bag of belongings and little money.
“I was at that point where I either killed myself or had to leave and I decided to leave,” Explain.
Sara says that she has also been forced to undergo conversion therapy several times in her country. But she doesn’t think calls to boycott the World Cup over Qatar’s laws on homosexuality are productive.
“Many other countries also have these laws, but people are just berating Qatar and saying that Qatar should not host the World Cup,” he declares.
The general director of soccer’s governing body, FIFA (International Federation of Associated Soccer), has called for attention to be focused on competition and not politics. However, various charities and charities continue to demand that it ensure that no other country with anti-LGBT laws can host the World Cup in the future.
Qatar has “categorically” rejected Shahd and Sara’s claims.
A government official reiterated his oft-repeated message that “everyone is welcome” at the World Cup, saying fans “from all walks of life come together in Qatar to build bridges of friendship and break down barriers of misunderstanding.” .
The official stated that Qatar “does not tolerate discrimination against anyone” and that It is among the safest countries in the world.
However, a recent Amnesty International report refutes these claims.
I am Jack Morton and I work in 24 News Recorder. I mostly cover world news and I have also authored 24 news recorder. I find this work highly interesting and it allows me to keep up with current events happening around the world.