Being LGBT+ in Iraq

Being LGBT+ in Iraq

“Being an LGBT+ individual in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region means living in constant fear and worry. It is the fear of putting yourself in danger, the fear of losing everything you have, and everyone you know. Regardless of whether or not these fears become reality, they force us to live a life of lies, pretending to be something else.

By appealing to others, we reject our reality, live double lives, and spend every day worrying about the possibility of our secrets being revealed.

Being LGBT+ means that we cannot rely on our governments and legal systems to protect us from losing educational and employment opportunities, ensure a safe life, and keep us alive. Our own governments are often directly or indirectly involved in depriving us from these freedoms.

Despite these hardships, being LGBT+ in Iraq forces us to explore other options and means in order to survive. We are kicked out of any comfort zone we have, which pushes us to build something better for ourselves. Having very limited opportunities encourages us to find other ways to grow, languages and skills to acquire, and networks to build. In doing so, we can start to lead the country’s first queer movement.”

Amir Ashour is founder and executive director for IraQueer. There will be an opportunity to hear him speak LIVE as the keynote speaker at OutSummit on December 10, 2016.