A Brazilian magazine wants to help fans support LGBTQ rights in Qatar, where the FIFA World Cup is taking place and where being gay is illegal, punishable by up to three years in prison. But protesting and showing allyship through rainbow shirts, flags, or any sort of rainbow-hued attire has proved difficult; despite FIFA saying last week such objects will be allowed into stadiums, many have faced detainment and property confiscations.
The solution? Augmented reality.
Football magazine Corner decided to create a new AR tool for fans attending World Cup matches in the capital of Doha. Using a Snapchat filter, fans can carry any sort of FIFA-approved flag or fabric into stadiums, which are digitally transformed to appear like the pride flag.
The free tool can be accessed by anyone, simply by searching for the “Pride Nation” lens on Snapchat. This is also the name of the campaign. The code for the filter can be seen and scanned at the end of Corner‘s video.
Credit: Corner Magazine.
“[We] believe football is for everyone and we’ll always stand for human rights. That’s why this campaign was born,” says Corner editor and founder Fernando Martinho, also emphasising the importance of the right to protest without risk of punishment. Martinho says the Corner team sought a way for fans to demonstrate peacefully, avoiding “violence or even imprisonment”.
All sorts of protests have blanketed this year’s FIFA World Cup. Football players and fans alike have protested against host country Qatar, which has faced scrutiny for its history of human rights abuses, and FIFA itself, with the governing body of football being accused of repressing political and personal expression.
A number of these protests have been directed towards supporting LGBTQ rights in Qatar. Some have been banned or silenced: in late November, several American and Welsh fans were refused entry into stadiums for wearing rainbow-colored shirts, while others were told to hide any such items from being seen. FIFA has recently said it received “assurances” from authorities in Qatar that these items will now be allowed into stadiums, but there are still reports of people being targeted by security officials and prevented from doing so.
FIFA also stopped football players from wearing OneLove armbands while playing. These rainbow-colored bands are recognised symbols of solidarity and allyship for the queer community. Seven European football teams were forced to abandon plans to wear these bands during the tournament, with FIFA allegedly threatening teams with sanctions and disciplinary action.