WATCH: Iraq's Unwanted People
Persecuting Iraqi LGBT men and women in the name of God and cultural norms has many enthusiasts.
According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (GLHRC), as many as 40 Iraqis “perceived to be gay or lesbian” have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered since February of this year.
On Monday, IGLHRC spoke to this matter—quote—“In early February 2012, an unidentified group posted death threats against "the adulterous individuals" in the predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and Basra. The threats gave the individuals, whose names and ages were listed, four days to stop their behavior or else face the wrath of God, and were to be carried out by the Mujahedin. According to sources inside Iraq, as the result of this new surge of anti-gay violence close to 40 people have been kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered. The Iraqi authorities have neither responded to this targeted violence nor have they publicly denounced it. It is widely believed that these atrocities are being committed by a group of the Shiite militia.”
In similar ways, overwhelming instability brought by the 2003 US led invasion of Iraq has also contributed to a sharp increase in homophobic violence. Over the past nine years, human rights activists say that more than 700 LGBT men and women have been murdered and many others continue to seek refuge in Syria, a country quickly descending into a brutal civil war.
Confined to nearly unimaginable and inescapable frameworks of oppression, several gay Iraqis recently decided to open up about what it really feels like to live in a nation besieged by hostile political and sectarian movements. Here are their stories, poignant and whole, brought to you by filmmaker Bradley Secker and Gay Middle East with much help from Iraqi and Syrian LGBT activists. Video below (via gaymiddleeast.com).