Dec 192011

Gay Middle East has released a new film showing the desperate plight of LGBT Iraqis – a situation which has worsened since the 2003 invasion of the country.

The video is about the lives of gay Iraqi men seeking refuge in Damascus, Syria due to their sexuality and has been released to coincide with the US military departure from Iraq.

Homophobic violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iraqis have claimed over 750 lives since 2003 and caused a massive exodus, with the most favored destination being Syria. This despite that homosexuality is illegal under Syrian law and conviction resulting in a three year prison sentence.

Since October 2010 secret police in Syria have started systematic raids against LGBT gatherings and meetings all over Syria, according to Gay Middle East. And things are even more dangerous now due to the ongoing turmoil of the Syrian revolution.

In the video a man identified as Siras speaks of his plight since he fled Iraq to Syria due to his sexuality.

He says: ‘My life is very different here. I am nothing, I am nobody. I am still very scared someone will come for me. I sleep with a gun under my pillow every night. My wish is that I can start a new life in Europe soon.’

Another man, Nasser, describes how the militia in Iraq discovered he was gay and confiscated his house.

‘They beat me. They hit me on head with their gun,’ he says. ‘Then I had to flee. They couldn’t catch me so they went after my son instead. They captured my son. They killed him. After they killed him, they killed the other son too.’

Dan Littauer, executive editor of Gay Middle East, says the western intervention in Iraq actually made things worse for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

He said: ‘Homosexuality is not illegal, technically, in Iraq. But there is a policy by the militias, with the complacency or even participation of government forces, to persecute gays.

‘If they are outed they can be killed. They can suffer extortion for the rest of their lives and this also puts their families at risk.’

The video shows a script in Arabic which is an order to militia troops stating that homosexuality is increasing among young people and instructing that ‘these people should be caught and eradicated’.

Littauer told Gay Star News that GME is now concerned about the ‘Arab spring’ governments and the power vacuum in the Middle East that is being filled with radical elements by the US-backed power brokers in the region, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The short documentary film, Iraq’s Unwanted People, was a joint project by Gay Middle East, Bradley Secker, Iraqi LGBT and Syrian LGBT Activists. View it here:

Activists highlight Iraqi gay killings | GayStarNews