World’s only openly gay active pro footballer is concerned for LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022
World’s only openly gay active pro footballer concerns for LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022
The footballer is concerned for the LGBTQ community, but thinks Qatar 2022 will not be an issue
Nasri Salim is a hugely influential gay activist and former football player, and is the only openly gay active Premier League and European club footballer. He is also the founder of the London-based support group The Society for the Promotion of Muslim Understanding (SPMU).
Salim’s life story is an inspiring one – he was born and raised in a very religious family in Egypt, but with the opportunity to live in Qatar after the 1979 revolution, he fled to the country. Despite living in Qatar for 27 years, he was denied citizenship by the government in a bid to force him to leave the country. He chose instead to fight back, and in 2014 was granted political asylum, which he then proceeded to challenge in the British courts.
It is no secret that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and in April 2015, the Qatari government, with the full backing of the global footballing community, voted to repeal its anti-gay law. However, Salim is convinced that the government’s intention throughout is to keep Qatar as a male-only country.
“At the moment Qatar is still a male-only country, and therefore, any kind of LGBT issues are going to be dealt a certain way and will not be seen and dealt with by the authorities,” says Salim.
Salim is convinced that any attempt by the government to try to change that is a serious risk. It is an attitude that the Football Association in response to the issue of Qatar 2022, has been trying to persuade FIFA into rethinking.
Salim’s life’s mission has been to promote gay rights and fight against discrimination and homophobia everywhere he has worked.
The first time I ever heard of Nasri Salim was when I interviewed him for my documentary film ‘A Man Without A Name’. He has given me a lot of advice throughout various media appearances, but I will be sharing with you what I find the most important takeaways that he has for me over the years.