LGBT rights in Qatar

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StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia law is applied
PenaltyFine or 7 years in prison
Gender identity

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Qatar face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, and prevailing cultural mores view homosexuality and cross-dressing negatively.[1] The Qatari government does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, nor does it allow people in Qatar to campaign for LGBT rights.

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. This didn't reflect a wider change in policy.

Criminal code[edit]

Since 2004, Article 296 of the current Penal Code (Law 11/2004)[2] 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.

In 1998 an American citizen visiting Qatar was sentenced to six months in prison and 90 lashes for homosexual activity.[3] In the 1990s, 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.[4]

The Qatari penal code also contains additional criminal sanctions for adultery, fornication and any speech or conduct that is judged to be disorderly, immoral or likely to offend traditional religious mores.

Family law[edit]

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 controversy[edit]

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.[5][6]

Qatar's record on LGBT rights became a source of debate again, with gay rights groups criticizing FIFA for choosing to host the event in a country where homosexuality is illegal.[7] Richard de Mos, a member of the Dutch Parliament for the Freedom Party (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.[8]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No (Penalty: Fines and up to 7 years' imprisonment)
Equal age of consent No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender yes
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation[9])
Men who have sex with men allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gay Qatar News & Reports". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ The Cornell Daily Sun, Inc. 4 December 2002. "Qatar's Gay Rights Policy Under Scrutiny."
  4. ^ "Discriminatory Ad to Gay Contract Workers". Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
  5. ^ "Gulf Cooperation Countries to test, detect then ban gays from entering their countries". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  6. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (10 September 2013). "Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  7. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Fifa boss Sepp Blatter sparks Qatar gay controversy". BBC News. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Expreszo | Headlinearchief". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.

External links[edit]