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U.S. Men's Soccer Team Shows LGBTQ+ Support in Qatar

Be the Change Logo

Several Western teams have decided to show their support for LGBTQ+ communities worldwide at the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality remains illegal.

As the soccer World Cup begins on Sunday, several Western teams are showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community in various ways.

On Monday, U.S. Men's National Team coach Gregg Berhalter explained during a press conference in Qatar's capital, Doha, why the men's soccer team's training facilities are decorated with the rainbow version of U.S. Soccer's "Be the Change" logo.

"When we are on the world's stage and we are in a venue like Qatar, it's important to bring awareness to these issues, and that's what 'Be the Change' is about," Berhalter said. "It's not just stateside that we want to bring attention to social issues. It's also abroad."

Berhalter begins talking about the rainbow logo at 0:6:38:00

He said that as an organization, the team recognizes that Qatar has made some progress but that a lot of work remains to be done.

"Be the change represents everyone's individual opportunity to make change and to have change start with them," he added. "So I think it's appropriate that we have it here as well."

In addition to displaying the colors in the team's hotel, media areas, and fan parties held the night before matches, the U.S. Soccer Federation will also show them in other venues controlled by it.

Qatar criminalizes sexual relations between men. Human rights groups have also voiced alarm at reported labor rights violations against migrant workers who have been behind the effort to ready the country for the tournament. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch released a report on arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of LGBTQ+ Qataris by the country's Preventive Security Department. Transgender women were required to go to conversion therapy after they were released, according to the rights group.

In a letter issued by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatma Samoura this month, the two officials urged the 32 participating teams to keep their attention on the game rather than letting "football be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists."

The letter added, "Everyone is welcome regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality."

The U.S. team's uniforms will not carry a rainbow-colored shield. However, eight European team captains will wear rainbow-colored armbands as part of a 10-team-wide "One Love" campaign. The European campaign began earlier this year and focused on a message of nondiscrimination and tolerance.

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