Dr. Nas Mohammed lives in San Francisco and works as a physician. (File)
Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal, so living in a Gulf State was not easy for Dr. Nas Mohammed, who had to constantly hide who he really was. However, the 35-year-old has come to light and may have just become the first Qatar to publicly declare himself gay.
It should be mentioned that same-sex relationships in Qatar are banned and punishable by several years in prison. The Gulf State is also one of nearly 70 countries identified by the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersexuality, which criminalizes same-sex voluntary activities. Moreover, aside from being unlawful, the social pressure on any Qatar suspected of being LGBTQ + is high. They face social embarrassment, persistent ostracism from friends and family, threats of violence or worse.
But despite everything, Dr. Mohammed made the decision to come out in the media. “I don’t want to be anonymous,” said The Independent in an exclusive interview. The 35-year-old, who now lives in San Francisco and works as a doctor, said that for his own safety he had no choice but to seek asylum in the United States.
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Dr. Mohammed told the media that he understood the personal costs that would almost certainly result from going public. He said any chance of reconnecting with his estranged family would be lost and that his family could be publicly defrauded. Any chance of returning to his home in Qatar is also unlikely, he added.
However, Dr. Mohammed also insisted that he had made the right decision. “In order for us to change things for LGBT + Qatar, we need more people to come out,” he said. The 35-year-old added: “I would like to share my views with my name as a doctor and citizen of Qatar who still has parents and siblings in the country. They need to know that I am one of them and I am not the “Western agenda” as they call us. “
Among the many LGBT + allegations made, according to The Independent, Qatar is one that claims to be “pawns” of the West, trying to force “repulsive” views into an established religious, conservative culture. But this is strongly denied by Gays in Qatar, who say that they only want to be accepted in their own country.
Dr. Mohammed revealed that when he lived in Qatar, it wasn’t until his early adolescence that he began to “have a crush”. But it made him rather confused than sure of his sexuality. “I did not have internet; there were no gay public figures. I was really confused – I didn’t know what was happening. “
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He said he couldn’t confide in anyone or go on dates. He grew up “extremely religious”. It wasn’t until a trip as a medical student to Las Vegas in his twenties and a visit to a gay club that he was sure of his sexuality.
Dr. Mohammed left for the United States in 2011, initially for a residency internship, but has been working there since then, and has only returned to Qatar once for the weekend. By leaving now, the doctor hopes to bring “visibility” and end the “cycle of denial” not only to LGBT + Qatari but to all inhabitants of that nation.