Iraq's other war

The Gay Middle East website has a compilation of attacks in Iraq last month directed against men who are gay or not looking sufficiently "masculine". Some were beaten up, some disappeared and others were murdered, according to the website's sources.

As a report by Human Rights Watch explained last year, these attacks are not only about "sinful" sexual behaviour, but also about compliance with gender stereotypes.

In one incident in al-Kut on 8 July, "two men [who] were well known as gay in the community were surrounded and beaten up by a group of thugs for allegedly wearing trendy clothes," Gay Middle East says.

On 22 July, another pair were beaten up and arrested by the police in Najaf: "Police suspected they were gay due to their hairstyle, but after the authorities learned they were married and had children [they] were released."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 3 August 2010.