Formula One Champ Lewis Hamilton Plans on Advocating LGBTQ+ Rights in Qatar

Sunday November 21, 2021
Originally published on November 19, 2021

Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton plans on showcasing LGBTQ+ equality in Qatar this weekend when he competes in the country's first Grand Prix on Sunday November 21, Pink News reports.

In the race, the F1 champion plans on wearing a crash helmet — which will be beamed from the in-car camera — emblazoned with the message "We Stand Together."

Speaking ahead of the race, Hamilton said: "We're aware there are issues in these places that we're going to. But of course [Qatar] seems to be deemed as one of the worst in this part of the world."

"I do think as the sports go to these places, they are duty bound to raise awareness for these issues," Hamilton continued. "These places need scrutiny from the media to speak about these things. Equal rights is a serious issue."

It is illegal to be homosexual in Qatar, with a punishment of up to seven years in prison or flogging.

The race is part of a 10-year deal Qatar has made with Formula One. "Qatar is the fourth Middle Eastern country to join the F1 calendar. It joins the long-standing races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia, which makes its debut this year as the 2021 season's penultimate race on 3-5 December," reports the BBC.

The race will continue despite criticism from the human rights group Amnesty International, who said Qatar's human rights record was "extremely troubling" and, in a statement, urged F1 to "insist that all contracts pertaining to this race contain stringent labour standards across all supply chains."

It added that "drivers and their teams should be prepared to speak out about human rights in Qatar in the lead-up to the race, doing their bit to break the spell of sportwashing and image-management."

In response to Amnesty, F1 said: "For decades Formula 1 has worked hard [to] be a positive force everywhere it races, including economic, social, and cultural benefits," BBC reported.