Wednesday, June 10, 2009
On Friday 1st May, the newly formed Brighton University’s STAR group helped organise and back a candle lit vigil by Iraqi LGBT Lifeline.
This inaugural event for Brighton STAR, which has recently been set up, was an act of important solidarity with a refugee community under particular threat.
Iraqi LGBT Lifeline is made up of Iraqi LGBT exiles, who themselves are living as asylum seekers.
Daily fearing return to this dreadful situation, they are trying to raise funds to keep open a network of safe houses in Iraq for LGBT to take refuge, so that they too can escape their tormentors.
The Lifeline also acts as a vital news network to report on what is happening to Iraqi LGBT out of Iraq.
Iraqi LGBT Lifeline estimates that, since December 2004, there have been as many as six hundred homophobically inspired murders of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people or those perceived to be – including children who have been forced into the sex trade.
In the past four months alone as many as sixty-five bodies of those suspected of being “homosexual” have turned up with notes attached to their bodies with the word “pervert” written in Arabic.
These figures do not include those who have survived homophobically inspired kidnapping, involving physical assault which often consists of sexual humiliation including repeated gang rape.
Those who assist LGBT people and give them refuge in safe houses do so at their own expense and at risk to their own lives, as do those who try to get information out of Iraq. Recently two lesbians were butchered along with the 12-year-old boy they had rescued from the “sex trade”. Those responsible for murders such as these are not just Shiite death squads, but also members of the Iraqi police and Ministry of Interior.
LGBT people are also subject to so called “honour killings” carried out by tribal and family members “shamed” by their lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans relatives.
Homosexuality is not specifically illegal under the Iraqi criminal code however, LGBT people cannot seek the assistance of the police, who have launched their own crackdown on “homosexuals”. Sadly, the situation for LGBT was much better under the secular Saddam regime in which they were more shielded from this new spate of religiously inspired homophobia.
Brighton Star Group urges you to sign up to be a friend of the Iraqi LGBT facebook group , as they really need your support.
Posted by STAR team on 10/06/2009 at 11:57 AM
in Group News
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