Tuesday, June 09, 2009

BBC Readies Iraqi Gay Torture Story;

SF Rally May Be Included

It's emotionally draining trying to bring attention to the torture and murder of gay Iraqis, and contribute to making the lives of Iraqi gay refugees a little bit more bearable.

What helps keeps me going on this issue, is knowing $7,500 from San Francisco has reached the hands of the refugees, and that I am surrounded by the love and support of my partner of 14-years, Mike Merrigan, and lots of friends in town who help organize rallies, and attend fundraisers pulled together by Gary Virginia.

There a lot more USA gays could do to help gay Iraqis, such as vigils and raising money. Speaking of which, cruise on over to the Rainbow World Fund, where Jeff Cotter has set up a page to make tax-deductible donations for this very worthy cause.

Another motivator is receiving emails such as this one, from mainstream media outlets preparing stories about the plight of Iraqi gays. Media attention can go a long way in creating support and donations for the gay refugees, lucky enough to escape.

Of course, I've replied to the BBC freelancer, and my friend with the video and the audio, Clinton Fein, in an attempt to get him what he needs to make a damn good story.

Don't forget. On Friday, June 19, starting at 9 pm, Gays Without Borders/SF is holding a fundraiser at Cafe Flore for gay Iraqis. Be there!

Dear Michael,

We are currently producing a documentary for BBC Radio 5Live in the United Kingdom entitled Gay Life After Saddam. It will be broadcast on 5th July 2009 and will include interviews with people who have been tortured and persecuted in Iraq.

We have seen footage of the recent rally in San Francisco and would like to include some audio from it for the documentary. Can you point me in the direction of who owns this material so we can discuss its use in the documentary?

We are very keen to show how people all around the world are reacting to the plight of gay people in Iraq.

The documentary is fast turnaround and we only have a few weeks to get everything in place so if you’re able to get back to asap, it would be very much appreciated.

Best wishes,

Ashley Byrne

Creative Director

Made in Manchester Productions


Just got this second email from the producer:

Hi Michael,

Yes it’s an extremely important issue.

Basically i’d really like to convey the mood of the rally so whoever has footage which can be used that conveys the best speeches but also the crowd reaction etc. We would need it without the music which appears on the You Tube video. Was there also a march as well as the rally? If so, it would be great to convey this too.

If there’s some raw that could be sent over for us to listen to that would be brilliant.

We would be looking to use the audio only as this is a radio programme.

Separate to that, we are trying to gain contact with gay Iraqis who have fled to other countries and to hear about their experiences – both in Iraq but also re: how they’ve been treated whilst seeking refuge in other countries.

Anything else you might feel would help this very important documentary would be very much appreciated.

Very best wishes,


My original post incorrectly referred to Ashley as a woman. Ashley is a man, and I've apologized to him for confusing his gender.

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