Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Metro Weekly: US Embassy in Iraq
'Strongly Condemns' Gay, Emo Killings

(Screen shot of the recent New York Times story and photograph from Baghdad. Credit: Metro Weekly.)

Two sites in Washington today write about Gays Without Borders contacting the American embassy in Iraq over the brutal deaths of gays and emos in that country.

Kudos to the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance's Rick Rosendall for giving the embassy's note some attention, and to Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly for not only writing about the note but for also contacting the spokesman in Baghdad for additional comments.

It's always good for embassy officials to hear from American gay activists and reporters about such atrocities, if only to remind them that we are concerns about the murders and expect our government officials to act to stop the killings.

From Metro Weekly:

Addressing the recent spate of "emo killings" in Iraq, in which young gay men and others with similar public presentation have been targets, the spokesman for the American embassy in Iraq told the San Francisco-based group, Gays Without Borders, that the embassy "strongly condemns" the killings and "is fully engaged at the highest levels to end these attacks, bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure a secure and free future for all Iraqis."

In a response to Gays Without Borders, embassy spokesman Michael McClellan, who confirmed the email to Metro Weekly, wrote, "Along with the Embassy, the U.S. Department of State strongly condemns the recent violence and killings in Iraq by groups who appear to be targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or personal expression. These acts of intolerance should have no place in any society." . . .

The response to Gays Without Borders was first reported by one of its members, Michael Petrelis. In the NYT report, Jack Healy writes, "An Interior Ministry security officer said that in the past two weeks, officials had found the bodies of six young men whose skulls had been crushed. Reuters reported the toll to be 14 or more, citing hospital and security officials, while rights groups say that more than 40 young men have been killed, but have provided no evidence for this figure." . . .

McClellan told Metro Weekly early this morning Eastern Time that there had been no further developments in the day since he had sent Petrelis the letter.

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