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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Qatar face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with a punishment of up to 7 years in prison and a fine, and could lead to the death penalty for Muslims under sharia law; however, there are no known cases that the death penalty was enforced for homosexuality. There is also prevailing cultural mores which view homosexuality and cross-dressing negatively.[4] The Qatari government does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, nor does it allow people in Qatar to campaign for LGBT rights.

StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia law is applied
PenaltyFine or 7 years in prison
The death penalty is applicable only to Muslims, for extramarital sex regardless of the gender of the participants (no known cases that the death penalty was enforced for homosexuality).[1][2][3]
Gender identityNone
Discrimination protectionsNo protection
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex relationships

In November 2008 British performer George Michael performed at a successful concert in Qatar, making him the first openly gay musician to perform in Qatar.[citation needed] This didn't reflect a wider change in policy.[citation needed]

Legality of same-sex sexual actsEdit

Since 2004, Article 296 of the current Penal Code (Law 11/2004)[5] stipulates imprisonment between 1 and 3 years for sodomy between men. This is a slight revision of the original law that stipulated up to five years' imprisonment for male homosexuality. Also, the death penalty is applicable only to Muslims, for extramarital sex regardless of the gender of the participants. However, there is no evidence that the death penalty has been applied for consensual same-sex relations taking place between adults and in private.[1][2][3]

In 1998 an American citizen visiting Qatar was sentenced to six months in prison and 90 lashes for homosexual activity.[6] In the 1990s, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration informed Philippine workers that gay workers were prohibited in Qatar. This was in response to several mass arrests and deportations of Philippine workers in Qatar for homosexuality.[7]

In 2016 Saudi Instagram star King Luxy was arrested in Qatar for allegedly being homosexual. He spent 2 months in custody before he was released. [8]

Recognition of same-sex relationshipsEdit

Qatari law concerning marriage, divorce and other family matters are influenced by traditional Islamic morality. Hence, cohabitation is illegal and no legal recognition exists in Qatar for same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. No social services exist in Qatar to help parents accept their LGBT youth.

2022 FIFA World Cup controversyEdit

The status of homosexuality as illegal in Qatar and punishable by death attracted attention in the media. FIFA President Sepp Blatter initially said: "I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities"; he later added that: "we [FIFA] don't want any discrimination. What we want to do is open this game to everybody, and to open it to all cultures, and this is what we are doing in 2022".[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] in 2013, the head of Qatar’s World Cup bid team, Hassan al-Thawadi, said that everybody was welcome at the event, so long as they refrained from public display of affection. “Public display of affection is not part of our culture and tradition” he said.[16] Richard de Mos, a former member of the Dutch Parliament for the Party for Freedom (PVV), has proposed that the Dutch football team play in pink, instead of the country's national colour, orange, to protest the gay rights situation in Qatar.[17]

In September 2013, it was announced that all Gulf Cooperative Countries had agreed to discuss a proposal to establish some form of, yet unknown, testing in order to ban gay foreigners from entering any of the countries.[18][19] However, it has been suggested that concern for hosting 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and fears for controversy in a case that football fans would have been screened, made officials backtrack the plans and insist that it was a mere proposal.[20]

Living ConditionsEdit

In 2016, an opinion piece that appeared in the outlet Doha News by a gay Qatari man under the pseudonym Majid Al-Qatari that described being gay in Qatar as "jarring" and spoke of the "irreparable damage to [his] mental health", was criticized for “allowing the topic of ‘homosexuality’ in Qatar to be discussed.” and it was met with extremely strong reactions.[21][22]

In 2018, nine entire articles covering gay and transgender rights published from April to July including a discussion of LGBT rights in Africa, criticism of the US military’s transgender ban and, most recently, a retrospective on a 1973 fire that killed 32 people at a New Orleans gay bar, were censored from the Doha edition of the New York Times International Edition. The Government Communications Office for the State of Qatar issued a statement pledging to investigate the matter.[23][24][25][26]

In 2018, Tom Bosworth an openly gay British race walker said that he is ready to risk prison to defend LGBT rights in Qatar during 2019 World Championships in Athletics which will be held in September 2019.[27]

In June 2019, although the laws in Qatar still criminalise homosexuality, its state media Aljazeera's, AJ+ marked June as LGBT Pride Month with a tweet about speaking to the cast of “Queer Eye” on LGBT issues. This led many online users to point out online the paradox that Al-Jazeera English discusses and encourages recognition of gay rights outside Qatar, while Qatar censors LGBT content.[28][29]

Summary tableEdit

Same-sex sexual activity legal  /  (Penalty: Fines and up to 7 years' imprisonment; The death penalty is applicable only to Muslims (no known cases that the death penalty was enforced for homosexuality.[1][2][3])
Equal age of consent  
Anti-discrimination laws in employment  
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services  
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)  
Same-sex marriages  
Recognition of same-sex couples  
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples  
Joint adoption by same-sex couples  
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military  
Right to change legal gender  
Access to IVF for lesbians  
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples   (Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation[30])
Men who have sex with men allowed to donate blood  

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". The Washington Post. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Here are the 11 countries where being gay is punishable by death". Gay Times. 5 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Assunção, Muri. "Brunei is just one of several nations where killing gays by stoning is perfectly legal".
  4. ^ "Gay Qatar News & Reports". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  5. ^ "الميزان - البوابة القانونية القطرية :: التشريعات :: قانون رقم (11) لسنة 2004 بإصدار قانون العقوبات :: التحريض على الفسق والفجور والبغاء :: 296". 14 June 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  6. ^ The Cornell Daily Sun, Inc. 4 December 2002. "Qatar's Gay Rights Policy Under Scrutiny."
  7. ^ "Discriminatory Ad to Gay Contract Workers". Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
  8. ^ "Teen Instagram Star Jailed in Qatar for Two Months, Claims it was for 'Being Gay'". The Daily Dot. 29 August 2016.
  9. ^ Gibson, Owen (14 December 2010). "World news,World Cup 2022 (Football),Sepp Blatter,Fifa,Football,Sport". The Guardian. London.
  10. ^ "FIFA President: Gay Fans 'Should Refrain From Any Sexual Activities' During 2022 World Cup In Qatar". 13 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Blatter sparks Qatar gay furore". BBC News. 14 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Gay rights group wants apology from FIFA's Sepp Blatter for comments". ESPN. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Blatter: Gays should 'refrain from sexual activities' in Qatar | Football". The Sport Review. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  14. ^ "FIFA president says gays should refrain from homosexuality during Qatar World Cup". Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  15. ^ Gerald Imray (13 December 2010). "FIFA President: Gay Fans 'Should Refrain From Any Sexual Activities' During 2022 World Cup In Qatar". HuffPost. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Expreszo | Headlinearchief". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Gulf Cooperation Countries to test, detect then ban gays from entering their countries". Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  19. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (10 September 2013). "Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Kuwaiti authorities arrest 23 'cross-dressers and homosexuals'". Middle East Eye. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  21. ^ "What it's like to be gay and Qatari". 5 August 2016.
  22. ^ "'We do not tolerate homosexuality in Qatar'". 8 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Quand le Qatar censure des articles LGBT+..." 23 July 2018.
  24. ^ News, A. B. C. "Under World Cup spotlight, Qataris crack down on LGBT news coverage". ABC News.
  25. ^ "Preparing for World Cup, Qatar Cracks Down on LGBT Coverage". 20 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Theresa May urged to advocate for LGBT people in Qatar during Emir's visit - PinkNews · PinkNews".
  27. ^ "Team GB's only gay athlete ready to risk prison to defend LGBT rights in Qatar". The Independent. 22 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Qatar bans homosexuality as Al Jazeera in English marks LGBT Pride Month - Middle East - Jerusalem Post".
  29. ^ ""AJ+ français" : quand la propagande du Qatar se cache derrière un progressisme féministe et LGBT". Marianne. 25 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Surrogacy law: regulated, unregulated |".

External linksEdit