Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal, so life in the Gulf country has not been easy for Dr. Nas Mohammed, who has always had to hide his true self. However, the 35-year-old has now come out and may have just become the first Qatari man to come out as gay.
It refers to same-sex relationships in Qatar being outlawed and punishable by several years in prison. The Gulf nation is also one of nearly 70 countries identified by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Interstate Association as having a crime of homosexuality. Furthermore, besides the illegality, the social pressure on any Qataris suspected of being LGBTQ+ is a lot. They face social shame, permanent ostracism from friends and family, threats of violence or worse.
But, despite everything, Dr. Mohammed decided to publish it in the mass media. “I don’t want to be anonymous,” he said The Independent in an exclusive interview. 35 year old man, currently living in San Francisco and work as a doctor, said that for his own safety, he had no choice but to apply for asylum in the United States.
Dr Mohammed told the media that he understood the personal cost would almost certainly lead to publicity. He said that any chance of reconnecting with his estranged family would be lost and his family could be publicly spoofed. He added that any chance of returning to his home country of Qatar is highly unlikely.
However, Dr. Mohammed also insists he made the right decision. “For us to change things for LGBT+ Qataris, we need more people to show up,” he said. The 35-year-old added, “I would like to share my views with my name, as a doctor and as a Qatari citizen who still has parents and siblings in the country. They need to know I am one of them and not a ‘Western agenda’ as they refer to us. “
Based on The Independent, among the many charges in LGBT + Qataris, is one of claiming they are “pawns” of the West, trying to force “disgusting” views towards a conservative, religious culture has existed for a long time. But this is strongly denied by gay Qataris who claim that they just want to seek acceptance from their home country.
Dr Mohammed revealed that when he lived in Qatar, it wasn’t until his early teenage years that he started to have a “boy crush”. But this leaves him more confused than certain about his sexuality. “I don’t have the Internet; no gay public figure. I’m really confused – I don’t know what’s going on.”
He said he couldn’t confide in anyone, nor did he date. He grew up “extremely religious”. It was only during his travels as a medical student to Las Vegas in his early twenties and visits to a gay club that he was sure of his sexuality.
Dr. Mohammed left for the US in 2011, initially for residency training, but later worked there and returned to Qatar only once on a weekend. By launching now, the doctor hopes to bring “visibility” and end the “cycle of denial”, not only for LGBT+ Qatar but all people living in the country.