Tom Bosworth will be competing at the Track & Field World Championships in Qatar next year, but he’s telling his cheering section to stay home. The medal-winning race walker for Great Britain came out publicly in 2015, then proposed to his boyfriend at the Summer Olympics a year later.
Yet Bosworth has told his fiancé to stay home due to the harsh anti-LGBTQ laws in the small Persian Gulf nation.
“I’ve told my fiancé, ‘don’t even consider coming... I don’t want you or my family to come,’” Bosworth told the Independent.
There are literally zero protections of LGBTQ people in Qatar, and same-sex sexual activity is punishable by a prison sentence.
Despite the laws aimed at punishing gay people, Bosworth has also said he is not going to stay quiet.
“I will not be afraid to speak out. I’m going there to do a job and compete but I want to do that safely, happily and I want those opportunities for everybody.”
Qatar has a law that, of course, bans criticism of policies of the Emir of Qatar. He has gone so far as to censor coverage of LGBTQ issues in any newspapers distributed in Qatar.
The International Association of Athletics Federations chose Doha, Qatar, over two other cities bidding to host the championships: Barcelona, Spain, and Eugene, Oregon. LGBTQ legal equality and protections, as well as social acceptance of LGBTQ people, are exponentially higher in Spain and the United States than Qatar, where protections and acceptance are non-existent.