Beyoncé faces backlash for Dubai performance in light of UAE's anti-LGBTQ+ policies

As an LGBTQ+ ally, Beyoncé has faced criticism for performing in Dubai, where homosexuality is illegal and even punishable by death.

Still from the concert Beyoncé performed in Dubai. She is dressed in a red dress with pink decorations and dancers around her.
Image: Via Twitter - @DC3_SQUAD

Beyoncé is facing widespread criticism from her LGBTQ+ fanbase after she headlined a private concert in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death.

A renowned LGBTQ+ ally, Beyoncé returned to the stage for her first full concert in more than four years on January 21, headlining at the opening of the luxury hotel Atlantis The Royal. According to reports, the artist was paid $24 million for the show.

She has faced criticism for the decision because of her closeness with the LGBTQ+ community, with her latest album Renaissance being celebrated for “honouring black queer culture” and being inspired by several LGBTQ+ icons. She recently also explained in a speech that the album was in honour of her uncle, whom she described as “the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known”.

Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment with Beyoncé’s decision to perform in Dubai. “When you’re that rich… largely, if not entirely, through the fierce loyalty of LGBTQ+ fans – what amount of money is simply too much to turn down to perform in a homophobic country?” one person commented.

“No beef but I’m struggling to understand why Beyoncé, who has half a billion dollars, would accept 20 million dollars to make her debut performance of the Renaissance album, a record which lifts heavily from queer culture, in Dubai, a country where LGBT rights aren’t recognised,” pointed out another.

Another celebrity who is part of the LGBTQ+ community herself came under fire for promoting the same event at the luxury hotel in Dubai. Comedian and actor Rebel Wilson was present with her girlfriend and showed off the resort on Instagram, thus sparking criticism from fans.

“Rebel Wilson and her partner are there even though they are not allowed to legally be involved in a same-sex couple by Dubai law; she is happy to take their money? I genuinely don’t know how this sits well with them,” wrote a Twitter user.

Fans have long pleaded with celebrities to stop working in countries such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia over their human rights violations and stance on LGBTQ+ rights.

Recently, David Beckham has come under fire for signing a deal with the Qatari government to advertise the 2022 World Cup. He was particularly criticised because the LGBTQ+ community previously considered him an ally and celebrated him for posing on the cover of the best-selling gay magazine Attitude in 2002.

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