The LGBTQ community of Iraq faces persecution and discrimination, including threats to their safety or lives, because of their identity. Youth Speak plans to relocate LGBTQ community members from across Iraq into safer areas within the country, provide safe housing and ongoing case management services for them to ensure their physical and emotional wellbeing. Funds will be spent on rent for safe housing, medical and psychological support, and to help those relocated get on their feet.
Under ISIS, Iraqis whose gender identity did not conform to strict interpretations of Islamic law would be accused of homosexuality and thrown from the tallest building in the city. While ISIS is repudiated, this mentality made life even more dangerous for the LGBTQ community. Often, their lives are at risk, and at a minimum, they find it difficult to connect to the LGBTQ community or access safe health information. Youth Speak will provide safe housing and case management for these individuals.
Youth Speak believes that while there are extreme cases that require LGBTQ community members to leave the country, it is also important to support the community that exists within the country and help them to thrive. In order for them to do so, they need access to safe housing, proper healthcare, access to community, and ongoing case management to ensure that their needs are being met. If we can provide this, then the LGBTQ community in Iraq strengthen and support one another.
By ensuring that a minimum of ten LGBTQ Iraqis have access to safety, housing, and support while they get on their feet through this project, Youth Speak is working to create an interconnected and stable community network who can help to provide safe haven for others in need. Only once basic needs are met can these at-risk members of the community begin to make change, so this project provides the springboard necessary for further outreach, support for others, and advocacy.