We could have boycotted the event like other venues in Leeds, but we wanted to use this time as an opportunity for education, learning, and to have important conversations on issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK and worldwide.
In the run up to the 2022 Men’s World Cup, a lot of concerns have been raised over host country Qatar’s track record of LGBTQIA+ and human rights violations. Many pubs across the country have chosen not to show the matches in protest of the Gulf State’s policies and treatment of the Queer community and foreign workers.
Same-sex relationships and homosexual acts are illegal in Qatar and punishments include fines, prison sentences and, in some cases, even death. There are also concerns over the rights and working conditions of the foreign workers who have been building facilities for the tournament.
We could have boycotted the event like other venues in Leeds, but we wanted to use this time as an opportunity for education and learning on issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK and worldwide. Sportswashing only works when we stop having these important conversations.
We know that a lot of our members will still watch the games, and we prefer to welcome them in our venue which is a safe space for all students. Football is important for many people and is a great opportunity to bring communities together. All the profits made in our bars are reinvested in the Students' Union and used to improve student life, such as funding projects for our student communities. We will be using the money made during the screenings at The Hive towards organising events taking place during LGBT+ History Month in February. The profits will go towards supporting our students and continuing conversations around these important issues.
While LGBTQIA+ people in the UK have far more rights, many members of the community continue to face significant barriers, including a lack of mental health support and trouble accessing essential healthcare. There is a continuing fight for equality and social acceptance in our country.
If you belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, here at LBSU we want to give all our students the opportunity to campaign on matters that are important to them. Joining the LGBT+ Student Community is completely free, and gives you access to information and resources to support you during your time at Leeds Beckett. You’ll also get access to a private online members’ area where you can meet other students from the community, feedback on your experience at uni, and have your say on important projects and campaigns.
Leeds Beckett Students’ Union also supports the Equals Society. Equals Society is a fun and inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ students to be themselves, find friends, and join in with a wide-ranging variety of events and socials, from game nights to coffee mornings.
If you’d like to read more about how you can support LGBTQIA+ people or reach out for support for yourself, we’ve compiled a few resources below.
Standing with LGBTQ+ people during the World Cup
Support for LGBTQ+ victims of violence and abuse
Support and social groups in Yorkshire and Leeds https://www.mesmac.co.uk/our-services/leeds/support-social-groups
Support.Report.Respect for LBU students and colleagues
Information on LBSU’s LGBTQ+ Student Community