The alleged slaying of as many as 58 "emo" Iraqi citizens who are either gay or believed to be gay has sparked concerns from international human rights organizations, with many fearing Iraq may be returning to the rampant level of hate crimes against homosexuals as seen in 2009.
As Out magazine is reporting, the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) recently released a video which aims to bring the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis into focus.
In the video, a gay man identified simply as Ahmed recalls the story of an ex-boyfriend's betrayal and its aftermath. Ahmed's boyfriend disclosed private photos of the couple to family members, after Ahmed had refused to continue financially supporting him. "One day my sister called me. She said that six of my uncles...received a small envelope under the main gates of their houses. A letter was written with the CD, 'Your son is one of Baghdad's biggest gay b*tches." Ahmed claims his uncles were then planning to organize an "honor killing," which have long been utilized by Islamic militas to preserve the idea that families should be led by opposite-sex partners, after receiving the package.
After Ahmed had an encounter with religious police, who took him to their high court, he is thrown into jail, where he claims he was subjected to rape and other abuses. "The judge said, 'You are accused of being a homosexual. I want to tell you something. You don’t deserve to live, and you're a shame for your family and the Iraqi nation.'"
As Reuters reports, death squads have been targeting two separate groups -- gay men, and those who dress in a distinctive, Western-influenced style called "emo," which some Iraqis mistakenly associate with homosexuality, since the start of this year. Fortunately for Ahmed, he was able to buy himself out of jail while awaiting trial and gain safe passage to the United States as a refugee.
Take a look at other LGBT-relevant viral videos below:
Danny Rose set a new precedent for gay grooms-to-be with his amazing proposal video. Titled "What Are We Waiting For," the video features a dance-pop soundtrack and "Glee"-style choreography, along with a number of slick costume changes to boot. "I started writing the song in December and took me a month to complete," said Rose. "Then I prepped the music video for a few weeks and shot it all in one day...After the video I got down on one knee and asked him to make me the happiest person in the world and spend his life with me! He said of course and it was a great moment. But wanted to watch the video again 30 more times. There are a lot of inside jokes and even some wardrobe choices in there designed to experiences in our history."
Although Tebow filmed a Superbowl commercial in 2010 for the anti-gay, anti-abortion organization Focus On The Family (FOTF), he seemed to have no problem sharing a male-on-male lip-lock with Demaryius Thomas in front of thousands (millions?) of onlookers in October.
Penned by "Wicked" Stephen Schwartz, "Testimony" has become an Internet hit, thanks to a video performance by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC) which has gone viral. The song has been dubbed the "It Gets Better" anthem.
An eighth grader's hilarious public service announcement on the misuse of the word "gay" made the rounds of the LGBT blogosphere and beyond in November.
Wahls' profound pro-gay parenting, pro-marriage equality speech went viral twice this year. The 19-year-old's moving testimony in front of the Iowa House of Representatives swept Twitter and Facebook in February and in December due to the continuing debates about same-sex marriage and gay parenting in the United States.
It's easy to see why a video of a gay couple being told they're going to be grandparents went viral again over a year after it was originally uploaded to YouTube.
An Australian same-sex marriage advocacy group's sexy, dramatic new campaign had the blogosphere abuzz in late fall. Produced by independent advocacy organization GetUp! Action for Australia, the new ad, simply titled "A Love Story," which depicts two handsome men frolicking on a beach and dealing with family crises before a proposal and the subsequent nuptials.
One gay couple expressed their views on the victory of Spain's Mariano Rajoy and his conservative People's Party by "videobombing" an Al Jazeera reporter, kissing passionately as the hapless correspondent spoke on the election.
A bullied teen's poignant video caught the eye of the blogosphere over three months after it was originally posted. The clip, simply titled "Whats goin on..." [sic] and uploaded to YouTube in August, features eighth grader Jonah Mowry, who addresses the audience with a series of revealing notecards while Sia's "Breathe Me" plays in the background.
In a stinging floor speech, Michigan Senator Gretchen Whitmer expressed her dissatisfaction with "Matt's Safe School Law," which -- at the time -- created a special exception for bullies who have "a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction," as well as neglecting to protect to bullying against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Hours after the U.S. military repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Randy Phillips, a young American soldier stationed in Germany <a href="http://main.aol.com/2011/09/20/soldier-comes-out-to-father-on-youtube_n_971994.html" target="_hplink">had something to tell his father</a>. "Dad, I'm gay," the soldier uttered into his cellphone. "Always have been and always known forever," he adds.
In early December, Michele Bachmann was left speechless after an awkward encounter with a young activist named Elijah at a South Carolina book signing. The video, however, drew plenty of criticism from some unusual sources.
Produced by staff and students from the University of Liverpool and based on an original idea from the staff's LGBT Network, "Gay is the Word" shows a British fellow attempting to come out to his mates as a gay man, yet failing when his friends don't understand that "gay" also means "homosexual."