Friday, September 11, 2009

Gay Men New Target for Iraqi Militias

After targeting women since 2003 for wearing makeup or pants, various Iraqi militias are now setting their sights on gay males. Iraq’s media and mosques are warning that the “third sex” is on the loose and declare the feminization of Iraqi men. Gay men are the new target of Iraqi militant groups.

Just as women are often tortured and murdered for the way they dress, so too are Iraqi men. If their jeans are too tight, their dress to Western or their hair is too long, Iraqi men are in danger of being labeled homosexual and targeted by these militia men who claim to bare the “banner of religion and morality.” (Foreign Policy)

These attacks are rooted in the growing belief that any relaxing of or deviation from gender roles is a threat to social order. These militias act out in an attempt to protect patriarchal power and to end all threats to familial and fatherly control.

All of this violence is happening dangerously close to the green zone. The United States gives the impression that great strides are being made towards a peaceful Iraq, but are they really? This can’t possibly be true if these militant groups are actually increasing their targets, increasing the violence. Isn’t the goal of the U.S. occupation to restore peace and stability? How can this be expected to happen when these groups are left unpunished and even unnoticed? Something needs to be done about these killings before new victims are targeted. This is not a special-case, this is not a temporary occurrence, this is ongoing, and it will continue unless there is action taken.

If the United States has any hope in creating stability in Iraq, these militias must be targeted and must be stopped. The stability of a nation is directly linked with the safety and security of its people. When will this be the focus of U.S. occupation in Iraq? When will the people be the priority? This incessant threat does not only exist for those groups marginalized and victimized by Iraqi militias, but also for all of Iraq—Its people, its stability, and its future.

picture courtesy of Flickr

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