Ahmed, a gay Iraqi, talks about his experiences in his country post-Saddam Hussein’s rule. He was blackmailed by his first love and boyfriend of four years, and when he ran out of money to pay, his boyfriend sent “incriminating” pictures of them together to Ahmed’s uncles, who then plotted to kill him on the streets as a public sacrifice. He fled Baghdad, but it wasn’t long before he was arrested for being homosexual and consequently raped in prison. His story is one example of the horrors that gay people are suffering in Iraq, a situation that has only worsened in recent years. Simply appearing to be homosexual, emo or outside the accepted image in any way is enough to persecuted. “After the war, everybody started to express every hatred he has,” Ahmed says. “I don’t support Saddam, and I don’t like him, but at least there was law. Somehow.”
Ahmed’s story has a happy ending, but many Iraqis, like the two teenaged boys in the photo above, who were hanged for their perceived sexuality, aren’t so lucky. The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project is posting refugee survival stories on their YouTube channel, where you can also make a donation.