A Qatari princess has been granted asylum in the UK for fear of persecution for being transgender.
Leaked documents obtained by The Sunday Times of London show the Princess, who is a member of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family, told the UK Home Office – the government agency responsible for immigration and security – at how difficult their upbringing was.
“I was born a woman but I was a man on the inside. Being gay in Qatar is considered punishable by law and death,” the princess wrote. “Qatar is extremely strict in Sharia.”
The Gulf state currently hosting the World Cup prohibits homosexuality.
Leaked documents show the princess escaped on a family trip to London in the summer of 2015 and went into hiding with their girlfriend.
In their asylum application, the princess included two letters which described how they had been “depressed since I can remember simply because my outside never matched my inside”.
The princess also wrote about their dream of fleeing the country’s ruling family.
“I felt like my life had been thrown in the trash,” they wrote. “I never wanted to marry my male cousins like the rest of my family. I’m terrified of what my brothers are about to unleash. I’m scared.”
Qatar’s gay ban was a hot topic throughout this year’s World Cup, where seven European teams were banned from wearing “One Love” anti-discrimination armbands by FIFA.
Homosexuality is punishable by three years in prison in Qatar. A Human Rights Watch report released in October found that members of the Qatari security forces arrested LGBT people and subjected them to “ill-treatment and detention” for no reason.
New York Post