Jewish UK-Australian actress to protest Qatar with 'big gay fundraiser'

Following discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community at the Qatar FIFA World Cup, one Jewish actress spoke out to prevent similar nations from creating the same issues at future events.

 Jewish actress Miriam Margolyes reading an extract from Oliver Twist at the Express Yourself creative writing awards for Sense in 2008. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Jewish actress Miriam Margolyes reading an extract from Oliver Twist at the Express Yourself creative writing awards for Sense in 2008.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

One Jewish actress from the LGBTQ+ community has taken homophobia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar into her own hands by starting a fundraiser to persuade FIFA leadership to select a more inclusive location for the next competition.

After continued incidents at the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup against the LGBTQ+ community, Jewish British actress Miriam Margolyes, famous for her role as Professor Sprout throughout the Harry Potter franchise, collaborated with BigGay FootieFan, which appears to be a group of LGBTQ+ soccer fans who emphasize both their comfort in their sexuality as well as a passion for the sport.

After hearing continued stories of harassment and detainment of soccer fans supporting their community in small ways, like wearing an arm band or a t-shirt with a rainbow on it, Margolyes decided she would not sit idly by as other countries which actively threaten the well-being of people from her community throw their teams into the ring for future World Cup host consideration.

So, Margolyes and BigGay FootieFan launched the "The Big Gay 'Donation'" to raise funds to push FIFA officials to consider future hosts that are inclusive of all preferences. The 2022 games were groundbreaking, but have caused controversy for LGBTQ+ fans, allies, and FIFA in general - but other neighboring countries hoping to host the event offer similar outcomes.

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Since Saudi Arabia holds similar anti-LGBTQ+ laws and is hoping to host the 2030 World Cup, Margolyes launched the Big Gay Donation to convince the "definitely not corrupt people who run football to host an LGBTQ+ friendly 2030 World Cup."

In just two days, the campaign has raised £6,236 of its goal of £10,000 - roughly $7,605.

On the GoFundMe page associated with the group, they wrote that they hoped to make a sizable donation that could not be turned down. They called it "A 'donation' so big and gay and persuasive, it can convince the lovely, open-minded, honest people who run football to hold the 2030 world cup in an LGBTQ+ friendly host nation."

The campaign acknowledged the possibility that FIFA might not accept the donation. However, the group has a back up plan. 

"Of course, there’s every chance they won’t accept our generous 'donation' because it might go against their absolutely unimpeachable moral standards. So, we’ll give it to a big gay charity instead: Stonewall. Helping support queer people all over the world, including the ones living in Qatar," they wrote on the fundraising page.

"So if you’re a great big gay and you love football, or if you love football and also gays, please share and donate whatever you can to the Big Gay 'Donation.'"

 WALES AND England play their World Cup match in Al Rayyan, Qatar on Tuesday. Stadium requirements are stringent: a regulated minimum capacity, specific grass types, instructions on retractable roofs and rules on where to allow extra space on the pitch. (credit: MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS) WALES AND England play their World Cup match in Al Rayyan, Qatar on Tuesday. Stadium requirements are stringent: a regulated minimum capacity, specific grass types, instructions on retractable roofs and rules on where to allow extra space on the pitch. (credit: MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS)

In a unique promotional video, this Age of Innocence movie star used her personal experience to appeal to the organization. "Queer people, like me, across the globe love football. We just can’t support it like everyone else, because the World Cup is currently being held in Qatar - and we all know how Qatar feels about the gays," she said.

"Queer people, like me, across the globe love football. We just can’t support it like everyone else, because the World Cup is currently being held in Qatar - and we all know how Qatar feels about the gays."

Miriam Margolyes

"But if that wasn’t a big enough kick in the tits, the 2030 World Cup could be given to another host nation that also criminalizes LGBTQ+ people, judging by the countries currently bidding for it," Margolyes said.

With the support the campaign has managed to receive in just two days, these activists certainly generated the momentum they need to keep fighting for a cause close to their heart - and to keep it from happening again.