French football team, show courage!

Jean-Luc Romero-Michel, deputy to the City of Paris in charge of human rights and the fight against discrimination, calls on the French team to “show courage” as the World Cup opens in Qatar, country known for its discriminatory practices against the LGBT community.

Jean-Luc Romero-Michel, deputy to the City of Paris in charge of human rights and the fight against discrimination, calls on the French team to “show courage” as the World Cup opens in Qatar, country known for its discriminatory practices against the LGBT community.

FOOTBALL – As the World Cup in Qatar has started, France will enter the competition this week, I cannot bring myself to shut up and let it pass.

While Australia and Denmark, the first opponents of the Blues, forcefully denounce the exploitation of migrant workers or the violations of the rights of LGBT people in Qatar, France, “homeland of human rights”, remain silent. Sport is not political as it seems…

In recent days, FIFA has legitimized the holding of this tournament in this country which does not respect human rights. The French Football Federation shines with avoidance and renunciations and the captain of the French Blues team, Hugo Lloris, has downplayed LGBT discrimination in football. Disappointing, but hardly surprising as French football has failed to take up the fight against LGBTphobia. It would be “folk” as it seems…

As a homosexual and HIV-positive, in Qatar, I would risk being thrown in prison, beaten (…) or quite simply expelled since HIV-positive people do not have the right to stay there.

I can’t bring myself to be silent. All my life, I have fought all forms of discrimination. Personally, as a homosexual and HIV-positive, I had to endure the worst insults and comment on my life, on my choices. In Qatar, for that, I would risk being thrown in prison, beaten, subjected to “conversion therapy”, or quite simply expelled since HIV-positive people do not have the right to stay there.

So when FIFA threatens sanctions against teams who want to support LGBT rights, it is a blow to all LGBT people who cannot live their sexuality in freedom and security.

Yes, sport is political, because it highlights the efforts that our society must make to respect the rights of each and everyone. To say otherwise is to confirm that there is still a place where homosexuality is taboo and where discrimination is possible.
Is this the message we want to send to the more than one million young football licensees in our country?

Because if sport – and in particular football – must obviously remain a space of joy and sharing, it is also one of the most important vectors of transmission of our values ​​to the youngest, from all walks of life. Values ​​of tolerance and respect, fundamental and universal values.

Yes, sport is political. To say otherwise is to confirm that there is still a place where homosexuality is taboo and where discrimination is possible.

I write this text because I hope that with each match, with each victory, with each defeat, with each masterful goal of the Blues, you will not close your eyes to the populations in danger of death for their sexuality, their identity.

That for our future generations who dream through football, it is no longer taboo to be gay, so that FIFA and all the selections finally seize this fight head-on.

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