Gay Iraqis Fear for Their Lives

Human Rights Watch attempts to save persecuted gays from murder
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2009 4:41 PM CDT
Supporters of anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Iraqi society is overwhelmingly  homophobic, but that prejudice took a back seat to more pressing issues while war was raging. Now, as Shia militias find themselves with time on their hands, they appear to have turned to a perceived internal problem, “to make society clean from bad things.” How can gay Iraqis avoid murder, abduction, and rape at the hands of their countrymen? Human Rights Watch, New York reports, is trying to find the answer.

The organization posted information on message boards in Iraq and managed to get a few dozen men out of Baghdad and other cities to safer locations. The situation is not perfect—the refugees complain, perhaps rightly, that they are in limbo. But it could be worse. A relocated man texted a gay friend in Baghdad to see how things were going: “u wouldn’t believe what they’re doing,” his friend replied. “superglue up their arseholes. before u left was nothing.”