Syrian LGBTQ Youth: Finding Acceptance in Europe

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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.

Read on…

Comments 5

  1. Getting out of Syria at any time, for any reason, is always a good thing. Getting out of any Islamic country, for that matter, is always a step up.

    Just an observation – Obama has committed the USA to settling thousands upon thousands of Syrian ‘refugees’ who are un-vetted, and cannot be vetted. Islamic State has said it will infiltrate its operatives among the migrants. Know this – if even one of Obama’s sainted Syrians goes on a Jihad, The Donald wins the GOP nomination by default, and the general election in a landslide. Just one is all it will take.

  2. What happens to all those Syrian refugees (both gay and straight) if & when Assad & ISIL/ISIS are both defeated? Aren’t they wanting to go back to their homeland & culture?

    And, will the next terrorist be the new “persecuted gay” from Syria? (Think about Paris before you answer that.)

  3. Isis are the gay enemy. Our gay brothers and sisters over in Syria, will always have my support!

  4. Penboy – even after (if) Assad, the Baathists, and ISIL are defeated, if you were a Syrian refugee, after experiencing the delicious life of Europe and America, would you want to return to the scarred land and smoking ruins of Syria? I wouldn’t. Besides, given the history and traditions of Islamic states, what’s to keep the successor government from being as bad or even worse than it was before?

    Turkey is the only Middle Eastern Islamic country to survive a major regime change with any degree of success. The overthrow of the Ottoman Sultanate by General Mustafa Kemal resulted in a relatively secular successor government only because Kemal was an ardent Freemason and learned the virtues and value of free elections, toleration, and freedom of thought and conscience from Scottish Rite degree rituals. The odds of post-Baathist Syria raising such a leader are about the same as winning the lottery, or being struck by lightning while drowning in an indoor pool The Syrian refugees will quickly find they can enjoy their culture in the multi-cultural west without risking any of the deadly and oppressive negatives they would endure in their homeland.

  5. I have to agree with you Horselips. If what happened in Cologne happens in smalltown USA, there is a good chance that “The Donald” will be sworn in at noon on 20th January 2017. In that case we all really are “Donald Ducked”, (fucked). He’s a fucking clown and a headcase.

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