Middle East




‘Being Gay Isn’t As Sexy As ISIS’: One Young Man’s Fight For Rights For Iraq’s Queer Community

“Being gay isn’t as sexy as ISIS. So no-one pays us any attention.” These are the words of Amir Ashour, a 25-year-old Iraqi and the founder of the country’s only organisation for its queer community. Amir left behind his home and family a year ago and is currently living in Sweden. There, he hopes to… Read more »

ISIS stones two more gay men to death in Syria

Warning: Graphic Content This article contains images that are not available on this site. Original Article by Nick Duffy Source – PinkNews

Gay asylum seekers face threat from fellow refugees in Europe

Dresden, Germany — Rami Ktifan made a snap decision to come out. A fellow Syrian had spotted a rainbow flag lying near the 23-year-old university student’s belongings inside a packed refugee center. The curious man, Ktifan recalled, picked it up before casually asking, “What is this?” “I decided to tell the truth, that it is… Read more »

‘A Sinner in Mecca’ documents gay Muslim pilgrimage

A new film made by a gay Muslim pilgram offers a different perspective to the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in a documentary that has attracted death threats. New York: The confession of a Pakistani murderer. Overzealous religious police. An Arab angered that his pregnant wife was molested in the holiest site known to Islam. A… Read more »

ISIS Wanted to Kill Me for Being Gay

A few months ago, gay Syrian refugee Subhi Nahas feared for his life. This week, he made history with a UN address about the vicious persecution of LGBTs under ISIS. It was only two months ago, when his plane took off from Turkey to take him to his new life in the United States, that… Read more »

Gay student: ‘My dad tried to let ISIS kill me’

A medical student from Iraq has opened up about how his parents were willing for him to be killed because he is gay. Taim, a 24-year-old who only survived by fleeing Iraq for the Lebanon, opened up in a candid interview with the BBC, saying his father threatened to turn him over to ISIS, and… Read more »

United Arab Emirates introduces discriminatory non-discrimination law

The law cracks down on discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and religion, but says nothing about sexual orientation The United Arab Emirates has this week enacted an anti-discrimination law that, in the words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, ‘guarantees the freedom of individuals from religious intolerance … and… Read more »

United Arab Emirates introduces discriminatory non-discrimination law

The law cracks down on discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and religion, but says nothing about sexual orientation The United Arab Emirates has this week enacted an anti-discrimination law that, in the words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, ‘guarantees the freedom of individuals from religious intolerance … and… Read more »

Saudi Arabia busts two gay parties

Several people arrested in swoops in Jeddah’s Harzat area Manama: Authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested several people in the Red Sea city of Jeddah following raids on two parties in which most participants were homosexuals. The raids were conducted simultaneously at dawn on Saturday in the Harzat area, known for its recreational facilities, local news… Read more »

Tel Aviv boasts one of the world’s largest Gay Pride parades

Tel Aviv, Israel – The Middle East isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when we think of LGBT equality. It may not even be the tenth. In report after report, countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are singled out for imposing the harshest penalties for homosexual activity, including death and lashings.… Read more »

What’s it like to work in the Middle East as a gay person?

Would you ever consider relocating to the Middle East for work purposes? And is the situation different for gay people who move there as opposed to nationals? Countries in the Middle East are among the worst in the world when it comes to laws relating to LGBTI people. If you’re gay, what might it be… Read more »

Seeking home: The lives of gay and transgender asylum seekers of the Middle East

Beginning in Damascus, Syria, in 2010, photojournalist Bradley Secker began to document the lives of gay Iraqi refugees that had fled Iraq to escape homophobic violence. Shortly after chronicling their stories, Secker crossed borders and traveled to Turkey, following Iranians, Turkish Kurds, Syrians and more Iraqis who were claiming asylum abroad or fighting for their… Read more »

Gay Refugees From ISIS

If caught by jihadis, Syrian gays may be thrown from rooftops, or ransomed. And many live in fear of their own families. But Lebanon’s not the safe haven they hoped. Beirut — Two young men we’ll call Karim and Tareq were walking through the streets of Raqqa, Syria, in September 2013 on their second date.… Read more »

Online activists spur change in Middle East, China, world

Online LGBT activism and community-building are the focus of this week’s video in the “Quorum” series of 11 discussions of international LGBTI issues. Moderator for the latest discussion is Andre Banks, executive director of AllOut.org, the U.S.-based advocacy organization that has enlisted 2 million people worldwide to take action online for LGBTI rights. Panelists /… Read more »

10 Reasons Why it’s Great to be Gay in Israel

“Israel is the most gay friendly nation in the Middle East” – as the headlines say, but what’s behind the rainbow-colored slogan? For all the skeptics and fans of Tel Aviv, Kristóf Yosef Steiner breaks down the White City’s major attributes First and foremost: No one asks you to choose between your religion and sexual… Read more »

Sick Islamic terrorists pushed man off building for being gay – then stoned lifeless body

In a series of photographs released by the religious fanatics, the terrified man sits blind-folded on a plastic chair as a grinning executioner takes pictures of the crowd below Sick Islamic terrorists pushed a man off a building for being gay – and then stoned his lifeless body as it lay on the ground. In… Read more »

With generous social benefits, a welcoming attitude, and a thriving support community, Toronto has emerged as the unofficial capital for gay Iranian refugees.

When Ali escaped Iran and arrived in Turkey in 2012, he had already decided where he wanted the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to place him. I told them I’m choosing Canada because I’m going to go to university [and] Canada is cheaper than U.S.; Australia is too far; and in some states in… Read more »

Individual and Community Resilience Factors Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Questioning Youth and Adults in Israel.

Abstract Drawing on resilience theories, this study examined the individual and community factors of Israeli lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, and questioning (LGBQs) that contribute to positive mental health and the degree to which individual and community protective factors mitigate the adverse effect of risk factors for poor mental health. Differences in resilience factors between LGBQ… Read more »

LGBT Iraqis face ‘imminent risk of death’ under Islamic State

A new report concludes LGBT Iraqis who live under the control of the Islamic State group are likely “at imminent risk of death.” The 18-page document the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and MADRE, a global women’s advocacy organization, released on Wednesday notes the Sunni militant group has imposed a strict interpretation of… Read more »

Saudis Behead Four For Drug Possession & Persecute ‘Gay’ And Businesswoman

The Saudi Arabian “morality police” have been busy these past weeks handing out gruesome penalties for crimes that would be considered misdemeanors in the U.S. Sharia, of course, has different standards than we do and those standards are harsh and deadly. Sharia has no set code of laws that can be relied on to assure… Read more »

Toronto’s gay mecca a refuge for persecuted Iranians

While other Muslims pay homage to the holy city of Mecca, Elina Azari worships Toronto, the gay mecca for queer Iranians. A month ago, the 26-year-old native from Tehran followed the treks of other queer refugees stranded in Turkey and joined the growing Iranian LGBTQ community for a new life in what some of them… Read more »

Two gay Syrian refugees get sanctuary in Canada

Canada: A gay Syrian couple seeking refuge from discrimination and war in their hometown are now able to live in Canada after local sponsors and supporters intervened on their behalf “I want to ride a roller coaster for the first time,” Danny Ramadan told cbc.ca. “I would also like to give back to the community… Read more »

Israel: Twice-cancelled Jerusalem Pride attracts low turnout

This year’s Jerusalem Pride – which was delayed twice due to the Gaza conflict – has finally gone ahead, but attracted a lower-than-expected turnout. The Pride event, which was initially due to take place in August but was delayed over security fears during the Gaza conflict, finally took place yesterday. Held in Shabbat Square, reported… Read more »

Watch: ISIS fighter warns that ‘gays and paedophiles’ teach in ‘infidel’ schools

A video featuring a fighter allegedly with ISIS, the Islamic State, who warns against gays, drug dealers and paedophiles teaching in “infidel countries,” and says gays are “the worst of creatures” and “like animals”. The video, which was posted online at the beginning of April, recently went viral. The eight-minute clip features an armed man… Read more »

Gay Syrian refugees start new lives in Vancouver

Same-sex couple among the first of 1,300 refugees Canada promised to bring in by end of 2014 Two gay Syrian refugees are enjoying their first full day in Canada Wednesday, thanks to the efforts of local sponsors and supporters. “I want to ride a roller coaster for the first time,” says Danny Ramadan. “I would… Read more »

Lebanon police entrapping gay people by going through WHATSAPP contacts

Beirut: Lebanon’s LGBTQI advocacy organization Helem says that police in Beirut are entrapping gay people by going through the WHATSAPP message service contacts of arresting gay individuals. Urgent Announcement: Helem has learned that the Hobeich police station has been arresting individuals in Beirut They are summoning contacts from detainees based on their WHATSAPP conversations to… Read more »

Jordanian society anti-gay despite decriminalizing same-sex relations

Amman: Although Jordan is one of the few Arab states to have decriminalized same-sex relations, anti-gay discrimination and harassment remain common in the conservative desert kingdom. “Culturally speaking, this type of sexual behavior is not accepted in the very conservative society in Jordan,” Musa Shteiwi, director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University… Read more »

Love against all the odds: Lesbian Muslim couple from Iran tie the knot in Stockholm… and the delighted imam is gay too!

Sahar Mosleh and Maryam Iranfar married in Swedish capital Stockholm Both were forced to flee Iran where gay people are given the death penalty The couple were married by Imam Ludovic Mohamed Zahed Imam Zahed who is Algerian but lives in South Africa is also gay Beaming with pride, their faces wreathed in smiles, this… Read more »

Lebanese police go on gay arresting spree

Beirut: Police in Lebanon across the country are conducting search and raid operations targeting gay men and arresting them. The operation began Aug 9 when police arrested 27 men at the Agha Hammam Turkish bath in the Hamra-Concord area of Beirut for alleged “gay sex” and “indecency.” Six of those have since been released while… Read more »

Report: Lebanon targets gay men in 3 raids, 45 arrests

Journalist Dan Littauer reports on a wave of Lebanese police raids targeting gay men, starting with the Aug. 9 arrest of 27 men at the Agha Hammam Turkish bath in Beirut (reported here Aug. 13). Further raids reportedly occurred on Aug. 14, with 18 men arrested at two locations. Excerpts from Littauer’s account, starting with… Read more »

Study Finds 17% of Young Iranians Are Gay

An official report has found that 17 percent of young Iranians are gay. According to The Economist, the 82-page report was recently issued by Iran’s parliamentary research department. The survey of 142,000 students found that 80 percent of unmarried females have boyfriends and 17 percent of respondents said they were gay. The researchers’ suggestion on… Read more »

Israel allows Jews to immigrate with same-sex spouses

The Israeli Government says it will now allow Jews to immigrate to Israel with their non-Jewish same-sex spouses. Interior Minister Gideon Saar told immigration authorities on Tuesday not to differentiate between married gay and straight couples. Israel does not permit gay couples to marry in the country, but recognises same-sex marriages if they were performed… Read more »

Openly gay Lebanese singer faces opposition to concert

Mashrou’ Leila and lead singer Hamed Sinno still set to perform at Zouk festival A public figure and legal adviser in the small, largely Christian Lebanese city of Zouk Mikael is trying to stop a concert by a local, independent band whose lead singer is gay. “We, the honourable free people in Zouk will not… Read more »

Jail, 450 lashes for Saudi man who used Twitter to befriend gay men

Saudi Arabia: A man has been sentenced to three years in prison and 450 lashes by a court in Saudi Arabia for using his Twitter account to meet with gay men. The 24-year-old unnamed was arrested after he posted several tweets calling for same-sex relations and expressing his readiness to meet gay men, according to… Read more »

MSM Advocates from the MENA Region Launch “M-Coalition”: The First Arab Coalition on MSM and HIV

(Melbourne, Australia) – As part of the International Aids Conference, the M-Coalition was officially launched and presented to the International community at large ceremony yesterday at the Clarendon in Melbourne, followed by a series of sessions and interventions across the global village. Hosted by the Arab Foundation of Freedom and Equality (AFE), the M-Coalition is… Read more »

Jerusalem LGBT center falsely linked to killing of Palestinian

Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an LGBT community center that has operated in Jerusalem for more than a decade, became embroiled earlier this month in the controversy surrounding the July 2 killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian youth that triggered new fighting between Israel and Gaza. Israeli police and the internal Israeli security agency… Read more »

Lebanon: Anal exams still being conducted on ‘suspected homosexuals’ despite ban

Anal examinations are still being carried out on people suspected of being gay in Lebanon, despite the country’s medical board banning the practice. People arrested by police in the country have been subjected to the humiliating exam – which involves an egg-shaped object being placed inside a man’s rectum – despite condemnation by the Lebanese… Read more »

How Pink-Washing Leaves Israel Feeling Squeaky Clean

Now that suspected Jewish extremists have confessed to the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir and are in police custody, it is only fair to look at the rumored scenarios that were spread before the Shoafat murder was seemingly solved – the ones speculating that the motive for the murder was an “honor killing.”… Read more »

Iranian author persecuted for being gay flees to Turkey

Iran: An Iranian poet and writer harassed, blacklisted and arrested for being gay has been forced into exile by the Islamic regime in Iran for alluding to same sex relations in his work. Payam Feili, 29, who was recently incarcerated for 44 days has managed to flee to neighboring Turkey where he has been living… Read more »

A Week of Victories for Iranian LGBT: 6Rang makes History at Istanbul Pride 2014

For the first time ever, 6Rang Network facilitated the organizational presence of Iranian LGBT community and launched a groundbreaking report on state-sponsored medical abuse of its community in Iran at the largest Pride in a Muslim country. Istanbul Pride 2014 was attended by thousands of participants from around the globe including Iran. For the Iranian… Read more »