The Iraqi LGBTQ+ community - PhMuseum

The Iraqi LGBTQ+ community

Valentina Sinis

2018 - Ongoing

Homosexuality is still a crime in 72 countries. And even countries with no legal barriers, such as the US, record shocking levels of hate crimes – there were 53 transgender murders from 2013 to 2015 and not a single one was prosecuted, for example. Iraq, Iran, Honduras, Uganda, Russia, Egypt and Nigeria are the seven of the countries where LGBT rights are most under threat. LGBTQ+ people in Iraq suffer from daily human rights violations, social difficulties and honor crimes. It is almost impossible for an individual who's known or even rumored to have a non-heteronormative sexual orientation to live there. This is the first chapter of my project, the Iraqi LGBTQ+ community and their unknown stories.

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  • “I’m gay. My younger brother found out and hates me for if, he has beaten me up few times. My mother found a sex toy in my room and wrote me notes saying that she would never understand but she still loves me. She asked me to destroy the notes. I leave in fear for my life and I can’t even cut my hair the way I like.“

  • “I’m a woman and I’m bisexual. I had few sexual experiences with women, always close friends. It’s impossible to have relations with a stranger, you never know if she is real or if she has bad intentions. I wish I could try more but it is impossible for a women to live outside the family home if she is not with her husband so I could never live with a woman with whom I’m in love.

  • “I’m gay. My younger brother found out and hates me for if, he has beaten me up few times. My mother found a sex toy in my room and wrote me notes saying that she would never understand but she still loves me. She asked me to destroy the notes. I leave in fear for my life and I can’t even cut my hair the way I like.“

  • “I’m a woman and I’m bisexual. I had few sexual experiences with women, always close friends. It’s impossible to have relations with a stranger, you never know if she is real or if she has bad intentions. I wish I could try more but it is impossible for a women to live outside the family home if she is not with her husband so I could never live with a woman with whom I’m in love.

  • “I’m gay. For weeks I have been followed and blackmailed by a man from the militia. I was leaving in real fear. I’m free now. I made him believe I left the country. I am so afraid to live this experience again. I usually find a boyfriend on Grindr or Facebook but I’m never sure if he is a real guy interested in me or someone who wants to hurt me or even kill me. I met my ex boyfriend in person for the first time after we chatted for 3 months and I was really scared about our first meeting.

  • “I’m lesbian. I’m studying hard to get a masters degree in business so I will hopefully be able to leave this country legally and finally start to love the way thatI want and that is normal for me.
    My family would never accept my sexual orientation but I wish to be happy one day. I tried to have a relationship with a guy but I really couldn’t feel any desire , even kissing him was unpleasant for me.”



  • “I’m a bisexual guy and I’m an atheist, so I cross two lines here in Iraq. I had a very good job but my company was run by the militia and I was always in fear of being discovered. I also had a fight with my family so I had to leave my home and tried to move to Greece illegally. I actually arrived in Greece but the police caught me and my friends and they tricked us. They sent us to a refugee camp in Turkey and then sent us back to Iraqi Kurdistan and from there we took a car back to Baghdad. It was more than a nightmare and I don’t want to experience it ever again. Now I don’t even look for love anymore and I live a lie at the home of my aunt.”

  • “I’m a transgender person and I’m a Christian. I don’t want to leave this country because it’s my country and my culture but I will never find real love here. Many guys are attracted to me because I have breasts but sometimes after sex they act disgusted by me. I will never be happy and I will never be able to become the person who I really am. If I was living in a tolerant country I would immediately have sex reassignment and become the woman I truly am.”



  • “I’m a bisexual guy and I’m an atheist, so I cross two lines here in Iraq. I had a very good job but my company was run by the militia and I was always in fear of being discovered. I also had a fight with my family so I had to leave my home and tried to move to Greece illegally. I actually arrived in Greece but the police caught me and my friends and they tricked us. They sent us to a refugee camp in Turkey and then sent us back to Iraqi Kurdistan and from there we took a car back to Baghdad. It was more than a nightmare and I don’t want to experience it ever again. Now I don’t even look for love anymore and I live a lie at the home of my aunt.”

  • “I’m a woman and I’m bisexual. I had few sexual experiences with women, always close friends. It’s impossible to have relations with a stranger, you never know if she is real or if she has bad intentions. I wish I could try more but it is impossible for a women to live outside the family home if she is not with her husband so I could never live with a woman with whom I’m in love.

  • “I’m a transgender person and I’m a Christian. I don’t want to leave this country because it’s my country and my culture but I will never find real love here. Many guys are attracted to me because I have breasts but sometimes after sex they act disgusted by me. I will never be happy and I will never be able to become the person who I really am. If I was living in a tolerant country I would immediately have sex reassignment and become the woman I truly am.”

  • “I’m gay. For weeks I have been followed and blackmailed by a man from the militia. I was leaving in real fear. I’m free now. I made him believe I left the country. I am so afraid to live this experience again. I usually find a boyfriend on Grindr or Facebook but I’m never sure if he is a real guy interested in me or someone who wants to hurt me or even kill me. I met my ex boyfriend in person for the first time after we chatted for 3 months and I was really scared about our first meeting.

  • “I’m lesbian. I’m studying hard to get a masters degree in business so I will hopefully be able to leave this country legally and finally start to love the way thatI want and that is normal for me.
    My family would never accept my sexual orientation but I wish to be happy one day. I tried to have a relationship with a guy but I really couldn’t feel any desire , even kissing him was unpleasant for me.”


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