Alex Blaze

Well, there's one thing that the Shia deathsquads, the US military, and the Phelps clan can agree on

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 03, 2007 6:04 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Iraq, outrage

The senseless killing of queer and genderqueer people in Iraq continues:

Iraqi LGBT told PinkNews.co.uk about the murders of many LGBT Iraqis, among them Hasan Sabeh, a 34 year old transvestite, also known as Tamara, who worked in the fashion industry designing women's clothes.

He lived in the al-Mansor district of Baghdad. Hasan was seized in the street by an Islamist death squad and hanged in public on the holy Shia religious day, 11 January 2007.

His body was mutilated and cut to pieces. When his brother-in-law tried to defend him, he was also murdered.

Really makes you think about if you were born in another country. For all we queer people complain about the US, things here could be a lot worse. That is by no means an excuse for the hetereosexual supremacy in our own government, but we should use that to have some perspective and some compassion.

But seriously think about being born gay or trans in a place like Iraq, chaotic for anyone, but especially violent for you. According to the article, Shia deathsquads go after queer people, execute them publicly, and the most the government does is criticize anyone who doesn't respect this aspect of their culture. But by some stroke of luck, we're here in the US instead of in Iraq, Nigeria, or Zimbabwe.

This gets me thinking about the way borders and foreign policy are used to divide people and ways in which that we can overcome. Obviously, most Americans don't care about the average Iraqi citizen, or else we wouldn't have invaded that country and killed nearly a million of them. And while public sentiment against the war is growing, the primary justifications (US deaths and US money) are all about us. But I believe that as queer people, we're pretty used to connecting with people who we might not otherwise know because of sexual and gender politics. Think about how many people in your life either presently or in the past that you have hung out with that you wouldn't have otherwise if you were 100% straight (and not a la Ted Haggard).

Can that expansion of affection and humanization include Iraqi citizens? Many of them have to face the same pressures of living up to familial expectations of heterosexuality, have the same anti-gay religious folk to stand up to, but also find the same joy in loving the Same Sex and also have the same, in many ways, sense of community with other queer folk.

And isn't this what the queer rights movements are all about, alleviating the suffering of all sexual and gender minorities? Well, that includes Iraqi queer people who can't even get GWB to release a statement about them, even though it was his disastrous foreign policy that worsened the conditions so much in Iraq that an attempted cleansing of queer people is possible.

Instead, our peoples are forced to flee the country for other countries that to my knowledge aren't great for the gays but are definitely safer than Iraq:

Gay activist Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, is working closely with Ali Hili and Iraqi LGBT.

"Despite the great danger involved, Iraqi LGBT has established a clandestine network of lesbian and gay activists inside Iraq's major cities," he said.

"These heroic activists are helping gay people on the run from fundamentalist death squads; hiding them in safe houses in Baghdad, and helping them escape to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon."

It may seem like a terrible situation for them, but it's just an enactment of Dobson's, Phelps's, and all their associates' dream for America.


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