Eddie Redmayne film the Danish Girl has been banned in Qatar – because it is about a transgender woman.
The film stars Redmayne as early 1920s trans pioneer Lili Elbe – a Danish transgender woman who was one of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment surgery.
The biopic, directed by Tom Hooper, has received international acclaim, with multiple BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.
However, it hasn’t gone down so well in the Islamic nation of Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and trans people aren’t recognised by the state.
The film had been screened in some cinemas in Doha – but the government this week stepped in to prevent it from being shown.
After a citizen complained about the film’s “moral depravity”, a reply from the Qatari culture ministry said: “We would like to inform you that we have contacted the concerned administration and the screening of the Danish film is now banned from cinemas.
“We thank you for your unwavering vigilance.”
The repressive decision raises more questions about FIFA’s decision to hand the 2022 World Cup to the repressive country, which is ruled by a powerful monarchy.
The decision was objected to by LGBT groups and football supporters, who fear they will not be safe in the country given archaic laws on homosexuality, alcohol and public decency – as well as the stifling heat.
While the film might not be going down well with the Qatari government, US President Barack Obama is a fan.
He recently held a special screening of the film at the White House for LGBT activists.