I’m From Dohuk, Iraq.

by Sulaiman

I’m From Dohuk, Iraq.

I was born in Dohuk, which is in northern Iraq, and when I was 4 years old Saddam Husein destroyed our villages and killed many people, so my family escaped to Iran, and I grew up in Tehran.

After the second Gulf War, when I was 14 years old, we came back to northern Iraq. I remember my feeling towards males was a special feeling. I liked males, but in a closed country like Iraq it is regarded as a big crime and shame in society. Sometimes I told myself, “Oh maybe I’m crazy, why would I have this feeling to males?” But as I grew up, year after year I realized that I’m gay and life for me became more difficult. I had to hide my personality, I had to hide my feelings and I had to play as an actor in my life. My family, as other Iraqi families, cannot accept this. If they knew, they might kill me before other people do, so I never allowed anyone to know about it.

When the Internet became available in northern Iraq, I found many gay sites and I knew that there were many other people who were gay like me, so I wasn’t alone. Anyway, in 2005 I found a good guy from Baghdad. We became boyfriends and I was so happy because he was not from northern Iraq (I was afraid if my boyfriend was from my city, other people might know and would kill us). Every month he came to northern Iraq three times to see me and we would have a very nice time together. This continued until 2007. The last time he went to Baghdad, he never came back to northern Iraq.

He told me that when he arrived in Baghdad, he would call me. But after two days he did not. I called his number but his mobile was switched off. I knew another friend of his and he told me that he was killed by some militia in Baghdad. On his t-shirt they wrote, “Gays are enemies of GOD.” I don’t know how they knew that he was gay as he was a straight-looking guy. I then heard that other gay people were killed by a militia known as Mahdi militia, which belongs to a religious man by the name of Muqtada Sadr. I was afraid they might know me too because he was my boyfriend, although northern Iraq was more stable in comparison to other parts of Iraq.

Anyway, I escaped to Iran and from Iran I came to Ukraine. In Ukraine I’ve continued my studies for more than 2 years now and will get my Master’s degree in medicine in February 2010. I already graduated from the University of Medicine in Iraq.

Sharing your story can change someone's life. Interested in learning more?