Showing posts with label Gay Persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Persecution. Show all posts

June 7, 2016

An Iraqi Gay Love Story that Didn’t End in Death



                                                                         
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Brushing each other’s hair out of their eyes, exchanging quick kisses, and whispering sweet nothings in Arabic, Nayyef Hrebid and Btoo Allami are clearly a couple in love.

“I am proud of our life,” Allami told TakePart, tapping his heart with one hand and gesturing toward his husband with the other. But it wasn’t too long ago that the two were forced to keep their relationship a secret.


Hrebid and Allami are the subjects of the documentary Out of Iraq, which made its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival last week. The film tracks their 12-year relationship, following the couple from their forbidden romance in Iraq to a years-long battle to gain asylum in the U.S.

Hrebid and Allami fell in love in 2004 while both were working in the military, Hrebid as a translator for the U.S. Marines and Allami as a soldier in the Iraqi army.

Being openly gay in Iraq was not an option, and even revealing their feelings to each other came with a risk.

“I wanted to tell him, ‘I love you,’ but was afraid,” Allami says in the film. Their relationship was sealed with a kiss four days after they met.

Consensual homosexual relationships are not expressly illegal under Iraq’s penal code, yet LGBT Iraqis have faced harassment, beatings, and brutal executions because of their sexual orientation. Militant groups have systemically persecuted LGBT Iraqis, but family and community members present the most common, most lethal threat, according to a 2014 report from Out Right International.

“For my family, it’s a lot about shame—that people will [say] bad things about them,” Hrebid told TakePart. “They want anything to kill this shame. That’s what I was most worried about.”

Along with fearing persecution, Hrebid was in danger because of his work with the Marines. In 2007, his name appeared on the hit list of a militant group that targeted translators as traitors. Hrebid was granted a visa and resettled in Seattle in 2009. He was forced to leave Allami, who was denied both tourist and student visas. 

The next six years were filled with efforts to get Allami out of the Middle East. He spent several years living illegally in Lebanon—he deserted his post in the Iraqi army in 2010—after his family threatened his life after discovering his sexual orientation. With dozens of identification checkpoints throughout Lebanon, the couple feared that Allami’s illegal living situation would be discovered, and he would be sent back to Iraq.

From Seattle, Hrebid worked with advocates to send Allami money, file paperwork, and schedule interviews with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Allami had nine interviews with UNHCR—one of which lasted 11 hours—but he was repeatedly denied refugee status. Allami pursued asylum through a Canadian program and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2013. In 2015, he was granted a visa to live in the U.S.

“That’s the moment I’d been waiting for all of my life,” Hrebid said of the couple’s interview at the U.S. consulate in Montreal. 
While the pair’s story has a happy ending, they hope their film will spread awareness about the plight of LGBT Iraqis and the difficulty of obtaining refugee status based on sexual orientation.

They are giving back to their community by sponsoring LGBT Iraqis in Seattle. So far, they’ve worked with eight refugees, helping them find jobs and adapt to American culture.

“First time, we needed help,” Allami said. “Now we can help.” 






Samantha Cowan

June 20, 2015

Gay Actors Play bait for Gay Men to be Arrested


 Of Black Holes and Other Glories
( documentary images offer an unflinching look at the seedier sides ..2013)
Brazilian Film Maker Fagner Bibiano 
This is the story of two actors hired in the homophobic 20’s to visit mainly men’s rooms in which they would go into the stalls and and use ‘glory holes’ to entice other men to use the hole which they would then use an indelible marker to mark a cross on their penis which it would then serve for the police to arrest them and they would be charge, with mainly vagrancy charges. The idea of this was just to punish homosexuals, since the practice was never going to put a stop on a habit of a population which was not allow to express who they were or be with other men in a sexual way. If you had a best buddy you both better be shown with girl friends and do manly things, be bowling , sports or anything else in which they would be accompany with girls. This is the time that if gay men really wanted to have any freedom at all they had to marry.  Showing a wedding band and talking about your wife and kids would dislodge any propensity to be looked at as anything but a good family man, even if you use time off to spend it with another man.  That wedding band was a certificate of heterosexuality and it kept gay men safer. 

As you cans see charging some men in court just to embarrass them, which in turn they would plead guilty and pay a fine to go back and try again with the memory of the past incident except this time they would be looking for the guys that entrapped them. This idea of using actors was so hysterically unsound that it was quickly abandoned to have the cops after W.W.ll create vice units to curb prostitution and then the same units would go after gay men in the parks, men’s room and even post ads in the news papers to then apprehend the unsuspecting gays and again charge them with any charge that would make these men to plead guilty without a trial.

It’s interesting to know that these units were still in use in New York City until recently. Formed by the last mayoralty administration of Mr.Bloomberg. Yes, the same republican mayor who for purposes of being politically correct came out for gay marriage as he left office. He and his police commissioner were forced to stop arresting men who just happened to pass a porno store and either looking in from the side walk or going inside. The Mayor and his police commissioner used good looking young cops who would sometimes hit and mistreat but always verbally abuse them as they were handcuffed. These cops were so gay looking and play the part so well that it was suspected that they had to be gay themselves.

It is true, to catch a gay man being gay you need another gay man. A straight man wont do. That is why the most damaged done to someone gay in the past and even now is done by someone who is struggling with their sexuality themselves or homophobes that have a fear of gay man because they are so misinformed they think you can catch it like the flu. You also have the psychopath that sometimes is incapable of having sex with either a man or woman and the only way of pleasure is to inflict pain. Until very recently and before the courts started getting serious about hate crimes, beating up a gay man that was not expecting it was an easy thing to do. You were beating up a man that probably was not going to reported it for fear of being outed. This notion was put to rest by a new generation of gay man (millennials) that saw very little sense in being closeted and missing out in having a normal life. There is strength in numbers and by having so many men coming out of the closet, the byproduct being political power; Power brings change. That infamous vice unit that was operating in NYC until the other day, was disbanded because some of the guys arrested would not play ball with the cops and prosecutor. They demanded their day in court. As such, charges were dropped and lawsuits came out against the city. As a result of those men gay or not, to have the courage to seek justice they changed the way the biggest police dept. in the nation operated towards men that some homophobic cop deemed gay and decided to arrest and come up with any charge and then push ‘resisting arrest’ for good measure. Most people forget that when you are charged with something is up to the guy charging you to prove you are guilty either by the preponderancy of the evidence or by a reasonable doubt if the case is criminal. 

Throughout history is shown time after time that people that dedicate their time and sometimes their life’s to either entrap or deny rights to gay men  is because they were homosexuals themselves. 
A typical antigay person is one that is not informed. They’ve heard all their lives all these crazy lies  about those creatures called gay. This condition of misinformation is cured by honest truthful information. Information they can check from an unbiased source. Actually the best way that’s proven to change all these minds is by getting to know a gay person. They realized they have known gay people all their life’s, just they didn’t know they were gay. Another byproduct of coming out is getting people to know you as a person, just another human been. Not a beast, not a special sinner, not an abomination but a loving son, brother and now even husband.
The following posting appeared at Gay.com written by DAVID CLARKE

Every so often a brilliant theatrical production just doesn’t affect me emotionally, but leaves me spellbound in contemplative thought. This is not to say that the play is not emotionally effective. It’s simply that my logos is kicked into overdrive, and my pathos takes a time out on the bench. Until recently, the last time I personally felt this way was when I saw David Ives’ Venus in Fur at The Alley Theatre in Houston, and now Tom Jacobson’s The Twentieth-Century Way at New York City’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater holds that distinction as well.
Initially, the audience is led to believe that this play is set in a theater toward the end of the first quarter of the 20th Century. Yet, through some brilliantly constructed machinations of theatrical revelation, the audience comes to see the actors in their most vulnerable states. Starkly naked and stripped of all pretenses, the final moments seem to be occurring simultaneously in the past and present. For the previous 80 or so minutes, the audience witnesses actor Will Bradley as B. C. Brown, a handsomely delicate young man, and Robert Mammana as W. H. Warren, a more rugged and mature man. At the end, the lines that separate us from the actors are blurred, and we are invited to see them as Bradley and Mammana. Much like the characters in Venus in Fur, the two actors engage in an engrossing battle of the wits via a complicated improvisation exercise. The men use their accumulated skills in drama to pervasively one-up the other, with the game set to end once one shows signs of flagging exhaustion.
Robert Mammana and Will Bradley in 'Twentieth Century Way'
But, the conflict in The Twentieth-Century Way isn’t a fun exercise. It begins as a game to determine who gets to audition for a film role that both actors are chasing, and that barely scratches the surface of the work’s true drive and purpose. Historically, Brown and Warren were actors hired as “vice specialists” by the Long Beach Police Department during the summer of 1914 to entrap and arrest gay men in private clubs and changing rooms. Through Tom Jacobson’s words, Michael Michetti’s unflinching direction, and Bradley and Mammana’s bewitching performances, we come to know Brown and Warren as one layer of persona that the actors must wear in the show. In addition to these two men, they morph — sometimes at dizzying speeds — through a whole slew of characters. Often these changes are signified with a flower put into a pinhole on a lapel or by a new hat, but in some occasions the jumps occur so quickly that Bradley and Mammana must solely rely on mannerisms and vocal tones to convey the shifts, which they do with laudable aplomb.
Yet, it is through adding these multifaceted layers and differing personas to each actor that Jacobson’s play finds its merit and purpose. Not so much a history lesson on the heinous laws working against homosexual men in the early 1900s, The Twentieth-Century Way is an examination of the roles we play. Are we ever our true selves? Are we ever free from pretense and the walls we construct to protect our hearts and souls? Bradley and Mammana wear many different skins in the show, but by the end the pair of actors are laid completely bare before us. Refering to each other by their real names, they acknowledge that they are being watched by an audience. The audition they are competing for becomes a metaphor for how every action is, in a way, an audition. We audition for jobs, dates, friends, and more. We look at the exteriors and determine worth without knowing if the outsides match what’s inside. We withhold. We hide. We come out. But are we ever comfortable enough or passionate enough to lay everything bare? And if we are, what does it take to get there?
Don’t expect the cast and crew of The Twentieth-Century Way to answer these questions, but they’ll give you plenty of nuggets to chew on as you digest the work and think about these and the others questions it posits. Audiences are treated to one of the most intense tennis matches of dramatic wit written for the stage, and unlike Venus in Fur, I’m not sure this one doesn’t end in a draw.
The Twentieth-Century Way continues through July 19 at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, New York City. For tickets and more information, visit Rattlestick.org.

September 25, 2014

Obama Will Meet with the Ugandan Jihad of Gay Persecution



                                                                                 
President Barack Obama will meet with
Sam Kutesa, the controversial Ugandan diplomat serving as president of the United Nations General Assembly, on Wednesday in a move that is sure to frustrate rights activists who say Kutesa's support for virulently anti-gay legislation makes him unfit to lead the world's parliament.   
"There are real concerns about Sam Kutesa's commitment to the values embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," said Maria Burnett, a senior researcher in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, referring to the landmark rights document adopted by the U.N. General Assembly after World War II. "His human-rights credentials are fundamentally undermined by his defense of Uganda's discriminatory Anti-Homosexuality Law as well as other concerns."
Signed into law in February by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the harsh anti-gay legislation imposed a penalty of life in prison for "aggravated homosexuality," a vague charge that could conceivably have applied to any gay individual who has had sex more than once. It also made it a crime not to report the activities of sexual minorities, effectively requiring Ugandans to spy on one another.
As Museveni's foreign minister, Kutesa defended the law as consistent with the values of most Ugandans. "We shall not accept promotion and exhibition [of homosexuality]," he told the Guardiannewspaper in May, "because we think that is wrong for our young people and it offends our culture."
A court later struck down the anti-gay law on technical grounds, but homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda under statutes dating back to the British colonial period. Violence against sexual minorities, moreover, has surged in recent months, as debate over the bill has stirred public emotions in the deeply conservative country. Across Africa, where homosexuality is outlawed in 38 out of 54 countries, gay people face increasing levels of persecution, in part because politicians, religious leaders, and tabloids have found them useful targets.
Kutesa's election as General Assembly president back in June was not without controversy. A petition on change.org calling on the Obama administration to revoke the Ugandan diplomat's U.S. visa, thereby blocking him from traveling to New York for the General Assembly, received more than 15,000 online signatures. U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, both Democrats from New York, also spoke out forcefully against Kutesa's election.
"It would be disturbing to see the foreign minister of a country that passed an unjust, harsh, and discriminatory law based on sexual orientation preside over the U.N. General Assembly," Gillibrand said in June. Schumer called on the United Nations to "review Mr. Kutesa's participation in, and views on" Uganda's homophobic legislation, which he said contradicted the U.N. charter.
A spokesperson for Kutesa at the office of the president of the General Assembly told Foreign Policy that Kutesa "will not speak on these matters in his personal or national capacity." She added: "While recognizing that there is no consensus among the U.N. membership on this important matter, the president supports all advances the family of nations makes in favor of human rights."
Obama's meeting with Kutesa, a nicety that is dictated by U.N. protocol, is scheduled to take place in New York on Wednesday afternoon, prior to a U.N. Security Council summit on foreign terrorists that the U.S. president will chair.
Obama has voiced concerns about Uganda's record on gay rights in the past -- and the United States cut some assistance the East African country over the homophobic law in June -- but few experts expect him to raise the issue with Kutesa.
"The U.S. has bigger fish to fry at the U.N. this year, including the fight against the Islamic State and Ebola," said Richard Gowan, a U.N. specialist at New York University's Center on International Cooperation. He added that Obama is unlikely to see this as a moment for "a big moral argument."
When asked about the president's planned talking points for his meeting with Kutesa, an administration official told Foreign Policy, "We expect their conversation will center on matters pertaining to the U.N."
As a key Western partner in the fight against the militant Islamist group al-Shabab, Uganda has been a top African recipient of aid from Washington. U.S. forces have also deployed alongside Ugandan troops in the hunt for brutal warlord Joseph Kony.
Obama's meeting with Kutesa comes less than two weeks after federal immigration officials recommended that the United States grant asylum to prominent Ugandan gay rights activist John Abdallah Wambere, who fled Uganda three days before Museveni signed the anti-gay legislation into law. Wambere has been repeatedly attacked and threatened because of his work. His friend and fellow gay-rights activist David Kato was murdered in 2011.
"Discrimination against [sexual minorities] existed before this law was put into force earlier this year and such discrimination continues despite the constitutional court ruling the law a nullity," said Burnett. A surge in homophobic rhetoric from politicians and the "outing" of gay people by Ugandan tabloids, she added, has led to "increased insecurity and discrimination."
Kutesa is not the first controversial diplomat to head the General Assembly -- or to get an audience with the U.S. president during the annual meeting in New York. In 2008, President George W. Bush met with Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, the former Nicaraguan foreign minister and firebrand Sandinista priest who presided over the 63rd session of the General Assembly.
One year later, Obama sat down with Libyan diplomat Ali Abdussalam Treki, Brockmann's successor and the international face of Muammar al-Qaddafi's repressive regime. (Treki, incidentally, was also no champion of gay rights, at one point calling homosexuality "not really acceptable.")
Despite the continued backsliding on gay rights in Uganda, some activists felt that this year's meeting between the American president and the president of the General Assembly, represents an opportunity for dialogue on the rights of sexual minorities.
"We have asked for dialogue and it is happening," said prominent Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha. The meeting, he said, “would be a great opportunity to raise the issue and see Uganda's commitment" to gay rights.

October 23, 2013

Kuwait Proposed to Have Medical Test to bar Migrants Deemed to be Gay


Nepalese migrant workers arrive at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on September 27, 2013. If the the GCC approves a Kuwaiti proposal, migrant workers seeking employment in Gulf countries will undergo mandatory gender tests.
Nepalese migrant workers arrive at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on September 27, 2013. If the the GCC approves a Kuwaiti proposal, migrant workers seeking employment in Gulf countries will undergo mandatory gender tests. 

September 13, 2012

For Gay Iraqis is Hell on Earth!


A Syrian rebelThe violence in Syria has forced gay Iraqis who fled there to return to Iraq
    Because of the restrictions and sensitivities very few groups have been able to help gays and lesbians in Iraq. One of them is New York based IRAP (Iraqi Refugees Assistance Project), another is London based Iraqi LGBT. Here the co-founder of IRAP Becca Heller and founder of Iraqi LGBT Ali Hilli discuss challenges of providing the gay community in Iraq with the much needed help. Becca Heller, Iraqi Refugees Assistance Project

VIDEO: Aiding LGBT Iraqis in Iraq and Middle East
In post-Saddam Iraq, gay men and women have been systematically targeted for death by extra-judicial militias - with the co-operation of the democratically elected government, says Ali Hilli, founder of the London-based group, Iraqi LGBT.

Ali Hilli, Iraqi LGBT

Iraq society has always been a melting pot of ethnic, religious and other groups, a place where difference was often not only tolerated but celebrated.
Even through the worst years of Saddam Hussein, sexual minorities in Iraq enjoyed a fair degree of freedom.
The US-led invasion of 2003 brought to power the Islamic Dawa party, which was established in Iran in the 1980s and backed Iran in its war with Iraq.
The fact that Dawa's core beliefs were inspired by Iranian Shia clerics did not stop the US and UK from supporting the party after Saddam Hussein's fall.
Government involvement
In the years after the invasion, the security situation deteriorated for everyone in the country. But for sexual minorities, Iraq became hell on earth.
By 2007, political and religious groups backed by militiamen launched what we believe was an organised, co-ordinated campaign to hunt, arrest, torture and kill everyone they perceived as gay.
 ng them”
These radical groups deny sexual minorities the right to life. They target everyone who does not conform to their religious description of family.
That is why killings of gays are similar to so-called honour killings of women said to bring shame on to the family by having extra-marital sex, even in cases when women are raped.
In the same way, gay men and women who do not adhere to traditional sexual practices within an accepted marriage framework are seen as dangerous to society.
Instead of protecting sexual minorities, the Iraqi government facilitates their murder by arresting the victims and handing them over to militias who kill them.
Iraqi LGBT sources working inside Iraq have found the militias are also getting intelligence about the identities of sexual minorities from the Ministry of the Interior.
'Aim is elimination'
Members of our organisation and the gay men and women we interviewed have said consistently that, under arrest, they have been forced to give names and addresses of other homosexuals or suspected homosexuals.
Taken together, this is why we believe the Ministry of the Interior tracks sexual minorities with the aim of eliminating them.
Iraq LGBT is based in London, and it has become increasingly dangerous for us to operate inside Iraq. But we have been trying.
Since its founding in London in September 2005, Iraqi LGBT has operated in total secrecy, providing gays inside the country with contacts, psychological counselling, financial aid, shelter and accommodation, and assistance escaping Iraq.
We have watched as the situation in the country has deteriorated, as lists of targets began to appear in the streets first in Baghdad, then in Najaf, Basra, Kufa and other towns across Iraq.
Among the names on these lists were many of our activists and members, and many of them are no longer alive.
In the face of the increasing danger we carried on working in Iraq, but recently our funds ran out.
Constant danger
Our safe houses inside Iraq have been raided and shut down and we can no longer afford to open new ones.
Our activists continue to be targeted and killed. On top of all that, many Iraqi gays whom we helped to find refuge in neighbouring Syria have now been forced to flee the violence there and return to Iraq. There, they are likely again to be targeted by both the militias and the government.
Given the open hostility of the Iraqi government to homosexuals, for now we must remain underground if we are to survive.
If this is ever to change, Iraq's gay men and women also need international attention and support.
Hundreds of gay men and women in Iraq are living under enormous stress and are in constant danger simply because of the way they were born.
This unprecedented brutal violence against our community must stop, criminals must be brought to justice, and gays and lesbians, just like any other community in Iraq, must be protected by law enforcement agencies and the constitution.
Unless the international community steps in to help and to put pressure on the Iraqi government, many more men and women will die.

bbc.co.uk

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