Hotels in Qatar will deny access to members of the LGBTQ+ community, according to reports out of Sweden.
Despite previous assurances from FIFA and Qatari authorities that everyone is welcome at this year’s tournament, a survey conducted by Swedish and Danish media found that several hotels were not so welcoming.
Reporters contacted 69 hotels listed on the official World Cup website, posing as a gay newlywed while seeking to book a room for their honeymoon, NRK reported.
According to the broadcaster, three hotels flat out refused to accept the reservation, with one saying it was against hotel policy.
Another 20 of the hotels recommended that they not show their orientation, avoid public displays of affection during their stay and suggested that they not “dress gay.”
The hotel suggested, “If you put on makeup and dress gay, it goes against the country’s and the government’s policy. But for our hotel, it’s OK, if you dress appropriately and do not exhibit sexual behaviour or kiss in public.”
The survey did find that a third of the hotels did not have any concerns, with 33 hotels accepting the booking for the supposed male couple.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and according to Amnesty International, same-sex relationships can lead to criminal charges and up to seven years in prison.
Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, a security chief in the Qatari government, previously said LGBTQ+ fans are welcome.
“Reserve the room together, sleep together – this is something that’s not in our concern,” he told the Associated Press last month, but added that he is against any public show of support of the LGBTQ+ rights and any rainbow flags could be taken away.
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“You want to demonstrate your view about the [LGBTQ+] situation, demonstrate it in a society where it will be accepted,” he said. “Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this.”
The journalists who conducted the survey shared their findings with FIFA.
“FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be in place for LGBT+ supporters, so that they, like everyone else, can feel welcome and safe during the championship,” the world football governing body responded.
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