Police Raids LGBT Safe House in Karbala, Iraq

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One of two safe houses supported by London-based human rights organization “Iraqi LGBT” was raided over two weeks ago in Karbala, Iraq. Reports claim that, before setting the house on fire, police officers took with them all six occupants of the shelter after having broken in and brutally attacked each occupant.

One of the six occupants has been located in a hospital while others remain missing, and are very likely still at the hands of government forces.

According to Iraqi LGBT, “Since the 2003 invasion and occupation, however, LGBT persons have faced an unprecedented level of persecution. They now comprise one of Iraq’s most endangered minorities.”

Indeed, the 2009 Human Rights Watch report “They Want Us Exterminated” claims that “both the media and sermons in mosques warn of a wave of effeminacy among Iraqi men, and execrate the ‘third sex.’ Panic that some people have turned decadent or ‘soft’ amid social change and foreign occupation seems to motivate much of the violence.”

At the midst of such desperate and violent measures to restore an Iraqi masculinity that has seemingly been compromised by occupying forces, those with non-conforming sexual and gender identities and behaviors are facing systematic methods of violence.

Iraqi LGBT claims that “over 720 LGBT people have disappeared or been murdered, many of whom have been tortured to death …There is strong evidence that the government is colluding with these militia groups, by rounding up known homosexual and transgender people.”

When government forces are accomplices with militias in a witch-hunt against Iraq’s LGBTQ population, interrogations, tortures and murders become the norm.

Lynn is actively involved in Meem, a community of queer women and trans folk. She's also into pixels, among other things.

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