In Syria, Gay Iraqis Seek a New Life

Produced by Hayder Fahad

SYRIA– Even though most gay people of Iraq have managed to live their lives, being born gay is almost the same as being born with an assurance of death. Most Iraqis don’t accept that homosexuality is something you’re born with, or which is assigned by your genes. Due to the Iraqi cultural and religious beliefs, homosexuality is forbidden and considered a mortal sin, and in many cases the penalty of death is assigned as the solution for it.

Some of the Iraqi homosexuals used to live in the Karrada neighborhood, practicing there life normally but still in secret. Although before the war as well they could not show that they are gay, due to the risk of being attacked verbally by the neighbors or the people they live with.

No Iraqi organization or NGO was taking care of gay Iraqis before or after the war. Many of them were killed by the hands of militias after the war, some militias were considering killing gay people as a great thing you can do to satisfy God. Because of this many homosexuals and transsexuals tried to leave Iraq, and some managed to flee to countries with less violence against gays, or to Europe.

International organizations such as Amnesty International are working on helping the gay and lesbian Iraqi people, other Iraqis outside the country have created Iraqi organizations that are trying to help gay Iraqis like the Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender), this organization used to have about 40 members in Iraq but after the attacks and raids on these groups in Najaf, Kerbala, and other areas by militias these organizations lost most of their contacts inside Iraq.

The three Iraqis now living in Syria interviewed by Alive in Baghdad are just a few people affected by prejudice and hatred aimed at gay and transsexual Iraqis and those who dare offer them assistance.

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Editor's Note: The concept for Alive-in/ began in 2005 with the launch of Alive in Baghdad. Many of the stories produced by our team of Iraqi reporters were taken offline with the closure of

In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the United States war against Iraq, we are republishing as much of Alive in Baghdad's original content as possible here on Alive-in/. Each story has been given its original date so that these posts don't overwhelm our current stories, and tagged as relevant.