While most Syrian refugees are fleeing the war, others are escaping the persecution they face because of their sexual identities – and the violent punishments often inflicted on those who violate the Islamic State’s ban on homosexuality
As war rages on, Syria’s queer youth seeks acceptance in Europe.
KALMAR, Sweden – Sara, a 22-year-old openly bisexual who was recently granted asylum in Germany, has seen her life change in remarkable ways since leaving Syria. She is also adamant: “I wouldn’t go back, not even for a visit.”
“Today, I am free on all levels. My new friends and even their families love me and support me. The whole society is on my side. People here are open-minded and accepting,” she said.
Nearly five years of war have forced millions of Syrians to flee their homes and their homeland, risking everything for the chance of a safer life in Europe. But there is a smaller group of refugees fleeing not only the day-to-day bloodshed and chaos, but a more targeted form of violence aimed at their sexual identity.
Discrimination against non-normative sexual and gender identities in Syria is nothing new. As in many parts of the Arab world, it is illegal to be homosexual in Syria and same-sex partners have long been the target of honor crimes, harassment and imprisonment.
But the arrival of Islamic fundamentalist factions such as the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has radically intensified persecution across the country, pushing some Syrians to join the stream of refugees headed to Europe in search of sexual freedom and expression as well as safety.
“The Islamic State executes homosexuals by throwing them from the tops of high buildings,” said Logal Kako, a 21-year-old Syrian man who’s been openly gay since he was in high school.
17-year-old Omar is not only super handsome but also ridiculously versatile when it comes to pulling off any number of different looks…
Omar was born in Venezuela. Nowadays he lives in Göteborg and is part of the Swedish boyband The Fooo Conspiracy. Check the video below if you wanna take a peek at the glory that is his shirtless body ;D
Alex hittar hobbyn is a show on Swedish TV in which the host Alexander Hermansson is trying out a bunch of different hobbies in every episode. The one linked below was particularity worth watching because he goes diving and as you’ll notice… Alex is quite the looker.
Or as the Destroyer blog put it: “Mother Swedish, father Japanese, son Greek – as in Greek god.”
John and Nicholas are 15 years old and best friends. They’re very interested in girls but feel rather insecure when it comes to a first sexual encounter with a woman. That’s why they decide that they
will get some ‘practice’ on each other…
Jansrud is a Norwegian celebrity and the 29-year-old host of the state-funded educational TV series Newton on Norway’s NRK TV. Recently, Newton aired a segment on puberty featuring Jansrud frankly discussing (and demonstrating) such topics as French kissing, masturbation, and how to give a hickey.
The segment begins with Jansrud explaining that puberty “gives you a new body that can make children if you have sex—otherwise known as fucking, screwing, shagging, getting it on, or making love”. Jansrud then demonstrates where the clitoris and the sensitive nerves on the penis are located, on both live and rubber models.
“Now, what everyone starts with sooner or later, but rarely talks about, stroking your own sex parts. To masturbate,” she says. “Both the clitoris of the girl and the head of the penis on a boy is full of nerves that make it pleasant to touch.”
She then lubricates the vagina before demonstrating penetrative sexual intercourse on the rubber models, as well as how to use a condom. “For it to be pleasant, it’s vital that the vagina be moist enough,” she explains.”For the woman, you also have to rub the clitoris.”
Jansrud caps off the segment by showing viewers her pregnant belly. She found out she was pregnant on the air in February, and she plans to turn her pregnancy into a recurring segment on the series in the coming months.
This isn’t the first time that Newton has taken such a frank and educational approach to sex. Last month, the series landed in hot water on Facebook when the social network deleted a clip of Jansrud demonstrating where the uterus and fallopian tubes are located on a woman’s body by painting the organs on a naked model’s skin. Another clip showed Jansrud explaining menstruation by filming the blood trickling down a live model’s legs.
Such a straightforward approach to sex education seems to be par for the course in Nordic countries. Back in January, a Swedish TV children’s cartoon segment featuring a dancing penis and vagina went viral. The video featured the lyrics “Here comes the penis at full pace” and “the vagina is cool, you better believe it, even on an old lady.”
Unsurprisingly, Newton’s latest segment has been heavily criticized on a handful of foreign blogs, whose writers seem to think the segment is borderline pornographic and prurient. This is despite the fact that Jansrud also touches on such important issues as homosexuality, the age of consent, and the need to use contraceptives. She’s also quick to assure teens that “there’s no need to rush into having sex. It’ll happen soon enough.”
Yet sex-positive Norwegian commenters are applauding Jansrud for speaking about issues, like masturbation and penetrative sex, so frankly. “Great series, that I would like should have seen when I was in school!” one commenter wrote, while another chimed in: “I am genuinely proud of the fact that Norway is leading the way here. Stand on!”
Perhaps other countries should take a page out of Jansrud’s book and take a similarly frank approach to sex ed, or maybe we wouldn’t have things like chlamydia epidemics at public high schools in America to deal with.
Meet Yohio, a Swedish teen who dresses like a doll, sounds like a man, speaks perfect Japanese, English and Swedish, and shreds guitar (and the piano) like nobody’s business.
Despite his European heritage, he’s developed a cult following in Japan and is lauded by teenage girls because of his “feminine beauty”. Describing himself as a bishonen, Yohio prides himself on his doll-like features.
According to his blog on Japanese social networking site AMEBA, he became interested in Japanese culture when he was introduced to Anime at the age of ten. He then developed an interest in learning the language, and started reading Japanese blogs and following Japanese celebrities on Twitter.
After starting the Visual Kei band Seremedy he was signed to Universal Music Japan and quickly developed a cult following.
A Swedish peace society has come up with a new way of fighting off Russian submarines in the Stockholm archipelago: a subsurface sonar system called ‘The Singing Sailor’, which sends out Morse code and features the message “Welcome to Sweden. Gay since 1944”. Read more…