Despite some 600 documented murders of gay Iraqis since 2005, and the 63 slayings the organization Iraqi LGBT recorded since December alone, and the mass media finally giving a damn, the U.S. government’s response to Iraq’s unofficially sanctioned slaughtering of the GLBT community has been one of indifference. Though Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has said “persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something we take very seriously,” she has yet to do much in the way of protecting our brothers and sisters abroad. But she has found plenty of time to reflect on other Middle East atrocities, like Iran’s jailing of U.S.-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi; Sec. Clinton says she’s “deeply disappointed” about that one.
Clinton’s response — or lack thereof — shouldn’t be surprising to anyone paying attention to the federal government’s commitment to fighting gay-hate in Iraq. John Fleming, who served a year in Iraq under President George W. Bush and is now public affairs officer for the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recently told the press that being gay “is immaterial to Iraqis” and “frankly, there are other issues they are concerned about like basic survival, getting food and water. It’s a luxury for the average Iraqi to worry about homosexuality.”
Huh. We know some folks who would STRONGLY DISAGREE. Like this pre-teen boy ordered to strip at a police station by men taunting him with a stick, his bra and women’s panties visible on the cell phone video camera clip that’s being passed around the web. “Why are you dressed as a girl?” demands one of the men, while the boy replies that his family made him to it to earn money.
Then there’s the people listed by name on posters around eastern Baghdad, branded as gay next to threats to murder them.
And the transexuals who are molested at street checkpoints.
Oh, and all the gays who have been murdered thus far, but they don’t have much of a voice these days.
Sounds to us like being gay is quite “material” to Iraqis, and “basic survival” isn’t so much of a concern when homophobia, and the murder of GLBTs, is encouraged and celebrated. Especially when the Iraqi police insist this isn’t a real problem. Surely clearing up your campaign debt, Sec. Clinton, doesn’t suck up all your time.