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November 12th, 2018

Abolish discrimination and murder of LGBTQ Iraqis

type:Donation, Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Since the Western coalition’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, the lives of all Iraqis have been at risk. Yet, members of the LGBTQ community remain one of the most vulnerable in the country, as they are subject to relentless isolation, intimidation, and deadly violence.

Hateful campaigns against the LGBTQ community have become a cultural norm in Iraq- with the media, local leaders, militias, and government all clamouring for their demise. In 2017 alone, over 200 LGBTQ persons were murdered in Iraq due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Seeing as the government does not recognise LGBTQ members as citizens, it does not grant them any protection from persecution, and in fact often part-takes in it. It has been reported that 41 percent of violence against LGBTQ people was committed by militia members (including ISIS), 27 percent by the people’s own family members, 22 percent by the government of Iraq, and 10 percent by other elements.

IraQueer is a non-for-profit NGO committed to supporting, strengthening, and aiding the LGBTQ community in Iraq and Kurdistan. Founded in 2015, IraQueer is currently the only active LGBTQ advocacy group operating in Iraq and Kurdistan.

One of the organisation’s main areas of focus is raising awareness of the plight of LGBTQ Iraqis both internationally and at home, by partnering with international organisations, publishing statements and information kits, and conducting trainings and information sessions about the challenges facing the community, as well as dispelling prevalent myths, misconceptions, and vendettas against them.

IraQueer also assist LGBTQ Iraqis who seek asylum in other countries by connecting them with lawyers and organisations in their destination countries, providing information regarding the asylum process in each country, and furnishing them with documents they will need to present in order to support their case.

Another important aspect of the organisation’s mission is to increase the visability of LGBTQ Iraqis and boost their confidence and morale by urging them to share their stories, experiences, thoughts, and artistic talents on their website.

If you are an LGBTQ person residing in Iraq and are interested in having your work shared by IraQueer, please contact them at blog@iraqueer.org. If you are interested in publishing your personal story, you may contact them at stories@iraqueer.org

If you are a journalist, professor, or a member of any type of organisation and are interested in getting training on the issue, please contact IraQueer at info@iraqueer.org

And, of course, you may also choose to donate to the organisation by following this link: https://www.iraqueer.org/home/donate/

For more information about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Iraq, you may consult the 2018 study published by IraQueer titled Fighting for the Right to Live; the State of LGBT + Human Rights in Iraq, visit their media section, or watch the BBC documentary titled Gay Witch Hunt in Iraq.

Image: retrieved from Iraqueer website

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