The Ashleigh you searched for 🔍 Sr Tech Writer, ex-Google b/c ethics ⌨️ Queer & trans (she) 🏳️‍⚧️ Escapee 🇺🇲 ➡️ 🇨🇦 ActuallyAutistic ✨ Trying to do my part
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Qatar doesn’t hate rainbow colors, it hates gay people

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Grant Wahl
Grant Wahl tweeted out this image of his rainbow soccer T-shirt at the World Cup. | Grant Wahl/Twitter

The decision to harass journalists and fans wearing rainbow-themed attire shows the nation’s contempt for LGBTQ people.

When Qatar was selected as host for the World Cup despite its horrific anti-LGBTQ laws, FIFA soccer and Qatari World Cup officials went out of their way to insist visitors wearing rainbow colors at games would be respected. It was a lie.

We saw that Monday when American journalist Grant Wahl, one of the world’s best soccer writers, detailed how he was detained and harassed by security officials when he tried to enter a stadium as a credentialed journalist wearing a T-shirt with a rainbow soccer ball. Wahl recounts:

“You have to change your shirt,” one guard told me. “It’s not allowed.” ...

Nearly half an hour passed. One security guard told me that my shirt was “political” and not allowed. Another continually refused to give me back my phone. Another guard yelled at me as he stood above me — I was sitting on a chair by now — that I had to remove my shirt.

I told him no.

“You can make this easy. Take off your shirt,” one said.

I told him no, adding that my shirt wasn’t political at all.

My friend Andrew Das, a reporter for the New York Times, walked past, and I informed him what was going on. They detained him too.

Wahl also had his phone ripped from his hand after sending a tweet detailing the incident. After 25 minutes, he was finally let in to cover the game, and given the BS excuse that he was asked to remove the shirt for his own protection.

The treatment of Wahl, along with FIFA demanding that any players who wore pro-LGBTQ armbands remove them or get a yellow card, show that Qatar is thumbing its nose at any pretense of acceptance during the tournament. The country’s law show a hatred of LGBTQ people and no monthlong tournament will change that.

Wahl summed up the situation perfectly in a tweet: “Both FIFA and US Soccer representatives told me publicly that rainbows on shirts and flags would not be a problem at the Qatar World Cup. The problem is they don’t control this World Cup. The Qatari regime does, and it keeps moving the goalposts.”

In addition, supporters of Wales had their rainbow hats confiscated before being allowed to enter the stadium to watch Wales play the U.S.

Fortunately, Wahl and other journalists — such as German TV commentator Claudia Neumann and the BBC’s Alex Scott — who wear rainbow attire will keep the issue front and center. It’s not much, but it’s a reminder of the deal with the anti-gay devil FIFA struck when it selected Qatar.

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Technicalleigh
4 days ago
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Vancouver BC
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USMNT uses rainbow logo at World Cup as big middle finger to Qatar and FIFA

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US Soccer will utilize a rainbow-colored USA logo for the USMNT facilities it operates in Qatar. | REUTERS

The USMNT will use a rainbow logo at all team-managed facilities as a symbol of inclusion for the world to see.

The US Men’s National Team is giving a big middle finger to FIFA and Qatar by using a USA logo adorned with the LGBT Pride flag colors at the team’s training center in Ar-Rayyan, Qatar, ahead of the World Cup, Reuters has reported.

In case you hadn’t heard, it is illegal to be gay in Qatar. LGBT Qataris report being arrested and assaulted for being LGBT.

While the decision to use the rainbow logo was clearly at the highest levels of US Soccer — this kind of thing doesn’t happen without getting sign-off from the people in charge — it’s also getting public support from players and coaches with the team competing in the World Cup.

“We have chatted and continue to have discussions as we lead into the games,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson, according to The Guardian. “We have leaned on the message of ‘Be the Change’. That is something that we have been proud of and continue to work towards, be impactful with ourselves, our presence and our platform, and we will continue to be so here in Qatar.”

U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told Reuters that the rainbow logo will be at every venue managed by the United States — “the team hotel, media areas and parties” — will have both the traditional red-white-blue logo, as well as the rainbow logo.

It’s a powerful message from the United States. While many companies and organizations hold the rainbow flag back in their engagements in the Middle East and with other countries that prohibit homosexuality, this is a big, bold statement.

It’s inspiring to see American sports leading in this way. The United States has been a world leader in breaking down barriers for LGBTQ athletes for over a decade, and that continues here.

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Technicalleigh
12 days ago
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Once in a while, changing your logo IS an actual statement. ^.^
Vancouver BC
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Qatar’s World Cup ambassador says homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’

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Khalid Salman went on an anti-gay diatribe in an interview with a German broadcaster. | Twitter

Khalid Salman, a former Qatari soccer player, says visitors must respect Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ laws.

One Qatari official isn’t even pretending to be tolerant of homosexuality leading up to the World Cup.

Khalid Salman, a former Qatari soccer player and the nation’s FIFA World Cup ambassador, said Monday in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality is “damage in the mind.”

Lovely.

“The most important thing is, everybody will accept that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules,” he said, via CNN.

Salman added he doesn’t want children to learn “something that is not good.”

An official from the World Cup organizing committee abruptly stopped the interview after Salman’s anti-gay spiel, according to CNN.

ZDF tweeted a clip of the interview, in which an unidentified person says Salman “isn’t the best person to comment on the law.”

The dangerous situation for LGBTQ people in Qatar has been a major story leading up to the World Cup. It is illegal to be gay in the tiny desert nation, and homosexuality can lead to imprisonment or even death.

Just last month, the Human Rights Watch published a new report documenting Qatari arrests and abuses of gay people. Nasser Mohamed, a Qatari-born physician now living in San Francisco, recently sounded the alarm in an essay for Outsports about the dismal state of LGBTQ rights in his home country.

“Some of my friends have told me stories about online chat rooms and how undercover cops are arresting men trying to meet other men in a romantic setting,” he writes. “I also heard about lashing and prison sentences.”

European captains plan to wear “One Love” armbands at the tournament to support LGBTQ inclusion and diversity, though FIFA would probably prefer they didn’t. FIFA president Gianni Infantino sent a letter last week to all 32 World Cup clubs urging players to stay quiet about social and political issues.

An estimated 1.5 million international visitors are expected to visit Qatar while the World Cup is in progress from Nov. 20 through Dec. 18. Salman’s comments can’t make any potential LGBTQ tourists feel comfortable, despite vague assurances that gay soccer fans won’t be prosecuted for showing signs of affection in public.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who presided over the corrupt process that awarded Qatar the World Cup, said this week it was a mistake to do so.

Too bad he didn’t come to this realization 12 years ago.

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Technicalleigh
13 days ago
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Vancouver BC
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If you want to see the future, look at Florida

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OPINION: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a man with presidential ambitions, and he’s getting there by targeting trans kids
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Technicalleigh
15 days ago
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Dave Chappelle’s hosting SNL. Tell me again about cancel culture ending careers

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OPINION: There are apparently no consequences for transphobia!!
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Technicalleigh
15 days ago
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Vancouver BC
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Airlines Pledge New Protections for Flyer Accessibility

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Airlines for America released a letter signed by the heads of seven airlines, promising new work to ensure everyone can travel by air without difficulty.

 

Promises Include Advisory Group, Improved Transfers for Disabled Flyers

The letter acknowledges “Passengers with disabilities represent one of the fastest growing traveler segments, and we recognize the importance of facilitating a safe, seamless journey for them.” The group signing the A4A letter says that they support the “Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights,” and are committing to more resources.

 

The solutions proposed by the airlines include:

 

-Improving passenger transfers and the handling of personal mobility aids.

-Enhancing accessibility services training and education about disabilities for frontline employees.

-Creating a “passenger accessibility advisory group” among the airlines and the disability community to improve policies and operations.

-Supporting continued studies on “safe and feasible aircraft accessibility features.”

 

The letter was signed by the leaders of the three legacy carriers, along with those from Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines. Although the letter promises reforms to come, they did not put a timeline on when flyers could expect to see changes happening on the front line.

 

New Reforms Come After Airlines Get Bad Publicity Over Handling Mobility Devices

The moves to improve the disabled passenger experience comes after years of bad publicity over how flyers requiring mobility devices are handled. In 2022, a member of Congress was denied boarding by Lufthansa due to his wheelchair, while a 2021 study concluded airlines could accommodate more passengers requiring mobility devices if they removed two rows of seats from aircraft.

 

Share your tips and experiences on accessible air travel on the FlyerTalk Forums

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Technicalleigh
20 days ago
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I’ll believe it if I see it. I’d very much like to see it, though.
Vancouver BC
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