Around the world, LGBT people face the threat of imprisonment, torture and even execution, just for who they are or who they love. Since 2012, All Out has worked with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) to rescue dozens of LGBT people from extreme danger.
In 2012, we learned that 30 young people in Iraq had been placed on "kill lists" – just because they were perceived as gay. Many had already been attacked and gone into hiding, with nowhere to turn.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The man holds up two pictures of his friend, which tell the story of what it now means to be gay in Iraq. One photograph, which the man keeps on his mobile phone, is a portrait of a handsome youth with a stylish haircut.
In just three days, All Out members donated US$60,000 to evacuate those at greatest risk: thirteen people in immediate danger were rescued from Iraq and safely resettled to start new lives.
But as conflict in Iraq continued, thousands of LGBT people were forced to flee for their lives. Many escaped to Jordan and Lebanon – but there were no shelters for gay and trans refugees, meaning these people were still facing discrimination and abuse.
In May 2015, we heard from Samir, a gay man from Syria. ISIS had invaded the city where he lived, and just a few weeks later, they murdered his best friend because they found out he was gay.
Samir managed to escape to Lebanon, where he received help from IRAP. But before long, they started running out of money, meaning Samir could've ended up on the street. All Out members stepped in again and chipped in the $6,600 needed to get Samir into safe housing and away from danger.
IRAP is thrilled to announce that, thanks to a recent partnership with LGBTI advocacy organization All Out, we will be able to provide immediate assistance for several of our most vulnerable LGBTI clients in Lebanon and Jordan. The campaign, unveiled in May, raised over $20,000 for IRAP in only a few days, thanks to the commitment of All Out's extensive network of supporters.
A few months later, in September 2015, we heard about Nina, a trans woman from Jordan: she had been violently attacked by her own family, just for being trans. With nowhere to go, Nina turned to IRAP for help. And in just a few days, almost 500 All Out members chipped in to relocate Nina to safety.
In 2016, All Out members came together again to help Malaak, a transgender refugee from Iraq who had been on the run for 10 years: because of her gender identity, members of her family and community had threatened to violently hurt her. She was even tortured by the Iraqi police. Finding safety became a decade-long struggle: from one Middle Eastern country to another. But now, thanks to IRAP, she had a chance of safe housing in France: over 1,000 All Out members donated enough to help Malaak find a safe place to live.
Here's what Malaak had to say:
"[I] was facing a lot of harassment. The landlord would sexually harass me in front of my roommate. [With All Out's assistance], I was able to go back to Hamra before I traveled… It made me feel secure… They provided great support to me and other LGBT people. I didn't have the honor of meeting [any All Out staff members,] but I really appreciated their support and IRAP's as well."
All Out will continue to jump into action to provide critical support to LGBT refugees around the world.