Gay celebrities boycott World Cup: ‘It goes against my love and my existence’

LGBT+ people are persecuted and punished in Qatar – in the worst case, with the death penalty.

Among other reasons, the holding of the WC in the desert state has met with strong criticism.

And for a large number of well-known Danes who are open about the fact that they are gay, it has contributed to them taking a strong distance and outright dropping out.

See the list below.

Fashion boss Uffe Buchard.
Photo: Esben Salling

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Fashion guru Uffe Buchard

The TV at Uffe Buchard’s home will not show the current round of the World Cup.

“You are naive if you think that sport and politics are not connected. So do economics and sports. And not least power and sport and thus also the power to change things. Therefore, it is my opinion that DBU and the national team are obliged – for ethical and national value-based reasons – to go against FIFA’s threats with pride and a straight forehead,’ says the fashion designer to BT

He was therefore well and truly disappointed when it emerged that the Danish national team did not want to play with their rainbow colored captain’s armband after all.

“It would have made me proud if we as a nation – even if we had been the only one – stood together side by side to eradicate prejudice, discrimination and racism. You must use your voice where you can. Always! Because there are things that – after all – are more important than sport. One of those things is general recognition of human rights in a modern society,’ says Uffe Buchard.

“The national team has several times enjoyed positive press by proclaiming how they celebrate diversity. They just don’t do that when it finally hits something, and it’s both hollow and very disappointing. In the language of football, I would probably translate it into a bit of an own goal.’

Actress Merete Mærkedahl.

Actress Merete Mærkedahl.

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Actress Merethe Mærkedahl

Privately, actress Merete Mærkedahl is engaged to school teacher Anna Winfeld, with whom she has children Esther and Anker.

Therefore, it disappointed her when the Danish national team withdrew the decision to play with a rainbow colored captain’s armband during this year’s WC.

“I think it’s a shame that we don’t dare stick to the planned captaincy. As a prosperous country, we should not let ourselves be cowed, but go to the front in the fight for diversity. I’m disappointed that a yellow card has to be the result,’ she writes in a text message to BT

Because precisely the fight for diversity – or the lack of it – is the reason why Merete Mærkedahl will not turn on the TV.

“I have seen football and the World Cup before, but I do not support the World Cup in Qatar and therefore do not watch it. Their attitude towards LGBT+ alone is terrible. In addition comes their expression of women and restriction of freedom of expression. I am therefore boycotting the World Cup in Qatar.’

Musician Bryan Rice has been a couple for more than 13 years with Mads Enggaard, whom he married in the summer of 2018. The couple has a seven-year-old daughter Liv with her friend Gry.

Musician Bryan Rice has been a couple for more than 13 years with Mads Enggaard, whom he married in the summer of 2018. The couple has a seven-year-old daughter Liv with her friend Gry.

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Musician Bryan Rice

For Bryan Rice, it is “not a choice, but a necessity” to boycott this year’s World Cup in order to instead shout loudly about the injustices at the expense of which it is held.

“It would be like saying: ‘It’s ok for you to criminalize me and my family. My love. It’s ok that you think I should be stoned to death because I have a different sexuality than you, am married to a man and have a daughter. On the whole, it’s ok that you are completely indifferent to basic human rights, because you’re just so good at holding important world championships,’ says the otherwise sports-loving musician to BT

“It is my love, my existence, which is the focal point here. It’s not a leather ball, a medal or a trophy, it’s the right to be me and love the one I love. It’s a matter of life, not competition.’

He wished Denmark had never left. That all football fans – even if they are well within their rights to pay tribute to their team – said from then on that message put “basic human rights, democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and diversity before sport”.

Especially now, when there is no real protest against the Qatari clerical rule anyway.

For Bryan Rice, it is “absurd, quite simply”, that you did not take the yellow card or the possible quarantine day to “stand up for the oppressed of the whole world”. Because even if he doesn’t think it’s the players’ responsibility, “they are there and have an important voice that can make the absurdities and humiliations visible”.

“I find it difficult to describe my disappointment with DBU’s and the significant players’ choices here. The lack of backbone. FIFA, not least, but I have long since lost all respect for them.’

Sæþór Kristínsson, winner of the big baking competition 2021.

Sæþór Kristínsson, winner of the big baking competition 2021.
Photo: Bax Lindhardt

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‘Baking Contest’ winner Sæþór Kristínsson

Privately, Sæþór Kristínsson pairs up with ‘Wild with dance’ star Thomas Evers Poulsen.

And even if he is not a big football fan, this year there is an extra big reason why he will not be following along when the Danish national team fades out during the World Cup.

“I’ve been thinking a lot since before it started. Because of course it is hugely problematic to hold major international sporting events in a country like Qatar. It’s completely wrong,’ says last year’s winner of ‘The Great Baking Contest’.

That is why he was also disappointed when the national team dropped the rainbow colored captain’s armband before Tuesday’s first game.

“I have always hoped and still hope for some form of protest from the players. I don’t know what the consequences would be if they all played with rainbow armbands, but I do know that the punishment would not be commensurate with what homosexuals in Qatar risk on a daily basis – such as prison and the death penalty with their Sharia law.’

Former reality star and current podcast and radio host Sy Lee.

Former reality star and current podcast and radio host Sy Lee.
Photo: Janus Nielsen

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Radio host Sy Lee

Former reality star and current radio host Sy Lee has a fluid sexuality.

As an LGBT+ person, it therefore angers him that the World Cup is held in a country where the rights of people like him can be in a very narrow place.

“It’s terrible what’s happening! We should boycott Qatar in every way!’ says Sy Lee and mentions, for example, the media that should refrain from covering the event.

But he understands that the Danish national team dropped their subtle protest on the pitch.

“I understand very well that the boys are in a difficult dilemma. They might risk jeopardizing their tournament if they went with rainbow captain’s armbands. It is very difficult. But if several countries got together to do it TOGETHER, maybe it would work. It’s time for this madness to stop! Whether it will help is hard to say, but we must learn to speak up.’

However, Sy Lee himself watched Denmark’s first game, when he – without success – hoped for “some kind of rebellion or demonstration” from either players or fans. However, he greatly appreciated Helle Thorning, who watched the match at the stadium in a dress with rainbow sleeves.

Sy Lee explains that he also has no intention of boycotting the World Cup completely, as he cares about the community around it.

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