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Lewis Hamilton praised for defending LGBTI rights at Qatar F1 Grand Prix

Hamilton wore a helmet emblazoned with the Pride Progress flag, a redesigned and more inclusive version of the traditional rainbow flag, and emblazoned with the words “We Stand Together”.

The flag features additional black and brown stripes to emphasize oppression of people of color, as well as pink and blue stripes for the trans flag and a purple circle on a yellow background, which is the intersex flag.

Although the Pride Progress Flag was originally designed by American artist Daniel Quasar in 2018, it was intersex activist and British columnist Valentino Vecchietti who finalized the helmet-seen version of Hamilton, which includes the intersex flag.

“It means everything,” Vecchietti told CNN. “I can’t express how Lewis Hamilton has done an amazing, massive thing. And I’m moved to talk about it because we are so hidden and stigmatized as a population.”

According to the United Nations Free and Equal campaign, up to 1.7% of the world’s population is intersex or lacks sexual characteristics that conform to “typical binary notions of men and women.”

Highlighting the erasure of intersex people both within the LGBT + movement and in society at large, Vecchietti said Hamilton’s move would also raise awareness of the vilification of intersex athletes like Caster Semenya and Dutee Chand in sports.

“We have to remember that young children with intersex variations who grow up in school see all of this media,” she said. “As an intersex person myself, in school I grew up with so much stigma and shame and felt like I had to keep it hidden… Lewis Hamilton did something amazing. He got me. given a platform to start these conversations on a much bigger scale. ”

Vecchietti, the founder of Intersex Equality Rights United Kingdom, designed the flag with support from Stonewall and the LGBT consortium, and its design quickly went viral after being shared on social media in May.
Hamilton’s decision to wear the flag on his helmet also comes at the end of Trans Awareness Week, while Saturday marks International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Lewis Hamilton praised for defending LGBTI rights at Qatar F1 Grand Prix

Racing Pride, which aims to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ + in motorsport, also praised Hamilton, calling the helmet a “magnificent and powerful gesture of solidarity.”

The Qatar Grand Prix has come under intense scrutiny due to the country’s record on human rights, especially towards LGBTI people. Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by a fine or jail time, and trans people cannot legally change their gender.

According to a state-sponsored homophobia report by Lucas Ramón Mendos of human rights group ILGA World, Qatar “operates sharia courts, where it is technically possible for Muslim men to be put to death for homosexual sexual behavior ”.

However, the report adds: “It does not appear that a person was executed for this reason or at all.”

In an interview with CNN’s Amanda Davies in 2017, Nasser Al Khater, chief executive of the Qatar 2022 World Cup organizing committee, said: “We are not imposing any restrictions on any nationality or anyone in this regard. concerns his gender, his race, his orientation, his religion to attend this World Cup. “

According to Reuters, Hamilton told reporters in Qatar on Thursday that he “appears to be considered one of the worst in this part of the world” for human rights violations, and said sport was “a duty to raise awareness of these problems”.
The sportsman had already spoken out in favor of LGBTI rights in Hungary before the Hungarian Grand Prix in August. He is expected to wear his Pride helmet for the actual Qatar Grand Prix competition, which will take place on November 21.

For Vecchietti, this is monumental in terms of representation for the intersex community.

“I wished and hoped for this kind of visibility, as you always do,” she said. “But I had no idea someone as tall as Lewis Hamilton would make this fantastic statement of solidarity.”


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