It’s become a fixture on the party and social calendar in the West but, of course, Pride is a revulsion elsewhere in the world, and in this World Cup year isn’t it queer how offside Qatar is to the world?
Now the football world (a different universe, of course) turned a blind eye to the Emirate’s discrimination and criminalisation of the LGBTQIA community when awarding Qatar the hosting of this winter’s World Cup.
And quite what that’ll mean to LGBTQIA football fans who are wanting to follow their countries’ fortunes then we’ll try here to decipher.
While we all know too that of the hundreds of footballers, coaching staff and officials taking part not one will be LGBTQIA.
And that will get FIFA off the hook… and there won’t be anybody queer in that organisation either.
A word from the sponsors
Football’s World Cup is, of course, more than a sporting event.
It is a cultural, educational example and the tourist trip football fans have been planning for years.
So make of these welcoming words if you will from Qatari official Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Ansari
‘If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to really take it to really insult him.
‘But to protect him. Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack (him).
‘Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this.
‘Reserve the room together, sleep together – this is something that’s not in our concern. We are here to manage the tournament.
‘Let’s not go beyond the individual personal things which might be happening between these people… this is actually the concept.’
Right, where do we start? The Major General’s assertion that he really wants to protect ‘them’?
So, protecting them then would be not exposing them to a punishment of up to seven years in prison and a fine.
And the possibility of death penalty if you are indigenous.
Of course this is for men because just like in Victorian Britain lesbianism wasn’t even considered thing despite upper-class society’s obsession with all things Classical where the Sapphists were chronicled.
Maybe here too Major General you might think.
About criminalising the people who would attack an innocent person simply because which sex they love.
And then what about their concession to gay visitors that they can ‘reserve the room together, sleep together’?
Well evidence this very year has shown that FIFA recommended hotels in Qatar are actively refusing to accommodate same-sex couples.
Or ‘these people’ as the Major General calls them.
Of course it’s not as if we hadn’t been warned.
Bla, bla Blatter
That bastion of integrity, former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter had thought it all a big joke.
When he was asked about a lack of gay rights in Qatar shortly after they were selected in 2010… ‘They should refrain from any sexual activities.’
And the Qataris, naturally, must have seen this as a green light.
Because three years later the head of Qatar’s World Cup bid team, Hassan al-Thawadi, said that everybody was welcome at the event, so long as they refrained from public display of affection.
‘Public display of affection is not part of our culture and tradition’.
To which you can justifiably add… and particularly not when you’re holding hands with, or kissing, a member of the same sex.
American continental LGBTI army
We can console ourselves somewhat that the next World Cup will be held in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Where people are allowed to express themselves and love each other how they want.
Let’s hope too that by then there will be more than one openly gay professional footballer in the English league structure.
And that this is replicated throughout the country.
And that the sports whitewashing by Middle Eastern and Gulf countries who are buying up, or have bought up Europe’s biggest clibs, does not deter LGBTQIA players from coming out.
Now we’ll leave this heavy but necessary subject.
To get back to checking out where I can get my best Pride experience around here in sleepy North Berwick, near Edinburgh.
A Dutch of class
But before we go, big hats with feathers off.
To the Dutch politician who suggested that the Netherlands national team play in pink rather than their traditional orange, in solidarity with the LGBTI community.
We’ve not heard whether that this is being taken up by the Dutch football federation.