First in a Four-Part Series From: Gay City News, New York By Michael T. Luongo September 15, 2010 What had only been lines on a map, forbidden and dangerous, were places that had come alive, places that I could now see with my own eyes. I was in Baghdad in mid-2009 for my second time.
Homosexuality was legal in Iraq under Saddam Hussein until late 2001, when under pressure from religious conservatives he criminalised the act of sodomy. A law passed in 2001 made sodomy punishable by imprisonment, and repeated convictions punishable by death. It should be noted however that despite the change in law there were no known cases in which the death penalty was applied for the offence by Iraqi Courts. Hussein had previously refused to criminalise homosexuality, as it went against the Secular Socialist beliefs of the Ba’ath Party. The legal status of homosexuality remains something in dispute in a post-Saddam Iraq. Homosexuality is not technically illegal in Iraq, but it is taboo. As of 2011, Iraq is in a de facto state of civil war and some militias have been known to seek out and kill homosexuals and transgender Iraqis. Also see: Islam and Homosexuality
Second in a Four-Part Series From: Gay City News, New York By Michael T. Luongo September 29, 2010 There were bullet holes across his chest when I found him in the room. They were merely a decoration on his black T-shirt, tight against his broad shoulders and puffy biceps. He reminded me of a “Sopranos”
Third in a Four-Part Series From: Gay City News, New York By Michael T. Luongo September 29, 2010 Hassan mistakenly thought I had a sexual fetish about Saddam Hussein. I made an offhand comment about Iraqi policemen’s 1970s San Francisco clone moustaches — the kind sported by the dictator. Hassan held one hand up high,
This 3-part story offers a raw-faced portrait of a nation in the throes of a military war, religious sectarian battles and social upheaval. Nearly 10% of the population have been dislocated and tens of thousands have be killed since the ‘American War’ started in 2003 (and countless more under the Saddam regime.) Needless to say