Iraq’s New Hospital Patients: Gay Men


While the United States remains all but silent and our national gay rights organizations finally start paying attention, queers in Iraq continue to be persecuted. And it’s not just the slayings any more. We told you about the “glue” that’s being used to literally seal the anuses of suspected gay men. That type of torture might explain why Iraqi hospitals are seeing a whole new class of patients: young gay men.

Because they are “behaving like women,” queer Iraqi men are actively being persecuted. And if the Iraqi government isn’t behind the attacks, they’re certainly complacent; no investigations, police involvement, let alone prosecution against suspects is taking place. Meanwhile, there are reports of police engaging in the torment: An eye-witness reported “a police patrol in Shaab district, north east of Baghdad, stopped two young men ‘behaving like women’ in mid March and forced them to take-off their clothes in front of other passers-by and made fun of them and their naked bodies.”

But what we’re missing here is not all of these men may be gay. While it makes no difference to the attackers, it’s likely many of them are transgender, preferring long hair, women’s clothes and accessories, and make-up. Either way, they all end up on the lists of names being distributed to murderers.

The website Niqash says doctors are facing new patients hurt during anti-gay attacks. As one sense of safety (from insurgent attacks) returns, the ability for Iraq’s GLBTs to live their lives more openly means they’re arguably in more danger than before.

We haven’t heard anyone say it yet, but we’re going to: THIS IS TERRORISM. Anti-gay Iraqis are inflicting terror on their own citizens, challenging them to live their lives openly with the threat of death if they do. You don’t need to hijack planes or plant IEDs to terrorize. What we’re seeing is a systematic “cleansing” of Iraq’s queer community. And while the U.S. government at least pays lip service to the terrorism in Darfur, Baghdad gets nothing.