Sexual Cleansing in Iraq

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image by Stephanie Glaros

An advocacy group in Iraq is tracking police and militias in that country who are waging “a campaign of sexual cleansing,” targeting gays, lesbians, and transgender people for unwarranted arrests and torture, which result in both disappearances and deaths. The Progressive (Nov. 2008) exposed the brutal details in November, reporting that some individuals “have been burned alive, beheaded, and beaten to death” because of their sexual orientation.

Iraqi LGBT ( publicizes these hate crimes and has recorded more than 475 murders since 2003. Despite the risk–more than 25 people associated with the group have been murdered–the organization continues to run two safe houses in Baghdad. Funding remains problematic, says coordinator Ali Hili, who lives in London. It seems that human rights groups have their own discriminatory issues, “running away because they think they will lose their popularity when they advocate our defense.”

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