Qatar’s transgender princess flees the country for fear of persecution

A Qatari princess has been granted asylum in the UK over fears of being persecuted for being transgender.

Leaked documents obtained by London’s Sunday Times show that the princess, who is a member of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family, told the UK Home Office – the government agency responsible for immigration and security – how difficult her upbringing was.

“I was born a woman, but inside I was a man. Being gay is considered legal and punishable by death in Qatar,” the princess wrote. “Qatar is extremely strict on Sharia law.”

The Gulf state, which is currently hosting the World Cup, bans homosexuality.

The leaked documents reveal that the princess escaped during a family trip to London in the summer of 2015 and went into hiding with her friend.

The princess attached two letters to her asylum request, describing how she had been “depressed for as long as I can remember, simply because my outside never matched my inside”.

The penalty for homosexuality in Qatar is death.
Qatar’s ban on homosexuality was the focus of this year’s World Cup.
AFP via Getty Images

The princess also wrote about her dream of running away from the country’s ruling family.

“I felt like my life had been thrown in the trash,” they wrote. “I never wanted to marry my male cousins ​​like the rest of my family. I fear what my brothers will unleash. I’m afraid.”

Qatar’s ban on homosexuality was a hot topic during this year’s World Cup, which saw seven European teams blocked by FIFA from wearing anti-discrimination ‘One Love’ armbands.

In Qatar, homosexuality is punishable by up to three years in prison. A Human Rights Watch report released in October found that there had been cases of Qatari security forces arresting LGBT people and “abusing and detaining” them without reason. Qatar’s transgender princess flees the country for fear of persecution


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