The punishment for being LGBTQ in Isis controlled areas is death. Specifically, they throw you off a tall building to cheering crowds below.
While the self-proclaimed Islamist State continues its fight across the Middle-East, more and more is coming out about the issues sexual minorities are facing in the area.
The BBC has published a first person account of a young gay college student who faced this brutal treatment and the powerful story will send chills down your spine.
Calling himself Omar, the young man detailed his religious upbringing in Iraq, and his life before the Isis occupation. While he faced threats and physical violence before, since the new group came to town, things have gotten much worse. His close friends turned into bullies, shaving his head and beating him nearly unconscious.
On 4 July, a group of fighters from Isis came to my home. My father answered the door and apparently they said to him: “Your son is an infidel and a homosexual and we have come to carry out God’s punishment on him.”
My dad is a religious man and luckily for me he was able to tell them to come back the next day, to give him time to find out whether the accusation was correct. He came inside the house and started screaming. Finally, he said: “If these accusations are true, I will hand you over to them myself, happily.” And I just stood there, not knowing what to do and what to say, or how to defend myself.
I was in shock. But my mother decided that I should leave the house immediately, and she started working on getting me out of Iraq for good. It was midnight and she said to me: “We’re leaving right now.” She took me to her sister’s house. The next day she booked me a plane ticket to Turkey and got me a visa. But I had to travel via Erbil and they wouldn’t let us into Kurdistan. I stayed in a village near Erbil for two weeks, trying to get in but I never managed it. I tried to leave via Baghdad but there were clashes on the road and the driver wouldn’t go on. I tried to get out so many times, and failed.
Eventually, in August, after weeks in hiding, my mum arranged somehow for me to get to Kirkuk, driving there through fields and on unpaved roads. From there, I went to Sulaymaniyah. I’d planned to go to Turkey but the first available flight was to Beirut and I didn’t need a visa – so here I am.