US-based doctor becomes first Qatari to come out publicly as gay: report

Dr. Nas Mohammed lives in San Francisco and works as a physician. (Case)

Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal, therefore, life in the Gulf state was not easy for Dr. Nas Mohammed who constantly had to hide who he really was. However, the 35-year-old has now come out and may have just become the first Qatari to publicly come out as gay.

It should be mentioned that homosexual relations in Qatar are prohibited and punishable by several years in prison. The Gulf state is also one of nearly 70 countries identified by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association that criminalizes consensual same-sex activity. Moreover, in addition to the illegality, the social pressures on any Qatari suspected of being LGBTQ+ are numerous. They face social masquerade, constant ostracism from friends and family, the threat of violence or worse.

But, despite all this, Dr. Mohammed made the decision to come out in the media. “I don’t wish to remain anonymous,” he said. The Independent in an exclusive interview. The 35-year-old, who now lives in San Francisco and works as a doctor, said for his own safety he had no choice but to seek asylum in the United States.

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Dr Mohammed told the outlet that he understands the personal cost that would almost certainly result from going public. He said any chance of reconnecting with his estranged family would be lost and his family could be publicly humiliated. Any chance of returning home to Qatar is also unlikely, he added.

However, Dr Mohammed also insisted he made the right decision. “For us to make a difference for LGBT+ Qataris, 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 as a Qatari citizen who still has parents and siblings in the country. They need to know that I’m one of them and not a “Western agenda” as they call us.

According to The IndependentAmong the many accusations leveled against LGBT+ Qataris is one that claims they are “pawns” of the West, trying to impose “odious” views on an established religious and conservative culture. But this is strongly denied by gay Qataris who claim they simply want to seek acceptance in their own country.

Dr Mohammed revealed that when he was living in Qatar, it wasn’t until his early teens that he started having “crushes on boys”. But it left him confused rather than certain of his sexuality. “I didn’t have the Internet; there were no homosexual public figures. I was really confused – I didn’t know what was going on.

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He said he couldn’t confide in anyone or go out with anyone. He grew up “extremely religious”. It wasn’t until a trip as a medical student to Las Vegas in his early twenties and a visit to a gay club that he was certain of his sexuality.

Dr Mohammed left for the United States in 2011, initially for residency training, but has since worked there and only returned once to Qatar for a weekend. By coming out now, the doctor hopes to bring “visibility” and end the “cycle of denial”, not just for LGBT+ Qataris but for everyone living in the country.

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