LGBTQ fans skipping World Cup, fear hostility

Qatar’s laws against gay sex and treatment of LGBTQ people are flashpoints in the run-up to the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East, or in any Arab or Muslim country.

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Sports

November 9, 2022 - 1:42 PM

The solid-gold Original FIFA World Cup™ Trophy is on display for one day only during the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola at American Dream in East Rutherford on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

At first, Saskia Niño de Rivera was excited about going to Qatar for a World Cup that would mark a significant professional event for her partner, a sports agent for Mexico soccer players. She even contemplated privately proposing there during a game, and posting photos once they left the country.

But as the lesbian couple learned more about laws on same-sex relations in the conservative Gulf country, the plans no longer sounded like a good idea. Instead, Niño de Rivera proposed at an Amsterdam stadium this summer and opted to skip the World Cup altogether.

“As a lesbian woman, it’s really hard for me to feel and think that we are going to a country where we don’t know what could happen and how we could be safe,” she said. “It was a really hard decision.”

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