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18 April 2009
Iraqi gay men face 'lives of hell'
By Jim Muir
BBC News, Baghdad
Grainy footage taken on a mobile phone and widely distributed around Baghdad shows a terrified young Iraqi boy cowering and whimpering as men with a stick force him to strip, revealing women's underwear beneath his dishdasha (Arab robe).
Mobile video of gay abuse

Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

'Why are you dressed as a girl?' roars one of the men, brandishing his stick as the youth removes his brassiere.

The sobbing boy, who appears to be about 12, tries to explain that his family made him do it to earn money, as they have no other source of income.

The scene, apparently filmed in a police post, reinforced reports of a campaign against gay men in Iraq which activists say has claimed the lives of more than 60 since December.
Mobile video of gay abuse
"Why are you dressed as a girl?" roars one of the men, brandishing his stick as the youth removes his brassiere.
The sobbing boy, who appears to be about 12, tries to explain that his family made him do it to earn money, as they have no other source of income.
The scene, apparently filmed in a police post, reinforced reports of a campaign against gay men in Iraq which activists say has claimed the lives of more than 60 since December.
In the latest manifestation of the campaign, posters have appeared on walls in the poor Shia suburb of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, listing alleged homosexuals by name and threatening to kill them.
Those named have gone underground, while gay men throughout the city and in some other parts of the country also live in fear.
The phenomenon seems mainly to be affecting Shia neighbourhoods, where a number of clerics have given sermons seen as homophobic incitement.
In Sadr City, Sheikh Jassem al-Mutairi used his Friday sermon to attack what he called "new private practices by some men who dress like women, and are effeminate".
He called on families to prevent their youngsters from following such a lifestyle.
Police sources say that in the past month alone, the bodies of six young men have been found in Sadr City, some with placards labelling them "perverts" or "puppies", the derogatory Iraqi term for gay men.
Mobile video of police abusing a hermaphrodite

Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

In the latest manifestation of the campaign, posters have appeared on walls in the poor Shia suburb of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, listing alleged homosexuals by name and threatening to kill them.

Those named have gone underground, while gay men throughout the city and in some other parts of the country also live in fear.

Police sources say that in the past month alone, the bodies of six young men have been found in Sadr City, some with placards labelling them
Mobile video of police abusing a hermaphrodite
"The campaign started in 2004, but now it's very much worse," said a Baghdad homosexual who goes by the name of Surour.   He talked to the BBC on condition of anonymity.
"They kill the gays, they beat them up… I have a lot of friends that have been killed — 15 or 16, something like that, too much."
"Life has become like hell, believe me, like hell.   Whenever I go anywhere, there are checkpoints, and when they see us, they know about us, they detain us and question us, and they want to touch me, yes, to molest me."
As though to underline the accusation, another piece of mobile phone footage circulating in Baghdad shows a group of uniformed police harassing a hermaphrodite they have caught at a checkpoint, obliging him to expose his well-developed breasts which are then gleefully manhandled and kissed.
One Iraqi homosexual who fled the country last week said he was detained for three weeks and beaten until a bribe of $5,000 (£3,380) raised by friends bought his release.
Clerical cue
Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair, Baghdad

Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

A Shia cleric in central Baghdad's Kerrada district, Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair, said he saw many young men dressing more effeminately than women.

'It's a phenomenon which has to be fought, but through treatment,' he said.

'If these people are sick, they should be given therapy.   But violence is rejected by all religions, especially by Islam, which is a religion of mercy.'
Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair, Baghdad
Shia cleric
Gay activists believe the campaign emerged as police, militias and tribes took their cue from the clerics.
But officials in all categories deny that they support the persecution or killing of homosexuals.
"The Interior Ministry has no policy of arresting gays just for being gay," said Brigadier Diah Sahi, head of the Iraqi police's Criminal Investigation Department.
"There's no law to justify it, unless they commit indecent acts in public."
"It's a psychological problem in any case.   Arresting people and putting them in jail isn't going to change anything," he added.
A Shia cleric in central Baghdad's Kerrada district, Shaikh Sadeq al-Zair, said he saw many young men dressing more effeminately than women.
"It's a phenomenon which has to be fought, but through treatment," he said.
"If these people are sick, they should be given therapy.   But violence is rejected by all religions, especially by Islam, which is a religion of mercy."
A spokesman of the Sadrist movement — followers of the militant young cleric Moqtada Sadr whose Mehdi Army militia used to rule Sadr City — also said that there was nothing in Islam to say that homosexuals should be killed.
But they are being killed, and the Shia militias are among the most oft-cited suspects.
Family honour
Brigadier Diah Sahi, Baghdad

Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

A spokesman of the Sadrist movement — followers of the militant young cleric Moqtada Sadr whose Mehdi Army militia used to rule Sadr City — also said that there was nothing in Islam to say that homosexuals should be killed.

But they are being killed, and the Shia militias are among the most oft-cited suspects.

Police sources say that in the past month alone, the bodies of six young men have been found in Sadr City, some with placards labelling them
Brigadier Diah Sahi, Baghdad
In some cases, it is believed that their own families are killing homosexuals, out of shame for their behaviour.
"In Sadr City, four of those who died were killed by their own families, because they think it is better for their name, for their honour," said Surour.
Homosexuals admit that their problem is as much with their own society and families as with the authorities, police or militias.
But the Iraqi government appears to be slow to take the lead in discouraging the homophobic campaign.
Amnesty International, which believes at least 25 alleged gay men have been killed in Baghdad in the last few weeks, wrote to the Iraqi government last week seeking "urgent and concerted action" to bring the culprits to justice and protect the gay community.
The appeal has so far brought no response, and the government has yet to comment on the killings or take any visible action to combat them.
Fears over Iraq gay killing spate
BBC Monday, 13 April 2009
The Iraqi government must do more to protect homosexuals in the wake of a reported spate of killings of gay young men, Amnesty International has urged.
In the last few weeks, 25 boys and men are reported to have been killed in Baghdad because they were, or were perceived to be, gay, Amnesty said.
Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

Gay Iraqis fear for their lives.

Gay Iraqi men are being murdered in what appears to be a co-ordinated campaign involving militia forces, the group Human Rights Watch says.

Amnesty report on gay killings are said to have been carried out by armed Shia militiamen as well as by members of the tribes and families of the victims.

Amnesty cited reports that three corpses of gay men were found in the Shia area of Sadr City last week - two of which were reported to have had pieces of paper bearing the word 'pervert' attached to them.

Photo: BBC
Gay Iraqi men are being murdered in what appears to be a co-ordinated campaign involving militia forces
17 August 2009
In a letter to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, the rights organisation called for "urgent and concerted action".
It also criticised the government's failure to condemn the killings.
Corpses found
The recent killings are said to have been carried out by armed Shia militiamen as well as by members of the tribes and families of the victims, Amnesty said.
It cited reports that three corpses of gay men were found in the Shia area of Sadr City last week — two of which were reported to have had pieces of paper bearing the word "pervert" attached to them.
The letter also raised concerns that religious leaders may be inciting violence against members of Iraq's gay community, and over reported statements by one senior police officer that appear to condone or even encourage the targeting of gay Iraqis.
Amnesty called on the government to bring those responsible for the killings to justice and to afford effective protection to the gay community in Iraq.
Monday, 17 April 2006
By Michael McDonough
BBC News website
Gay Iraqis fear for their lives
"I don't want to be gay anymore.   When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid.   When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me."
Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

Gay Iraqis fear for their lives

'Hussein,' a gay Iraqi interviewed by the BBC in 2006.

'I don't want to be gay anymore. When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid. When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me.'

Amnesty report on gay killings are said to have been carried out by armed Shia militiamen as well as by members of the tribes and families of the victims.

Amnesty cited reports that three corpses of gay men were found in the Shia area of Sadr City last week - two of which were reported to have had pieces of paper bearing the word 'pervert' attached to them.
'Hussein,' a gay Iraqi interviewed by the BBC in 2006.
That is the fear that haunts Hussein, and other gay men in Iraq.
They say that since the US-led invasion, gay people are being killed because of their sexual orientation.
They blame the increase in violence on the growing influence of religious figures and militia groups in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was ousted.
Islam considers homosexuality sinful.
A website published in the Iranian city of Qom in the name of Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shia cleric, says: "Those who commit sodomy must be killed in the harshest way".
Ayatollah Sistani

A website published in the Iranian city of Qom in the name of Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shia cleric, says:
Ayatollah Sistani
The statement appears in Arabic section of the website, in a section dealing with questions of morality, but not in the English-language equivalent.
The BBC asked Mr Sistani's representative, Seyed Kashmiri, to explain the ruling.
"Homosexuals and lesbians are not killed for practising their inclinations for the first time," Mr Kashmiri said in a response sent via email.
"There are certain conditions drawn out by jurists before this punishment can be implemented, which is perhaps similar to the punishment meted out by other heavenly religions."
Mr Kashmiri added: "Some rulings that are drawn out by jurists are done so on a theoretical basis.   Not everything that is said is implemented."
Violent attacks
Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

Dina - a transsexual killed in Baghdad in 2005.

Gay Iraqis fear for their lives.

Amnesty report on gay killings are said to have been carried out by armed Shia militiamen as well as by members of the tribes and families of the victims.

Amnesty cited reports that three corpses of gay men were found in the Shia area of Sadr City last week - two of which were reported to have had pieces of paper bearing the word 'pervert' attached to them.
Dina — a transsexual killed in Baghdad in 2005
Killings and kidnappings are widespread in Iraq, with much of the bloodshed being linked to sectarian tensions and the anti-US insurgency.
But homosexual Iraqis who have spoken to the BBC say they are also being targeted because of their sexual orientation.
Hussein is 32 and lives in Baghdad with his brother, sister-in-law and nieces.
He says his effeminate appearance and demeanour make him stand out and attract hostility.
"My brother's friends told him: 'In the current chaos you could get away with killing your brother without retribution and get rid of this shame,'" Hussein said, after agreeing to speak to the BBC only if his real name was not used.
A transsexual friend of his, who had changed names from Haydar to Dina, was killed on her way to a party in Baghdad about six months ago, Hussein said.
Gym terror
Ahmed is a 31-year-old interior decorator who used to live in Baghdad with his boyfriend, Mazin.
Ahmed fled to Jordan nine months ago after Mazin was murdered outside a gym.
After his partner was shot dead, Ahmed hid in the gym toilets then slipped away and later flew to Amman, the Jordanian capital.
He says it was well known that they were a couple and Mazin was targeted because of his sexuality.
"I fled from Iraq because of the threat to my life, because I was a gay man," he told the BBC.
Ahmed also said that, before the gym shooting, he and a gay friend had survived a grenade attack and he still had fragments of shrapnel in his face.

Ahmed is a 31-year-old interior decorator who used to live in Baghdad with his boyfriend, Mazin.

Ahmed fled to Jordan nine months ago after Mazin was murdered outside a gym. 

After his partner was shot dead, Ahmed hid in the gym toilets then slipped away and later flew to Amman, the Jordanian capital.

He says it was well known that they were a couple and Mazin was targeted because of his sexuality.

'I fled from Iraq because of the threat to my life, because I was a gay man,' he told the BBC.

Ahmed also said that, before the gym shooting, he and a gay friend had survived a grenade attack and he still had fragments of shrapnel in his face.

Torture and killing of gay people in Iraq.

Gay Iraqis fear for their lives.

Amnesty report on gay killings are said to have been carried out by armed Shia militiamen as well as by members of the tribes and families of the victims.

Amnesty cited reports that three corpses of gay men were found in the Shia area of Sadr City last week - two of which were reported to have had pieces of paper bearing the word 'pervert' attached to them.
Ahmed — his parther was shot dead
The friend was killed a week later by gunmen who raided his house, he added.
Powerful militia
Iraq's deputy interior minister Maj Gen Hussein Kamal told the BBC that he was unaware of any minority groups being specifically targeted for kidnappings and killings.
He also said he was unaware of the statement on Ayatollah Sistani's website calling for gay people to be killed.
But he added: "We do not condone vigilante action. We encourage the victims to inform the authorities if they are subjected to any attacks."
However, Hussein says gay people are afraid of the police.
The Interior Ministry is run by members of Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), which is one of Iraq's country's leading Shia parties.
Sciri has its own militia, the Badr Brigades, and there are widespread concerns that large parts of Iraq's police force are under the control of such groups.
"I don't want to be gay
anymore.   When I go out
to buy bread, I'm afraid.
When the doorbell rings,
I think that they have
come for me."
a gay Iraqi
Hussein blames the Badr Brigades and other Shia militia for many of the attacks on gay Iraqis.
Human rights group Amnesty International has focused most of its work in Iraq on the high levels of violence linked to the insurgency.
The organisation said it had no information on reports of anti-gay activities in the country.
"It is not an area that we have been actively looking at, but that is not to say that we will not look into the issue at some point," said a spokesman at the group's London headquarters.
But Hussein, Ahmed and gay activists outside Iraq say there is clear evidence that the situation has deteriorated dramatically for Iraqi homosexuals.
"Saddam was a tyrant, but at least we had more freedom then," said Hussein. "Nowadays, gay men are just killed for no reason."
Arabic interviews by Muhayman Jamil

  News & Issues



Iran Reportedly Executes Two More Gay Men
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 14, 2005
(Tehran)   Two men have been hanged in a public square in northern Iran after being found guilty of homosexuality a semi-official newspaper reported on Sunday.
The daily newspaper Kayhan said that the execution was carried out in the northern city of Gorgan.   The paper reported the men had been found guilty under Islamic law of lavat, or homosexual sex.
The report identified the men, identified as Mokhtar N., 24, and Ali A., 25. The account claimed the men had “criminal past” that included kidnapping and rape.
Similar allegations have been made in the past when Iran executed gay men.   Exiled Iranian groups say that the allegations are commonly used to justify hangings.
Homosexuality is a capital offense under Islamic law and gays have been under increasing pressure.
In August, another gay man was executed for homosexuality.
On July 19 two gay teenagers were executed in the northeastern city of Mashhad.   The hangings sparked international outrage.
The Iranian government maintains the teens had raped a 13 year old boy — an allegation that many international rights groups discounted.
The exiled Iranian gay rights group, Homan, claims the Iranian government has executed at least 4,000 gays since 1979.
Several European countries halted extraditions of Iranian gays back to country following the executions.   But, both the US and Britain have been silent on the issue.
©® 2005
Abu Nawas logo
If you would like to help support gay Iraqis, the Abu Nawas Group (logo left) desperately needs money to expand its work on their behalf.   The Abu Nawas Group works closely with the British gay rights group OutRage! — so, if you'd like to make a donation to the Abu Nawas Group, checks should be made payable to "OutRage!", with a cover note stating it is a donation for "Abu Nawas Iraqi LGBT — UK".   and mailed to: OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT, England, UK.
Sat, Nov. 26, 2005
365Gay with files from the Associated Press JIM KRANE
Gay Arabs may face hormone injections
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — More than two dozen people described by the government as gay have been arrested at what police called "a mass homosexual wedding" and could face Sharia court imposed male hormone treatments, five years in jail and a lashing, authorities in the United Arab Emirates told the Associated Press on Saturday.
The Interior Ministry said police raided a hotel earlier this month and arrested 22 men from the Emirates as they celebrated the wedding ceremony.   It was the latest in a string of recent group arrests of suspected gay men.
The men are likely to be tried under Muslim law on charges related to adultery and prostitution, Interior Ministry spokesman Issam Azouri told the Associated Press.
But, it is not clear if those arrested were all gay men or if some were transsexuals.   The transgendered have no legal recognition in the Emirates and sexual minorities in the region are often lumped into one category, homosexual.
Azouri told the AP that police, acting on a tip, raided a hotel in Ghantout, a desert region on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, and found a dozen men dressed as female brides and a dozen others in male Arab dress.
"It was a real party with balloons and champagne,'' he said.
The 26 men arrested include those from the Emirates as well as an Indian disc jockey and three men from neighboring Arab states.   One of the arrested was to perform the wedding ceremony.   Azouri said some of the group told police they worked as prostitutes.   Others had been arrested before.
Last year, police made mass arrests at another event, also described by authorities as a gay wedding in the conservative emirate of Sharjah and at the Khor Fakkan beach resort in Fujairah emirate, a police official told the Associated Press.
Two dozen men arrested in Sharjah were given symbolic lashings - meant to humiliate, not inflict pain - and then released from jail, said prominent Emirati lawyer Abdul Hamid al-Kumaiti.
Azouri described the arrests in Ghantout as a ``delicate'' matter made public for the first time — more than a week after the event _ because the country's tribal leadership wants to demonstrate it will not tolerate open homosexuality.
On Friday, as newspapers reported the arrests, the minister of justice and Islamic affairs, Mohammed bin Nukhaira Al Dhahiri, called on parents to be vigilant for ``deviant'' behavior in their children.
"There will be no room for homosexual...acts in the UAE,'' Al Dhahiri was quoted as saying in the Dubai-based Khaleej Times newspaper.
Homosexuality is banned in the Emirates.   The Arabian peninsula, nevertheless, has a long tradition of openly homosexual wedding singers and dancers.
``Lately people have been talking about (homosexuality), but it has been here for a long time,'' said Nadia Buhannad, a Dubai psychologist.   ``It becomes shocking only when it is your own son.''
``There are so many others like these guys,'' al-Kumaiti said.   ``The police and rulers need to do more than just lash them and let them go.''
The arrested men have been questioned by police and were undergoing psychological evaluations Saturday.   Azouri said the Interior Ministry's department of social support would try "to direct the men away from homosexual behavior", including treatment with male hormones.
February 11, 2006
by Newscenter Staff
UAE Sentences 26 Gays To 5 Years In Prison
(Abu Dhabi)   Twenty-six men arrested at what police in the United Arab Emirates called a "gay wedding" have been sentenced each to five years in prison.
The men were charged with homosexuality, a crime under Sharia law, although police acknowledged that non of the men were engaged in a sexual act when police raided the event.
Press reports from the capital say that the men did not deny being gay, although some of the accused reportedly identify as transgendered.
Lawyers familiar with the case say the sentences are likely to be appealed.
Police, acting on a tip, raided a hotel in Ghantout, a desert region on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway last November, and found what they descried as a dozen men dressed as female brides and a dozen others in male Arab dress.
The case attracted worldwide attention when an Interior Ministry employee told reporters that the accused could be forced by the government to receive male hormone shots.
Esam Azouri told reporters at the time that a Sharia court could impose male hormone treatments "to direct the men away from homosexual behavior", five years in jail and a lashing.
In handing down its sentence Friday the court did not mention either hormone injections or lashings.
In 2005 UAE police made mass arrests at another event, also described by authorities as a gay wedding in the conservative emirate of Sharjah and at the Khor Fakkan beach resort in Fujairah emirate.
Two dozen men arrested in Sharjah were given symbolic lashings and then released from jail.
Sharia courts which uphold strict Islamic law have a history of imposing harsh sentences.
The exiled Iranian gay rights group, Homan, claims the Iranian government has executed at least 4,000 gays since 1979.
In Nigeria a number of men accused of gay sex acts have been sentenced to death by stoning.
© 2005, 2006
Gay plea to halt deporting of Iranian
Sunday August 21, 2005
Jamie Doward, social affairs editor
The Observer
Charles Clarke is being urged to intervene to stop a gay asylum seeker from being sent back to Iran, his home country, where three homosexuals have been executed in the past month.
The gay rights group Stonewall has written to the Home Secretary saying it has profound concerns about what will happen to the 29-year-old man if he is sent back to Iran.   The group also called for the resignation of the judge who approved the man's removal.   Stonewall said John Freeman's language could raise fears parts of the judiciary were 'institutionally homophobic'.
The Iranian man, who has not been named, was told he was due to be removed from the UK last month.   His lawyers are now appealing.   He claims he fled the country after a friend, who was also gay, was arrested by the Iranian authorities, who seized a video of the pair kissing.   Freeman ruled that there was no evidence the video existed and that the man's removal would not put him at risk on his return.
But his impending removal comes soon after the executions of two gay teenagers.   In July, 16-year-old Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were hanged in Edalat Square in the north-eastern city of Mashhad.   The authorities claimed the pair had raped a 13-year-old boy, a claim contested by human rights groups.   The Observer has also been informed by underground activists that another gay man was executed in the city of Arak on 16 August.
The exiled Iranian gay rights group, Homan, claims the Iranian government has executed at least 4,000 homosexuals since 1979.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, said he was disturbed by a number of key words used by Freeman when giving his written reasons for approving the asylum seeker's removal.
One passage written by Freeman reads: 'He [the asylum seeker] says he fled when he realised a member of his coterie had been arrested by them, apparently leaving an incriminating video in their hands, showing unseemly activity on the part of this appellant and others.'
Institutional homophobia
Freeman also refers to the appellant 'engaging in buggery' and describes the appellant's sexuality as a 'predilection'.   'Inevitably this sort of language will plant a seed of suspicion in the public mind that the fairness of the immigration appeals system may be affected by some institutional homophobia,' Summerskill said.   'I am shocked that this sort of language is still being used in 2005.'
In the UK at least two gay asylum seekers are known to have committed suicide before being sent back to Iran.   Hussein Nasseri, 26, was found dead from a gunshot wound in July — two weeks after his asylum claim was refused.   Hussein, who was homosexual, fled from Iran in March 2000 after being imprisoned for three months for his sexuality.   Friends said he feared he would be executed in Iran.
In September 2003, Israfil Shiri, a destitute Iranian asylum seeker, died six days after pouring petrol over his body and setting himself alight in the offices of a refugee charity in Manchester.   He had fled Iran after the authorities obtained documented evidence of his sexuality.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
The Dangers of Being Young, Gay and Iranian
By Doug Ireland   September 27, 2005
A torture victim provides a frightening first-hand account of the Islamic Republic of Iran's extensive anti-gay crackdown.
Amir is a 22-year-old gay Iranian who was arrested by Iran's morality police as part of a massive Internet entrapment campaign targeting gays, beaten and tortured while in custody, threatened with death, and lashed 100 times.
He escaped from Iran in August, and is now in Turkey, where he awaits a grant of asylum by a gay-friendly country.
In a two-hour telephone interview from Turkey, Amir — through a native Persian translator — provided a terrifying, first-hand account of the Islamic Republic of Iran's intense and extensive anti-gay crackdown, which swept up Amir and made him its victim.
Here is Amir's story.
Amir is from Shiraz, a city of more than a million people in southwestern Iran that the Shah tried to make "the Paris of Iran" in the 1960s and 1970s, attracting a not insignificant gay population and making the city a favorite vacation spot for Iranian gays.
But, after the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, Shiraz was targeted as a symbol of taaghoot, or decadence.
Amir's father was killed by a gas attack in the Iran-Iraq war in 1987, becoming — in the Islamic Republic's official parlance — a "martyr," whose surviving family thus had the right to special benefits and treatment from the state.
Amir, who grew up with his mother, an older brother, and two sisters, said, "I've known I was gay since I was about five or six — I always preferred to play with girls.
I had my first sexual experience with a man when I was 13.
But nobody in my family knew I was gay."
Amir's first arrest for being gay occurred two years ago.  "I was at a private gay party, about 25 young people there, all of us close friends," he recalled.  "One of the kids, Ahmed Reza — whose father was a colonel in the intelligence services, and who was known to the police to be gay — snitched on us, and alerted the authorities this private party was going to happen.  Ahmed waited until everyone was there, then called the Office for Promotion of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice, headed in Shiraz by Colonel Safaniya, who a few minutes later raided the party.  The door opened, and the cops swarmed in, insulting us — screaming 'who's the bottom?  Who's the top?'  and beating us, led by Colonel Javanmardi.  When someone tried to stop them beating up the host of the party, they were hit with pepper spray.  One of our party was a transsexual — the cops slapped her face so hard they busted her eardrum and she wound up in hospital.  Ahmed Reza, the gay snitch, was identifying everyone as the cops beat us up.  The cops took sheets, ripped them up, and blindfolded us, threw us into a van, and took us to a holding cell in Interior Ministry headquarters — they knew us all by name."
Iranians live in fear of the Interior Ministry, which has a reputation like that of the former Soviet KGB's domestic bureau, and whose prisons strike terror in people's hearts the way the infamous Lubianka in Moscow did.
"I was the third person to be interrogated," Amir said.  "The cops had seized videos taken at the party, in one of which I was reciting a poem.  The cops told me to recite it again.  'What poem?'  I said.  They began beating me in the head and face.  When I tried to deny I was gay, they took off my shoes and began beating the soles of my feet with cables.  The pain was excruciating.  I was still blindfolded.  They had found dildos in the house where the party was-they beat me with them, stuffed them in my mouth.  When I told them my father was a martyr [of the Iran-Iraq war] they beat me up even more, and harder.  They took away my card [entitling Amir to martyr's benefits] and said they'd tell the local university, where I was studying computers."
Amir said that, at the same time, "They went to my house, seized my computer, found online homoerotic pictures of guys in it, and showed them to my mother.  That's how mother found out I was gay.  Eventually I was tried and fined 100,000 tomens [or about $120, a large sum in Iran].  At the time he fined me, the judge told me that 'if we send you to a physician who vouches that your rectum has been penetrated in any way, you will be sentenced to death.'"
Most of the anti-gay crackdown, Amir said, is conducted by the basiji, a sort of unofficial para-police under the authority of the hard-line Revolutionary Guards (called Pasdaran in Persian.)  It is the basiji — thugs recruited from the criminal classes and the lumpen unemployed — who are assigned to be agents provocateurs, and are given the violent dirty work, so the regime can claim it wasn't officially responsible.  For example, during recent university strikes and demonstrations, it was the basiji who were charged with the defenestrations and the vicious beatings of rebellious students.
A year after his first arrest, an unrepentant Amir was in a Yahoo gay chat room on the Web.  "Someone came into the chat room and started messaging me, but I told him he wasn't my type and gave him a description of the kind of guy I was looking to meet," Amir recalled.  "A few minutes later, another guy started messaging me.  We exchanged pix, and he sent me his Web page right away — and he matched exactly all the descriptions I'd sent to the previous guy.  It turned out later both guys were police agents, they had so many they could come up with one who matched the personal preferences of any gay guy in the chat rooms.
"With this second guy, I was really excited, and we made a date for that afternoon at a phone booth near Bagh-e-Safa Bridge.  When I got there, we started to walk away to talk and get to know each other.  But within 30 seconds, I felt a hand laid on my shoulder from behind — it was an undercover agent in regular clothes, whose name turned out to be Ali Panahi.  With two other basiji, he handcuffed me, forced me into a car, and took me back to the Intelligence Ministry headquarters, a very scary place.  There, I denied that I was gay, and denied that this had been a gay rendezvous — but they showed me a printout from the chat room of my messages and my pix."
Then, said Amir, the torture began.  "There was a metal chair in the middle of the room — they put a gas flame under the chair, and made me sit on it as the metal seat got hotter and hotter.  They threatened to send me to an army barracks where all the soldiers were going to rape me.  There was a soft drink bottle sitting on a table — Ali Panahi told one of the other basiji to take the bottle and shove it up my ass, screaming, 'This will teach you not to want any more cock!' I was so afraid of sitting in that metal chair as it got hotter and hotter that I confessed.  Then they brought out my file, and told me that I was a 'famous faggot' in Shiraz.  They beat me up so badly that I passed out, and was thrown, unconscious, into a holding cell.  When I came to, I saw there were several dozen other gay guys in the cell with me.  One of them told me that, after they had taken him in, they beat him and forced him to set up dates with people through chat rooms-and each one of those people had been arrested, those were the other people in that cell with me.
"We were eventually all taken to court, and cross-examined.  The judge sentenced four of us, including me, to public flogging.  The news was printed all over the newspapers that a group of homosexuals had been arrested, with our names.  I got 100 lashes — I passed out before the 100 lashes were over.  When I woke up, my arms and legs were so numb that I fell over when they picked me up from the platform on which I'd been lashed.  They had told me that, if I screamed, they will beat me even harder — so I was biting my arms so hard, to keep from screaming, that I left deep teeth wounds in my own arms."
After this entrapment and public flogging, Amir's life became unbearable — he was rousted regularly at his home by the basiji and by agents of the Office for Promotion of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice (which represses "moral deviance" — things such as boys and girls walking around holding hands, women not wearing proper Islamic dress or wearing makeup, same-sex relations, and prostitution).
But after the hangings of two gay teens in the city of Mashad in July of this year — and the worldwide protests that followed those hangings — Amir said that things got even worse for him and other Iranian gays.  Amir was under continual surveillance, harassed, and threatened.
"After the Mashad incident, the visits from the authorities would become an almost daily occurrence," he said.  "They would come to my house and threaten me.  They knew everything about everything I did, about everywhere I went.  They would tell me exactly what I had done each and every time I had left the house.  It had gotten to the point where I was starting to suspect my own friends of spying on me.
"On one of these visits, Ali Panahi — the one who'd arrested me the last time — grabbed me by the hair and asked me if I'd suck his cock if he asked me to.  One of my friends was raped by Ali Panahi, who fucked my friend in exchange for letting him go without a record.  They would arrest me all the time, take me in for questioning in the middle of the day.  When I left the house, they'd hassle me, ask me if I was going to go looking for dick, and tell me not to leave my house and to keep off the streets.
"In one of these arrests, Colonel Javanmardi told me that if they catch me again that I would be put to death, 'just like the boys in Mashad.'  He said it just like that, very simply, very explicitly.  He didn't mince his words.  We all know that the boys who were hanged in Mashad were gay-the rape charges against them were trumped up, just like the charges of theft and kidnapping against them.  When you get arrested, you are forced by beatings, torture, and threats to confess to crimes you didn't commit.  It happens all the time, it happened to friends of mine.  I could not get a job because of my case history.  Since I was obviously gay I couldn't get a job anywhere, and could not get a government job because of my record."
By the last time the cops came to his house, Amir had decided to try to leave the country.  "I invented an excuse, and told them I had to go to Tehran to take my higher university entrance exams," Amir said.  "I already had a passport from three years ago.  In Tehran I borrowed a little money from a friend and came to Turkey by bus.  At the border, I really lucked out-I was terrified because I had a record, and not enough money to get out or pay a bribe."
But indolent border guards didn't bother to check on him-they just took his passport, stamped it, and let him leave.  That, said Amir, was about a month ago.
When asked what message he wants to send to the world about what's happening in Iran, and what he thinks about his own future, Amir paused, then said: "The situation of gays in Iran is dreadful.  We have no rights at all.  They would beat me up and tell me to confess to things I hadn't done, and I would do it.  The gays and lesbians in Iran are under unbelievable pressure-they need help, they need outside intervention.  Things are really bad.  Really bad.  We are constantly harassed in public, walking down the street, going to the store, going home… anywhere and anywhere, everyone, everyone! One of my dear friends, Nima, commited suicide a month ago in Shiraz.  He just couldn't take it anymore.
"I don't know what's going to happen to me.  I've run out of money.  I don't know what to do.  I just hope they don't send me back to Iran.  They'll kill me there."
Doug Ireland writes the blog, Direland. Dr. Houman Sarshar contributed translation and research assistance in the preparation of this article.
© 2005 Independent Media Institute.   All rights reserved.
September 26, 2005
Turkey last week initiated legal action to ban its leading gay organization, Kaos GL (whose website has an English-language section.)
And the oldest Turkish gay group,
Lambda Istanbul — which this year sponsored a Gay Pride March in Istanbul (at right) that drew 150 participants — may soon find itself targeted as well.
Selahattin Ekremoglu, deputy governor of the Turkish capital Ankara, on September 15 wrote a letter to the gay and lesbian group Kaos GL that said a court procedure had been opened to dissolve the organization.
He claimed that the name and regulations of the group violated a provision in the Turkish Civil Code that forbids "establishing any organization that is against the laws and principles of morality."
This government ukase contradicts the long Turkish literary gay tradition — notably in the
divan poetry much admired in the Ottoman Empire of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries from poets like Hafiz and Muhammed Ibn Hassan Al Nawaji  — of which the openly gay Turkish poet-novelist-scenarist Murathan Murgan is the most prominent modern inheritor.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association denounced the move to shut down Kaos GL last week in a statement, and today Human Rights Watch issued a similar protest.
"Turkey has a long record of suppressing civil society and harassing human rights defenders," said Scott Long, director of
HRW's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project.
"This dangerous new move shows that old habits die hard, and calls into question recent advances in rights protections."
Kaos GL Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Organization is an 11-year-old, Ankara-based collective that operates
a drop-in center providing social and cultural support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The group also advocates for measures to end discrimination and violence, and it publishes
a magazine (cover below right) that has been registered as a legal publication since 1999.
On July 15, Kaos GL applied to the Ministry of Interior for recognition as a nongovernmental organization.
The ministry initially approved the request, but the Ankara deputy governor, who reports to the Interior Ministry, has now responded by launching a lawsuit to close the organization.
"Sweeping references to 'morality' in the Turkish Civil Code still offer a pretext for discrimination and abuse of basic rights," said Long.
"Equal protection doesn't include exclusion for sexual orientation or gender identity."
Turkey has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects freedoms of expression and association and also forbids discrimination on the basis of sex.
In 1994 the U.N. Human Rights Committee held that "sexual orientation" was a status protected against discrimination by the treaty.
Turkey has also ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which affirms freedoms of expression and association.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in a succession of cases.
In a briefing paper on Turkey's progress toward admission to the European Union, Human Rights Watch last year said that, "The government continues to ease the restrictions on associations by small degrees."
However, the paper also noted, "for organizations viewed with suspicion by the authorities, including human rights organizations, day-to-day life feels like life under a police state: annual meetings and press conferences are often monitored by plain clothes police officers toting video cameras, while local prosecutors maintain a hail of litigation."
The Turkish tourist industry harvests a lot of Western and gay tourist dollars each year.
That's why an effective way to protest is to write to Ambassador O. Faruk Logoglu (right), Embassy of the Turkish Republic, 2525 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008, — and, whether you're gay or straight, tell Ambassador Logoglu that you won't visit Turkey as a tourist and spend your money there until it stops its anti-gay actions like its move to shut down Kaos GL.

Iran Executes Two Gay Teens In Public Hanging
LONDON, July 21 – Two gay teenagers were publicly executed in Iran on 19 July 2005 for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality.   The youths were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north east Iran.   They were sentenced to death by Court No. 19.
Iran enforces Islamic Sharia law, which dictates the death penalty for gay sex.
One youth was aged 18 and the other was a minor under the age of 18.   They were only identified by their initials, M.A. and A.M.
They admitted – probably under torture, London-based gay human rights group Outrage! suggests – to having gay sex but claimed in their defence that most young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death.
Prior to their execution, the teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes.
Their length of detention suggests that they committed the so-called offences more than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the age of 16.
Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer of the youngest boy (under 18), had appealed that he was too young to be executed and that the court should take into account his young age (believed to be 16 or 17).   But the Supreme Court in Tehran ordered him to be hanged.
Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged.
Three other young gay Iranians are being hunted by the police, but they have gone into hiding and cannot be found.   If caught, they will also face execution.
News of the two executions was reported by ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on 19 July.
A later news story by Iran In Focus, allegedly based on this original ISNA report, claimed the youths were executed for sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy.   But the ISNA report does not mention any sexual assault.
A report of the executions on the website of the respected democratic opposition movement, The National Council of Resistance Of Iran, also makes no reference to a sexual assault.
The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths, a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran.
Or, Outrage! suggests, it may be that the 13 year old was a willing participant but that Iranian law (like UK law) deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault.
If the 13 year old was sexually assaulted, why was he not identified and also put on trial (under Iranian law both the victims and perpetrators of sexual crimes are punished)?
Full story in Farsi from ISNA, with three photographs can be seen at
“This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” said Peter Tatchell of the London-based gay human rights group OutRage!
“The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.
“According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.
“Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule.   The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government.
“Last August, a 16 year old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged for ‘acts incompatible with chasity.’
“Britain’s Labour government is pursuing friendly relations with this murderous regime, including aid and trade.   We urge the international community to treat Iran as a pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran,” said Tatchell.
Outrage! Is calling for world-wide urgent action and asks that you protest to the Iranian Ambassador at the Embassy in your country.   In addition, Outrage! asks that you also press your government to take urgent action against Iran.
Last week in Nigeria, Yusuf Kabir (40) and 18-year-old Usman Sani appeared before Judge Mustapha Sani Saulawa at Katsina’s Sharia Court Number Three charged with committing sodomy.   The hearing was adjourned until early August.   If convicted, the pair could face death by stoning.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported from Nigeria that a 50 years-old man had been sentenced to death by stoning after admitting to a judge that he had had homosexual sex.   This was immediately after the court had found him not guilty of having sex with a teenage boy.
Iran Majlis deputies endorse execution of minor
Tehran, Iran, Jul. 20 — Members of Iran’s parliament from the north-eastern city of Mashad, where a minor and an 18-year-old man were publicly hanged yesterday, vented their anger on Wednesday on foreign and domestic news outlets for reporting the ages of hanged prisoners.
Ultra-conservative deputy Ali Asgari said that the two deserved to be hanged in public, adding, “Whatever sentence is decreed by an Islamic penal system must be approved, unless proven otherwise”.
Asgari complained of foreign and domestic reporting that the two were mere boys.   “Instead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion that harms the interests of the state”, the member of the Majlis Legal Affairs Committee said.
“Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists should not pursue this.   These individuals were corrupt.   Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right.”
Effat Shariati, another Majlis deputy from Mashad, told a state-run news agency on Wednesday, “The issue of the age of the convicts is created by those who are causing problems for our country”.
The two young men were lashed 228 times before being hanged at 10 am (local time) on Tuesday in Edalat (Justice) Square in downtown Mashad.
      Iran Focus Wed. 20 Jul 2005      
Mahmoud Asgari (left) and an unidentified youth are set to be hanged, in Mashhad, Iran.

Iran is one of only five countries to continue executing juveniles
Iran is one of only five countries to continue executing juveniles
Thursday, 28 July, 2005
Iran 'must stop youth executions'
By Steven Eke
BBC News
Mahmoud Asgari (left) and an unidentified youth are set to be hanged, in Mashhad, Iran

Iran is one of only five countries to continue executing juveniles

Image: TVE
Iran is one of only five countries to continue executing juveniles
A US-based human rights organisation has called on Iran to end the execution of juvenile offenders.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Iran was in breach of international agreements it had signed up to.
The call follows last week's public hanging of two youths convicted of still unclear sexual offences.
Iran insists the youths were convicted of raping a younger boy.   However gay rights organisations say the youths were executed for being homosexual.
'Inhumane punishment'
The case has had considerable global resonance.
Leading European and US gay organisations and publications have already launched letter-writing protest campaigns, and plan to hold demonstrations outside Iranian embassies over the coming weeks.
In a statement issued on Thursday, HRW said Iran was one of only five countries to continue executing juveniles and called for an end to what it called an inhumane punishment.
The Iranian judiciary has reacted angrily to the international outrage surrounding the public hanging of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, whom rights activists claim were aged 16 and 18.
Officials said they had been sentenced to whipping and hanging for rape, drinking alcohol and disturbing public order, and deserved the punishment they got.
Rare, close-up pictures of the execution were rapidly published on the internet.   In them, officials can be seen placing nooses around the necks of the two obviously distressed, young men.
Public executions are not unusual in Iran but the execution of juveniles often attracts international opprobrium.
The case has been adopted as a cause celebre by gay rights groups.
They say the majority of media reports suggest the official charges were fabricated to reduce any public sympathy for the youths and that the real reason was the youths' sexual orientation.
Homosexuality is illegal in almost all Muslim countries, and punishable by death in many of them.
But gay and human rights groups say Iran's record is particularly shocking, having executed possibly thousands of gay men since the Islamic revolution.
Laureate Condemns Hanging of Iranian Boys
Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi Saturday condemned the execution of two under-18 boys in northeastern Iran.
Last week's hangings of an 18-year-old and 16-year-old on charges of involvement in homosexual acts violated Iran's obligations under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans such executions, Ebadi said.
Ebadi said her Center for the Protection of Human Rights will intensify its fight against Iran's executions of minors.
"My calls for a law clearly banning execution of under-18s has fallen on deaf ears so far but I will not give up the fight," Ebadi told The Associated Press.
Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were hanged publicly July 19 in the city of Mashhad on charges of raping younger boys.   They said before their executions that they were not aware that homosexual acts were punishable by death.
Asgari had been accused of raping a 13-year-old boy.   His lawyer, Rohollah Razaz Zadeh, said Iranian courts are supposed to commute death sentences handed to children to five years in jail.
"The judiciary has trampled its own laws," Razaz Zadeh told the AP.
But the lawyer said Iran's Supreme Court upheld the verdict and allowed the execution despite his objections.
Gay rights groups, such as the London-based Outrage!, and Iranian opposition groups suggested the rape allegations were trumped-up charges aimed to undermine public sympathy for the teenagers.
Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, has campaigned to protect the rights of children and improve human rights in Iran but has met stiff resistance from the judiciary, which is controlled by hard-liners.
The Iranian government last year refused to give Ebadi permission to stage a rally to protest children's executions.
Under Iranian law, girls older than 9 and boys older than 15 face execution if they commit crimes such as murder and rape.   Under certain conditions, capital punishment is imposed for those engaging in illegal sexual relations.
In 2003, a 16-year-old girl said to be suffering from a psychological disorder was executed in Neka, a town in northern Iran, on charges of having an illegal sexual relationship.
While there are no official figures on death sentences given to minors, human rights activists say about a dozen were executed in Iran last year.
      AP/Online Edition of The Courier    July 23. 2005      
Ahmadinejad demonstrations outside the United Nations.

Photo: Aljazzera/Gallo/Getty
Ahmadinejad demonstrations outside the United Nations
Photo: Aljazzera/Gallo/Getty
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Ahmadinejad's message to the world
By Mark LeVine
It was quite a week for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.
First he faced down the president of Columbia University and a host of hostile questioners in Harlem.
Then he headed down to Midtown Manhattan, where for 45 minutes he held the world's attention at the United Nations, before heading farther south, to Caracas, Venezuela, for talks with his close ally, President Hugo Chavez.
Local papers, such as the Daily News and The New York Post, featured headlines announcing that "The Evil has Landed" and lambasting the "Mad Iran Prez" for his past denials of the Holocaust, refusal to unequivocally renounce a quest for nuclear weapons, and call to have Israel "wiped off the map."
So much nonsense in one phony man
Not to mention the Orwellian lies he spewed
(An inaccurate translation of the Persian "bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad," which is better — but less violently and therefore less usefully — rendered in English as "erased from the page of time" or "fate").
Even Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, introduced him with an unprecedented — and to the minds of many academics, not to mention Iranians, uncouth — verbal attack, accusing him of being little more than a "petty dictator".
[Ignorance, not to mention a knee-bending pandering to the elite, sadly has become the most prominent feature of University Presidents in the waxing fascist state that now is the US, a practice now copied by many teachers of academics in Western countries - Kewe]
In its critiques of Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia, the mainstream US press focused most of its attention on Ahmadinejad's tendentious claim that "there are no homosexuals in Iran" (belied by an evening stroll through Tehran's famous Daneshjoo Park), and his attempt to redefine his position on the Holocaust (it happened, but more research is needed to know its true extent).
At the UN, his criticism of "widespread human rights violations" elicited the expected derisive response in light of his own government's increasingly repressive policies, while his declaration that the nuclear case against Iran "is closed" suggested, to most commentators, continued intransigence by Iran in the face of supposedly universal opposition to its nuclear programme.
Students protest, but not at Columbia at their stupid University President, the protest is in Tehran, at Ahmadinejad
The President of the country has a history of going to the university and getting booed (by the children of the rich Iranian elite)
Send in the police goons to taser the students?
Unknown in Iran today
Discourteous treatment'
Few commentators considered how Ahmadinejad's words were heard outside of the US media circus.
And those who did, such as Timothy Rutton of the LA Times, focused purely on the reaction in the Muslim world, arguing that, as a "totalitarian demagogue", Ahmadinejad gained legitimacy because of the discourteous treatment by Columbia's president.
Rutton wrote: "Bollinger's denunciation was icing on the cake, because the constituency the Iranian leader cares about is scattered across an Islamic world that values hospitality and its courtesies as core social virtues."
"To that audience, Bollinger looked stunningly ill-mannered; Ahmadinejad dignified and restrained."
Underlying Rutton's argument is the still-widespread belief, whose roots lie deep in Europe and America's histories as imperial powers, that Muslims and the other formerly colonised peoples value "honour", "pride" and "hospitality" far more than they do issues of substance.
Indeed, they remain incapable of making well-reasoned and documented criticisms of a West, and the United States in particular, that remains by definition technologically, politically, and morally superior to the developing world.
'Poverty and deprivation'
It's no wonder, then, that almost no one in the American media focused on the substantive claims of Ahmadinejad's speech at the UN.
Chief among them were his argument regarding the "alarming situation of poverty and deprivation".
"Let me draw your attention to some data issued by the United Nations," he said, before calling to the attention of the world's leaders the fact that close to one billion people live on less than $1-a-day and that there is a rapidly increasing gap between the world's rich and poor.
He mentioned the continued disgraceful figures for infant mortality, schooling and related human development indicators in the developing world.
Perhaps wanting to be courteous, Ahmadinejad blamed "certain big powers" for the plight of a large share of humanity — he might have added that according to UN estimates almost half the world lives on less than $2 per day.
But he didn't need to name names; most of the developing world, including the Muslim world, share his belief that their plight is linked to a world economic system whose goal, for more than half a millennium, has been to exploit the peoples and resources of the rest of the world for the benefit of the more advanced countries of the West.
Students protest at the Presidents visit to Tehran University
(Protest by the children of the rich Iranian elite, unhappy small portions of the family wealth is being transferred to the poorer populations)
Discourteous treatment
That is precisely why so many people in the developing world remain opposed to Western-sponsored globalisation, which for most critics, including in the Arab/Muslim world, is little more than imperialism dressed up in the rhetoric of "free markets" and "liberal democracy".
It is this much wider audience, from the favelas of Rio De Janeiro and the shanty towns of Lagos as much as the slums of Casablanca, Sadr City or Cairo, to whom Ahmadinejad was speaking.
His discourse was strikingly similar to that of his biggest ally, Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, who in his speech before the assembly last year had fewer qualms (perhaps because he's neither Arab nor Muslim) about pointing fingers at whom he considers responsible for the sorry shape of so much of the world.
Hoisting Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival above his head, he exclaimed that "the hegemonic pretensions of US imperialism ... put at risk the very survival of humankind".
America, not Iran, Chavez argued, is "the greatest threat looming over our planet".
The Ahmadinejad-Chavez axis has been compared by American politicians such as Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack to the relationship between Fidel Castro and Russia.
Such analogies are far off the mark.
A more accurate historical comparison would be to the relationship between Egypt's Gemal Abdel Nasser and India's Jawaharlal Nehru, when both came together at the Bandung conference in 1955 to attempt to build a coherent bloc of nations that could protect its interests against those of the two major superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union.
'Human underdogs'
Writing after attending the Bandung Conference, the American novelist Richard Wright exclaimed that it was a meeting of "the despised, the insulted, the hurt, the dispossessed - in short, the underdogs of the human race".
It was this shared experience of oppression that grounded the "Bandung Spirit", which leaders such as Nasser used to develop the "pan-" ideologies (-Arab, -African, -American, -Islamic) that proved a thorn in the side of US policymakers for much of the Cold war.
The difference between Chavez and Ahmadinejad and their "Third World" predecessors, is, in a word, oil.
'Courteous treatment'
— that's how you do it, Columbia
Iran and Venezuela possess the third- and seventh-largest oil reserves in the world, totaling well over 200 billion barrels — that's not much less than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia.
The two countries will earn well over $80bn in revenues this year alone.
As important, both countries possess non-oil sectors that are surprisingly robust, according to many estimates, for the majority of both Iran's and Venezuela's Gross Domestic Product.
This provides both countries with billions of dollars to spend on foreign aid, as demonstrated by Ahmadinejad's stopover in Bolivia, where he pledged $1bn in Iranian aid and development to the poverty stricken country.
US policymakers' view of the world through the "you're either with us or against us" prism divides the globe into those who support the US and Europe (and the "West" more broadly), and those who support al-Qaeda and "Islamofascism", a term which has been created precisely to ensure that Americans conflate Osama bin Laden with Ahmadinejad, and both with Hitler.
But few people outside of the West buy this comparison, or the larger black-and-white world-view it reflects.
Instead, in Africa and Latin America, Ahmadenijad's argument that "humanity has had a deep wound on its tired body caused by impious powers for centuries" resonates far more deeply than George Bush's hollow-sounding calls for democracy and "ending tyranny".
Colonial rule
The West advises Africa to "get over" colonialism, but the pain of colonial rule is still felt by those suffering under the policies imposed by the IMF and/or the World Bank, or from the continued subsidisation of American and European agribusiness while their countries are flooded with below-market wheat, soy or corn.
It is to those people whom Ahmadinejad promised — in language that strikingly mirrors US President Bush's often religiously-hued speeches — that "the era of darkness will end" with the "dawn of the liberation of, and freedom for, all humans".
Americans may not like Ahmadinejad's or Chavez's internal politics, ideological orientations, or foreign policies.
But for most of the third world, which is tired of centuries of domination by the West, the two leaders are a breath of fresh air, who are coming not as conquerors, but as comrades.
They are free of the condescending "civilising mission" that, from Napoleon's invasion of Egypt to the US invasion of Iraq, always seem to include war, occupation, and the appropriation of strategic natural resources under foreign control as part of their mandate.
And because of this, most of the citizens of the developing world, rightly or wrongly, couldn't care less about Ahmadinejad's positions on Israel, the Holocaust, and nuclear weapons, never mind homosexuals, none of which affect them directly.
They care only that he is sticking-it-to their old colonial or Cold war masters, and offering "respect", "friendship" and billions of dollars in aid with no strings attached.
Americans, Europeans and Israelis can fret about it all they want, but it will not change this reality.
Only a reorientation of the world economy towards real sustainability and equality will dampen his appeal, and that's not likely to happen soon.
Which means that Americans will be hearing a lot more of Ahmadinejad and leaders like him in the future.
The question is, will they be listening?
Subtitles, captions, added by
TEHRAN — Speaking of business as unusual.
A mere two months ago, the news of a China-Kazakhstan pipeline agreement, worth US$3.5 billion, raised some eyebrows in the world press, some hinting that China's economic foreign policy may be on the verge of a new leap forward.
A clue to the fact that such anticipation may have totally understated the case was last week's signing of a mega-gas deal between Beijing and Tehran worth $100 billion.
Billed as the "deal of century" by various commentators, this agreement is likely to increase by another $50 billion to $100 billion, bringing the total close to $200 billion, when a similar oil agreement, currently being negotiated, is inked not too far from now.
The gas deal entails the annual export of some 10 million tons of Iranian liquefied natural gas (LNG) for a 25-year period, as well as the participation, by China's state oil company, in such projects as exploration and drilling, petrochemical and gas industries, pipelines, services and the like.
The export of LNG requires special cargo ships, however, and Iran is currently investing several billion dollars adding to its small LNG-equipped fleet.
Still, per the admission of the head of the Iranian Tanker Co, Mohammad Souri, Iran needed to purchase another 87 vessels by 2010, in addition to the 10 already purchased, in order to fulfill the needs of its growing LNG market.
Iran has an estimated 26.6-trillion-cubic-meter gas reservoir, the second-largest in the world, about half of which is in offshore zones and the other half onshore.
It is perhaps too early to digest fully the various economic, political and even geostrategic implications of this stunning development, widely considered a major blow to the Bush administration's economic sanctions on Iran and particularly on Iran's energy sector, notwithstanding the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) penalizing foreign companies daring to invest more than $20 million in Iran's oil and gas industry.
While it is unclear what the scope of China's direct investment in Iran's energy sector will turn out to be, it is fairly certain that China's participation in the Yad Avaran field alone will exceed the ILSA's ceiling; this field's oil reservoir is estimated to be 17 billion barrels and is capable of producing 300 to 400 barrels per day.
And this is besides the giant South Pars field, which Iran shares with Qatar, alone possessing close to 8% of the world's gas reserves.
Iran applying
for church to
become a
World Heritage
To open a parenthesis here, until now Tehran has been complaining that Qatar has been outpacing Iran in exploiting its resource 6-1.
In fact, Iran's unhappiness over Qatar's unbalanced access to the South Pars led to a discrete warning by Iran's deputy oil minister and, soon thereafter, Qatar complied with Iran's request for a joint "technical committee" that has yet to yield any result.
For a United States increasingly pointing at China as the next biggest challenge to its Pax Americana, the Iran-China energy cooperation cannot but be interpreted as an ominous sign of emerging new trends in an area considered vital to US national interests.
But, then again, this cuts both ways, that is, the deal should, logically speaking, stimulate others who may still consider Iran untrustworthy or too radical to enter into big projects on a long term basis.
Iran's biggest foreign agreement prior to this gas agreement with China was a long-term $25 billion gas deal with Turkey, which has encountered snags, principally over the price, recently, compared with Iran's various trade agreements with Spain, Italy and others, typically with a life-span of five to seven years.
Thus some Iranian officials are hopeful that the China deal can lead to a fundamental rethinking of the risks of doing business with Iran on the part of European countries, India, Japan, and even Russia.
Concerning India, which signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran initially in 1993 for a 2,670-kilometer pipeline, with more than 700km traversing Pakistani territory, the Iran-China deal will undoubtedly give a greater push to New Delhi to follow Beijing's lead and thus make sure that the "peace pipeline" is finally implemented.
The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to Russia, which has as of late been dragging its feet somewhat on Iran's nuclear reactor, bandwagoning with the US and Group of Eight (G8) countries on the thorny issue of Iran's uranium-enrichment program.
The Russians must now factor in the possibility of being supplanted by China if they lose the confidence of Tehran and appear willing to trade favors with Washington over Iran. Russia's Gazprom may now finally set aside its stubborn resistance to the idea of entering major joint ventures with Iran.
Iran appears more and more interested to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and form a powerful axis with its twin pillars, China and Russia, as a counterweight to a US power "unchained".
The SCO comprises China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
China, Russia and Iran share deep misgivings about the perception of the United States as a "benevolent hegemon" and tend to see a "rogue superpower" instead.
Even short of joining forces formally, the main outlines of such an axis can be discerned from their convergence of threat perception due to, among other things, Russia's disquiet over the post-September 11, 2001, US incursions in its traditional Caucasus-Central Asian "turf", and China's continuing unease over the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan; this is not to mention China's fixed gaze at a "new Silk Road" allowing it unfettered access to the Middle East and Eurasia, this as part and parcel of what is often billed as "the new great game" in Eurasia.
Indeed, what China's recent deals with both Kazakhstan (pertaining to Caspian energy) and Iran (pertaining to Persian Gulf resources) signifies is that the pundits had gotten it wrong until now: the purview of the new great game is not limited to the Central Asia-Caspian Sea basin, but rather has a broader, more integrated, purview increasingly enveloping even the Persian Gulf.
Increasingly, the image of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a sort of frontline state in a post-Cold War global lineup against US hegemony is becoming prevalent among Chinese and Russian foreign-policy thinkers.
For the moment, however, the Iran-Russia-China axis is more a tissue of think-tanks than full-fledged policy, and the mere trade interdependence of the US and China, as well as Russia's growing energy ties to the US alone, not to mention its weariness over any perceived Chinese "overstretch", militate against a grand alliance pitted against the Western superpower.
In fact, the Cold War-type alliances are highly unlikely to be replicated in the current milieu of globalization and complex interdependence; instead, what is likely to emerge in the future are issue-focused or, for the lack of a better word, issue-area alliances whereby, to give an example, the above-said axis may be inspired into existence along geostrategic considerations somewhat apart from purely economic considerations.
Hence what the SCO means on the security front and how significant it will be hinges on a complex, and complicated, set of factors that may eventually culminate in its expansion, from the current group of six, as well as greater, alliance-like, cooperation.
It is noteworthy that in Central Asia-Caucasus, the trend is toward security diversification and even multipolarism, reflected in the US and Russian bases not too far from each other.
In this multipolar sub-order, neither the US is capable of exerting hegemony, nor is Russia's semi-hegemonic sway without competition.
In the Caspian Sea basin, for example, Kazakhstan has opted to take part in several distinct, and contrasting, security networks, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace program, the Commonwealth of Independent States' Collective Security Organization, the SCO, and membership in OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe).
Kazakhstan is not, however, an exception, but seemingly indicative of an expanding new rule of the (security and strategic) game played out throughout Central Asia-Caucasus.
Economically, both Kazakhstan and Russia are members of the Central Asia Economic Cooperation Organization, and all the Central Asian states are also members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was founded by the trio of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.
Certain economic alliances are, henceforth, taking shape, alongside the budding security arrangements, which have their own tempo, rationale and security potential.
Concerning the latter, in 1998, the ECO embarked on low security cooperation among its members on drug trafficking and this may soon be expanded to information-sharing on terrorism.
Also, Iran has also entered into low security agreements with some of its Persian Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The SCO initially was established to deal with border disputes and is now well on its way to focusing on (Islamist) terrorism, drug trafficking and regional insecurity.
Meanwhile, the US, not to be outdone, has been sowing its own bilateral military and security arrangements with various regional countries such as Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as promoting the Guuam Group, which includes Azerbaijan and Georgia, formed alongside the BTC (Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan) pipeline as a counterweight to Russian influence.
Consequently, the overall picture that emerges before us is, as stated above, a unique multi-trend of military and security multipolarism defying the logic of Pax Americana.
In this picture, Iran represents one of the poles of attraction, seeking its own sphere of influence by, for instance, entering into a military agreement with Turkmenistan in 1994, and, simultaneously, exploring the larger option of how to coalesce with other powers in order to offset the debilitating consequences of (post-September 11) unbounded Americanization of regional politics.
A glance at Chinese security narratives, and it becomes patently obvious that Beijing shares Iran's deep worries about US unipolarism culminating in, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, unilateral militarism. Various advocates of US preeminence, such as William Kristol, openly write that the US should "work for the fall of the Communist Party oligarchy in China".
Unhinged from the containment of Soviet power, the roots of US unilateralism, and its military manifestation of "preemption", must be located in the logic of unipolarism, thinly disguised by the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq; the latter is, in fact, as aptly put by various critics of US foreign policy, more like a coalition of the coerced and bribed than anything else.
But, realistically speaking, what are the prospects for any regional and or continental realignment leading to the erasure of US unipolarism, notwithstanding the US military and economic colossus bent on preventing, on a doctrinal level, the emergence of any challenger to its global domination now or in the future?
The strategic debates in all three countries, Russia, China and Iran, feature similar concerns and question marks.
For one thing, all three have to contend with the difficulty of sorting the disjunctions between the different sets of national interests, above all economic, ideological and strategic interests.
This aside, a pertinent question is who will win over Russia, Washington, which pursues a coupling role with Moscow vis-a-vis Beijing, or Beijing, trying to wrest away Moscow from Washington?
For now, Russia does not particularly feel compelled to choose between stark options, yet the situation may be altered in China's direction in case the present drift of US power incursions are heightened in the future.
The answer to the above question should be delegated to the future.
For now, however, the quantum leap of China into the Middle East and Caspian energy markets has become a fait accompli, no matter how disturbed its biggest trade partner, the US, over its geopolitical ramifications.
Article published in 2004
Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and "Iran's Foreign Policy Since 9/11", Brown's Journal of World Affairs, co-authored with former deputy foreign minister Abbas Maleki, No 2, 2003.   He teaches political science at Tehran University.
Copyright 2004, Asia Times Online
Sick person
Sick mentally and spiritually
Calls Iran 'the centre of global terror'
Look a little closer Peres
Iran applying for ancient Armenian church
to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Published on Friday, February 3, 2006 by
The Unintended Politics of Brokeback Mountain
by Bill C. Davis
Brokeback Mountain has transcendent imagery, organic, poetic language, and honest, loving acting.   All elements in this movie accumulate to create a gut-wrenching, illuminating mythic human narrative.
As it penetrates the emotional psyche of audiences, without one character uttering a single political thought, this movie has shattering political implications.
It concretizes and complicates, in the best sense, what has been debated as an abstraction and broadcast on TV as a cartoon.
When asked if he had seen the movie, Bush gave a befuddled and flustered denial, as if he had been asked if he took an illegal drug recently.
He was anxious for it to be known he did not take the movie in lest anyone think he was looking to have his thinking confounded or his moral certainties polluted.
Beyond the times and locales in which these two men fall and continue in love, the back story of one of the men is key both personally and politically.
As a boy, his father brought him to view the desecrated body of a man who stepped over the social, cultural, sexual line that the boy as an adult now steps over.
That murder was both a criminal and political act for which no one had to suffer any justice.
The image was a protein planted in the brain of a young boy by a deranged patriarch.
It was an invisible fence put up in the landscape of his social consciousness and ultimately his emotional life.
As an adult he defied this interdiction.
The physical expression — the passionate kiss — the tender touch — the irresistible pull and penetration — all political acts — all acts of defiance even though he never thought of them as either.
The need for secrecy and deception occurs to the two men as an unconscious reflex.
The oppression is internal and external.
This is the success and challenge of the omnipresent patriarch.
Our lover is threatened with death for the thing that has revealed itself to be the most essential aspect of his existence.
What moved him to embrace this essential thing in the face of the graphic consequences he held in his memory is mysterious and heroic.
He was the embodiment of a house divided against itself and he moved toward his unique humanity in spite of the pre-ordained death sentence that was drilled into his senses.
This is personal and political.
This is rebellion and an exquisite erotic declaration to the open skies and the rocky, rolling countryside.
U.S. allies itself with Iran
Last month the US backed an Iranian initiative to deny United Nations consultative status to organizations working to protect the rights of gay people.
At this level both governments acted much like the mindless father who led his son to view the savaged corpse of an outcast.
The message — from Iran, US and the other governments who backed this initiative — is what one of the characters in Brokeback Mountain warns his lover — “if this thing grabs hold of us in the wrong place — at the wrong time — we’re dead.”
The politics of that statement are in the questions that must follow — where is the wrong place?
What is the wrong time?
Apparently even a gay bar in New Bedford Ma. in 2006 is the wrong place and time.)
The poignancy of this movie is that the two men in “Brokeback” most likely didn’t think they even had the right to suffer what they were suffering — or that they were entitled to whatever happiness they could sneak in away from their proscribed lives.
One of them was ready to make the bold move to ordered permanence — the other had the internal brand of his father’s edict.
Humanity in all its variations, and when and where it can have full expression, is political.
Protecting human rights is the reason societies organize and legislate.
In cracking open the nucleus of this particular human experience Brokeback Mountain takes something exceptional and makes it universal which is the mark of great art and which, intended or not, creates and clarifies political action.
Bill C. Davis is a playwright —
Common Dreams © 1997-2006
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
— 2018
— 2017
— 2016
— 2015
— 2014
— 2013
— 2012
— 2011
— 2010
— 2009
— 2008
— 2007
— 2006
— 2005
— 2004
— 2003
Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
Despite Ralph Reed's call for Coalition activists to stop gay bashing, Americans United uncovers the fact that the Coalition's Christian American magazine is promoting and selling a book called Legislating Immorality, which says the Bible requires the death penalty for homosexuals.
(January 1996

Stonewalled: Police abuse and misconduct against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the US


In August 2002, Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Kelly McAllister, a white transgender woman, and ordered her from her truck.   When she refused, the deputies allegedly pulled her from the truck, threw her to the ground, and began beating her.   McAllister also alleges that arresting officers pepper sprayed her, hog-tied her with handcuffs on her wrists and ankles, and dragged her across the hot pavement.
On 6 September 2002, while being held in detention at the Sacramento County jail, officers placed McAllister in a bare basement holding cell.   When she complained about the freezing conditions, guards reportedly threatened to strip her naked and strap her into the “restraint chair” as punishment.   Later, guards placed McAllister in a cell with a male inmate.   She reports that he repeatedly struck, choked, and bit her, and then proceeded to rape her.   McAllister sought medical treatment for injuries received from the attack.   After a medical examination, she was transported back to the main jail where she was reportedly threatened with further attacks by male inmates and taunted by the Sheriff’s staff that she enjoyed being the victim of sexual assault.   Reportedly, McAllister attempted to commit suicide twice.
The Sheriff's Department opened an investigation into the alleged rape; the inmate accepted a plea for "unlawful intercourse in jail" and was sentenced to three months in detention.   Though McAllister filed a full report with the Sheriff's Department, no Sheriff’s Deputy has been disciplined for the incidents surrounding McAllister’s arrest and incarceration.
Despite progress made by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in the United States since Stonewall—the June 28, 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City, and ensuing protests in defiance of police abuse and repression—police misconduct against the LGBT community in the US persists.
In a new report titled Stonewalled: Police abuse and misconduct against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the US, Amnesty International (AI) documents serious patterns of police misconduct and brutality—including abuses that amount to torture and ill-treatment—against LGBT individuals. Profiling of LGBT individuals as criminal; selective enforcement of laws; sexual, physical and verbal abuse; inappropriate searches and mistreatment in detention remain commonplace, as does a lack of accountability for perpetrators.
The report also examines how US authorities are in breach of their international human rights obligations by failing to take adequate measures to prevent or punish crimes committed against LGBT people.   Case histories documented in the report demonstrate failure to respond or inadequate responses by the police to hate crimes and violence targeting LGBT people, as well as situations of domestic violence that involve LGBT people.
The report’s findings strongly indicate that police abuse and the forms it takes often are specific to different aspects of the victim’s identity.  Stonewalled highlights the treatment of LGBT individuals by the police within the larger framework of identity-based discrimination, and demonstrates how the interplay between different forms of discrimination—such as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia—create the conditions in which human rights abuses are perpetuated.   The report shows that within the LGBT community, transgender individuals, people of color, youth, immigrant and homeless individuals, and sex workers experience a heightened risk of police abuse and misconduct.
AI’s findings suggest that police tend to target individuals who do not conform to gender stereotypes that dictate “appropriate” masculine and feminine behavior.   Transgender people in particular experience some of the most egregious cases of police brutality.   AI heard reports of transgender individuals being subjected by police to discriminatory profiling as sex workers; “policing” of transgender individuals bathroom use; sexual, verbal and physical abuse; inappropriate and illegal searches to determine a transgender individual’s “true” sex; and a failure to protect transgender individuals from abuse while in detention.
Though police forces across the country are increasingly providing some level of training intended to guide interactions with the LGBT community, 28% of police departments responding to AI’s survey reported that they do not provide any form of training.   AI’s report clearly describes the persistent and widespread lack of effective systems of accountability for law enforcement officers who commit abuses.  Reports to AI suggest that many LGBT individuals do not come forward with complaints about police officer conduct.   AI received a number of reports of hostility or attempts to dissuade people from making complaints at police stations.
Stonewalled places the issue of police misconduct and brutality in the context of the lack of recognition of LGBT human rights.   Like many other countries, the US has a long history of both criminalizing homosexual conduct and failing to protect LGBT people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.   In turn, people are denied access to their full human rights, creating a climate in which LGBT people are more likely to face abuses.
The emergence of a strong LGBT rights movement has been successful in pushing forward greater recognition of the basic human rights of LGBT people in the last three decades.   There are many indicators of this progress, including the increased public visibility of LGBT people, and especially at the local level, the successful adoption of anti-discrimination legislation inclusive of LGBT people.   Yet, as this report demonstrates, serious human rights abuses targeted toward members of the LGBT community continue to be perpetrated, including by those officials in society whose duty is to serve and protect the entire community.

Everyone—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression—is guaranteed civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights under international law.  Stonewalled contains an overview of international law and standards relevant to the fulfillment of LGBT rights.
The United States is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the principal international treaty setting out fundamental civil and political rights, including the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.   The ICCPR also requires that anyone deprived of his or her liberty be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.   The US is also a party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

AI has obtained data forStonewalled from a wide range of sources to collect information on a national as well as the local level.   These included the use of surveys, interviews in the selected cities, and research of statutes, ordinances and media reports from across the United States.
Stonewalled gives a national overview on issues of police misconduct and brutality against LGBT communities in the US.   However, research for the report primarily focused on four US cities.   These cities are: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Antonio.   The target cities were chosen based on the presence of LGBT activists and/or advocacy groups within the city, and previous work done in the city on police brutality issues.   The four cities also were chosen for geographic diversity.   In addition, each of the cities selected for the report has taken steps to address abuses against LGBT people, and has at least some limited capacity to document police brutality targeting the LGBT community.   However, the capacity to document police misconduct and abuse against LGBT people in each of these four cities remains inadequate to assess the full scope of the problem.
AI sent comprehensive surveys to law enforcement agencies across the US on interactions with LGBT individuals including training policies and procedures.   Surveys were sent to the police department in the largest city in each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia and San Antonio, a city studied for the report but not the largest city in Texas.   AI received 29 completed surveys.   Each of the four target city police departments completed the survey sent out by AI, except for the New York City Police Department.   However, the NYPD did allow AI to interview key department officials.   As a result, AI was able to obtain answers for many of the questions in the survey.
AI also sent surveys to the 52 internal affairs divisions of the police departments surveyed and received 11 completed surveys.   Surveys were also sent to each of the 24 Civilian Complaint Review Boards that exist in the largest city of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia; AI received nine completed surveys.
AI conducted more than 170 meetings in the four target cities, along with additional interviews in Philadelphia, Houston, and San Francisco and Washington, DC.   The organization met with LGBT activists and advocacy organizations as well as with police brutality activists, police watchdog organizations, youth outreach organizations, immigration advocacy groups, sex work activists and advocacy groups, civil right organizations and local community activists.   AI is greatly indebted to these many organizations and individuals who generously shared their documentation and contacts.   AI collected over 200 testimonials through a confidential online survey requesting first-hand accounts from LGBT individuals about their interactions with police.   AI also reviewed surveys conducted by local organizations on interactions with the police in New York City and Chicago.
AI also met with law enforcement officials in New York City, Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles.

AI’s research reveals that law enforcement “profile” LGBT individuals, in particular transgender individuals, individuals not conforming to traditional ideas of gender, and LGBT individuals of color, as potential criminals in different contexts.   AI’s findings demonstrate how police officers selectively enforce laws relating to “morals regulations,” bars and social gatherings, demonstrations and quality of life statutes.
Transgender Individuals
On January 15, 2004, a Latina transgender woman went to the Silver Dollar Bar in San Antonio.   Bar security officers asked her to step outside, where police officers accused her of stealing money from another patron.   She denied the charges and offered that officers could search her purse.   According to the woman, one of the officers rolled down her skirt, exposing her genitals as she stood in front of the bar, which is in full view of the road.   She was then handcuffed and pushed into the back of the police car.   Soon after she was told to get out.   She was not charged with any crime. AI researchers received a number of reports that law enforcement officers treat with suspicion those who do not conform to stereotypes about gender.   Reports indicate that failure to adhere to gender expectations contributes to arbitrary arrest and detention of transgender and gender variant people.
Reports indicate that harassment is more severe the less a transgender woman or man “passes,” which in turn can be a function of her or his socioeconomic status and the extent to which she or he wants or can afford hormones and sex reassignment surgery.   According to some advocates, the quality of police interactions can be affected by presumptions of criminality based on race, age and/or socioeconomic status.
Out of the 29 police departments responding to AI’s survey, 21 (72%) reported having no policy regarding interactions with transgender people.
RECOMMENDATIONS: AI urges authorities to develop transgender specific policies and procedures and ensure that issues relating to interactions with transgender individuals and communities are incorporated into police training programs as a matter of urgency.
Profiling of Transgender Women as Sex Workers
A white transgender woman worked for a motel where her shift ended at 3AM.   She was reportedly stopped by the San Antonio Police Department at least four times on her way home after work on the assumption that she was a sex worker.   Eventually, her employers had to contact the SAPD and explain that she needed to walk home early in the morning after her shift ended.
AI found a strong pattern of police unfairly profiling transgender women as sex workers.   AI received reports of such practices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio, as well as in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, and Washington, DC.
AI heard numerous reports of transgender women being stopped by police and questioned as they engaged in routine daily activities, such as going to a local shop.   It was reported that selective profiling of transgender women as sex workers by law enforcement officers frequently leads to arbitrary arrest and detention.
Such profiling and arrest appear to take place primarily under vague laws creating offenses from “loitering with intent to solicit,” “public lewdness,” or “disorderly conduct.”   AI and other organizations are concerned that vaguely worded regulations are applied in a discriminatory manner as these laws and regulations leave almost entirely the determination of suspicion and the definition of the offending conduct to the individual officer’s judgment.
In addition, AI heard reports that many transgender individuals do not challenge charges and instead plead guilty to avoid spending time in detention before trial, choosing to have a criminal record to avoid the risk of being detained.   Many transgender people fear detention because they often are at heightened risk of torture and ill treatment at the hands of both guards and other inmates—see the section on Detention for more.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Authorities must ensure that laws regulating sex work are not selectively enforced on the grounds of gender identity or expression.   In the absence of specific evidence or probable cause for suspicion, transgender individuals must not be profiled as sex workers.
In Los Angeles, a Latina transgender woman was reportedly arrested for providing false information to a police officer when she presented a driver’s license identifying her gender as female.   While the charges were subsequently dropped, as a result of her arrest she was found to be in violation of a previously imposed probation order and was incarcerated for 30 days.
A common fear expressed to AI by transgender individuals is being stopped by the police and asked for identification.   Transgender individuals in the US often experience difficulties in changing or obtaining identification documents that match her or his gender identity.   Individuals who are transitioning, undocumented immigrants, the homeless, or those who do not meet requirements for officially altering their gender because they cannot afford hormones or do not wish to undergo sex reassignment surgery, may not be able to obtain identification consistent with their gender identity.
AI heard of a number of reports of transgender individuals being stopped and asked for identification, in some cases to apparently establish whether an individual is male or female.   When transgender individuals produce identification that does not match a police officer’s expectations regarding the person’s gender, they often are regarded as fraudulent or deceitful, increasing the risk of abuse and harassment.   Reports of misconduct and abuse include inappropriate searches to determine an individual’s genitally determined sex (see Detention and Searches).
It was also reported that when police officers interact with transgender individuals they often use inappropriate pronouns or an individual’s prior male or female name.   While in some cases this practice may be a product of inadequate training, AI heard reports of officers deliberately using a name or pronoun that does not match an individual’s gender presentation in order to humiliate.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Officers should receive training in how to respectfully address transgender individuals.   AI believes that officers should be required to address transgender individuals by either the name on their identification corrected to reflect their gender identity or the name they regularly use.
Policing Bathroom Use
Reports of police misconduct directed towards transgender and gender variant communities also included the “policing” of bathroom use.   The majority of public bathrooms are designated male or female, even though there may be no laws codifying these social conventions.   Therefore, access to them can result in transgender individuals being subjected to arrest, harassment or abuse by officers who use their own perceptions of gender identity or expression to determine who should or should not be allowed into a particular bathroom.   AI has also heard reports in Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio that police have demanded identification from transgender people when they have attempted to use public bathrooms.
Morals Enforcement
A San Antonio Park Ranger testified in a trial against a gay man charged with a lewd conduct offense that he had arrested at least 500 gays men and no women.   He also reportedly said he “wanted to rid the park of gays.”
AI’s findings indicate that the vagueness of morals regulations—regulations used to prohibit public sexual expression or conduct, including offenses like lewd conduct and public lewdness—may lead to arbitrary arrest and detention of gay men.   Such regulations give individual officers discretion to determine what is considered “offensive,” and are prone to homophobia, racism and sexism.   For example, acts which heterosexual couples can openly engage in such as kissing may be regarded as “offensive” when engaged in by gay couples.
The arbitrary arrests and detentions that may result from use of these vague statutes or regulations are human rights abuses under both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
AI received reports of targeted enforcement of morals regulations disproportionately against gay men in all four cities studied by AI, as well as in several other cities across the US including Detroit, Denver and Columbus, Ohio.   For example, between August 2000 and July 2001, there were reportedly 649 arrests under Los Angeles lewd conduct law, 88 percent were of men; excluding arrests involving sex work, 99 percent were of men.   AI also received reports of discriminatory application of morals regulations against gay men of color.
In addition, AI received reports in a number of cities of law enforcement agencies utilizing undercover operations as a means of enforcing morals regulations.   Undercover officers patrol areas known to be frequented by gay men and invite sexual or lewd conduct by their words or behavior.   AI also heard reports alleging verbal and physical abuse by officers during undercover operations.
AI believes that the discriminatory aspects of targeted lewd conduct operations create an atmosphere conducive to abuse and foster a climate of impunity.   Many individuals are unlikely to challenge the charges for fear of repercussions if their sexual orientation is revealed.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Authorities must ensure that morals regulations, such as those against lewd conduct, are not selectively enforced on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.   Authorities must ensure that any measures taken to enforce morals regulations are not discriminatory, either de jure or de facto.
Federal and state governments should review all legislation that could result in the discrimination, prosecution or punishment of individuals solely for their sexual orientation or gender identity.   This includes lewd conduct legislation founded on notions of conduct “offensive” to third parties or other vague elements that currently provide opportunities for discriminatory application against LGBT individuals.   Such legislation must be amended to specifically describe the conduct prohibited and to explicitly require monitoring and oversight of enforcement practices in order to prevent selective enforcement.
Undercover operations to enforce “lewd conduct” ordinances may lead to discriminatory enforcement, entrapment, and arbitrary arrest and detention and should be conducted according to strict protocols to prevent entrapment or else be discontinued.
Police Raids of LGBT Gatherings
In the early hours of 2 March 2003, police reportedly raided The Power Plant, a popular gay after-hours club in Highland Park, Michigan, arresting the club owner and several hundred patrons.   The club operator was arrested on several charges, including operating an illegal establishment and selling alcohol without a liquor license.   Three hundred-fifty misdemeanor citations for illegal trespass were issued to the club’s patrons, and more than 150 cars were impounded and towed from the scene.
Reportedly, 50 to 100 officers stormed the premises dressed in black clothing and using laser sights, causing panic among patrons.   Patrons were bound with their hands behind their back and forced to lay face-down on the concrete floor, in some cases for more than eight hours.   Reports indicate that those arrested were not permitted to use the bathroom and several were forced to relieve themselves where they lay.   Some reported being kicked in the head and back, slammed into walls and verbally abused.   Reportedly, officers were heard saying, “Those fags in there make me sick.”   The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department claimed they were acting on complaints from neighbors and were acting in response to concerns of public safety.
Although raids of gay bars are no longer as widespread as they once were, reports indicate that police continue to target venues where LGBT people socialize.   AI is concerned about reports of verbal and physical abuse as well as inhumane and degrading treatment of LGBT individuals during raids.   Some raids have reportedly involved high numbers of officers and excessive force against individuals.
In New York City, a gay white man wore a t-shirt that said, “Fight AIDS not Iraq” to an anti-war demonstration in 2003.   He passed a police officer standing in front of a fire station.   The officer reportedly yelled at him, “If you didn’t fuck each other in the ass you wouldn’t get AIDS.”
AI also received reports that law enforcement personnel have selectively targeted LGBT contingents and activists at demonstrations; employed excessive force at LGBT demonstrations and rallies; used homophobic and transphobic slurs; and arbitrarily detained and searched individuals.
Quality of Life
“Being black and being trans gives the police the right to do what they want.   I was sitting on a stoop trying to find something in my bag.   An officer from the 10th Precinct [of the NYPD] asked me for my ID and then gave me a ticket for disorderly conduct.   The officer told me that if he saw me in the area again, he would arrest me.   I told him that he’d better get used to seeing me because I worked in offices nearby.   When it went to court the summons was dismissed – thankfully, I have a good lawyer.”
“Zero tolerance” and “quality of life” policing is a law-enforcement strategy that seeks to create public order by aggressively enforcing laws against minor offenses (for example, public drunkenness, loitering, vandalism, littering or public urination).   Like “lewd conduct” legislation, “quality of life” regulations are frequently vague, granting considerable discretion to individual police officers who may be motivated by their own prejudice or acting on complaints from members of the public motivated by homophobia, transphobia and racism.
Reports to AI in all four cities studied indicate a pattern of discriminatory enforcement of “zero tolerance” and “quality of life” regulations against members of LGBT communities, in particular transgender individuals, LGBT people of color, LGBT youth, homeless and poor individuals, and those engaged or perceived to be engaged in sex work.
Reports indicate that transgender youth and LGBT youth of color in particular have been targeted through selective enforcement of “quality of life” provisions, in some cases while conducting outreach for nongovernmental organizations.   Discriminatory policing of “quality of life” regulations appears to be strong in gentrifying areas, which have traditionally provided safe space for LGBT individuals.   AI has heard reports indicating that young LGBT people in West Hollywood, California; Chelsea and the West Village, Hudson River Piers and Times Square in New York; Lakeview in Chicago; and the Castro in San Francisco are routinely harassed, ticketed, told to move on or arrested.
AI received reports in each of the cities studied that “quality of life” ordinances are selectively enforced against homeless individuals.   Reports indicate that a significant number of homeless individuals are LGBT.   It is estimated that in some cities in the U.S. up to 40% of homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
AI found a pattern in each of the cities studied that LGBT individuals of color are disproportionately targeted for enforcement of “quality of life” ordinances.   Reports indicate that while a person may initially be targeted based on their race, the risk of police abuse may increase when the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity becomes apparent.   Discriminatory policing of “quality of life” regulations appears to be strong in gentrifying areas, which have traditionally provided safe space for LGBT individuals.
RECOMMENDATION: Policing operations, including those concerned with the enforcement of “quality of life” regulations and policies, should be reviewed to ensure that they are not targeted in a discriminatory manner.

The alleged targeting of LGBT individuals for sexual, physical and/or verbal abuse occurs in many situations and contexts.   Sexual, physical and verbal abuse frequently take place together.   Sexual and physical abuse by law enforcement against LGBT individuals are often accompanied by homophobic and transphobic slurs and in some instances verbal abuse escalates to sexual or physical abuse.
Reports indicate that LGBT individuals who do not conform to traditional gender “norms” in their appearance or presentation are more likely to be singled out for sexual, physical or verbal abuse, and that transgender individuals are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.
AI’s findings suggest that a significant proportion of reports of sexual, physical and verbal misconduct against LGBT individuals concern people of color, mirroring general trends of police brutality in the U.S.   Age, socioeconomic and immigration status also compound the risk of sexual, physical and verbal abuse by law enforcement.
Sexual Abuse
A Native American transgender woman reported that two Los Angeles police officers handcuffed her and took her to an alleyway.   One officer reportedly hit her across the face, saying "you f—--ing whore, you f—--ing faggot," then threw her down on the back of the patrol car, ripped off her miniskirt and her underwear and raped her, holding her down and grabbing her hair.   The second officer is also alleged to have raped her.   According to the woman, they threw her on the ground and said, "That's what you deserve," and left her there..
AI heard reports of sexual harassment and abuse of LGBT individuals in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio as well as in other locations including Montgomery, Alabama; Washington, D.C.; Athens, Georgia; Philadelphia and San Francisco.   Reports included allegations of rape and other sexual abuse by police officers, including sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, sexual contact, as well as sexually explicit language and gestures.
AI received reports of police sexually abusing and harassing transgender individuals in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.   AI received reports of lesbians experiencing sexual assault and harassment at the hands of police officers.   Reports include gay men who have been raped, including with objects, and sexually abused.
Under international law, the rape of a prisoner by a state official is considered to be an act of torture.   Other forms of sexual abuse may be torture and are clearly violations of the internationally recognized prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.   Targeting of individuals because of their sexual or gender identity or expression violates not only their right against sexual abuse but also their right to be free from discrimination, which is protected in the ICCPR and Convention Against Torture.
Physical Abuse
“When I came out as a transsexual, I went from a $100,000 a year job to homeless and on welfare in less than two years.   In the Summer of 2000, after a disagreement over one of my welfare payments, the police arrived at the welfare office, and the next thing I knew a cop was breathing down my neck, pushing me toward the door while I tried to explain that I had an appointment.   There were four officers outside.   One officer got in my face with the most vile insults I could imagine; his buddy stood nearby, nightstick in hand, ready to strike.   The other two watched uncomfortably nearby.   I got the impression they were trying to goad me to fight or react so they could run me in.   The one officer, the leader, was so vicious and abusive even his one ally seemed distressed at the mindless aggression and hate he spewed forth.   The anger and hate directed at me was more intense than I could describe.   I thought I was going to be killed right in front of welfare.   With every push or stab — of his billy club, I thought I would die.”   – Rachel Thompson, e-mail to AI
AI received reports in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; Lincoln, Rhode Island; and Connecticut of LGBT individuals being subjected to physical abuse including being kicked, slammed against walls and beaten with a baton.
Allegations of police officers physically abusing transgender individuals were reported in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Antonio and New York as well as in Pennsylvania, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.   AI heard that transgender women of color and transgender individuals “who may not pass” are targeted for police misconduct, including physical abuse.   Reports indicate that lesbians are subjected to violence by law enforcement officers because of their sexuality, particularly in terms of their physical appearance.   AI also heard a number of reports of physical abuse of gay men by police officers in San Antonio, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as from other locations, including San Francisco, Oakland, Lincoln, Rhode Island; and Connecticut.
The use of force against LGBT individuals, as documented in Stonewalled, violates an individual’s right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as specified in the ICCPR and the Convention Against Torture, treaties to which the US is a party.
Verbal Abuse
“A Filipino transgender man arrested in New York gave the police his ID and papers.   An officer reportedly said, “I know what you are.   I know your kind.   I just want you to know you’re never going to have a family like me, kids like me, a dog like me.   And know that whatever you strap on between your legs will never be as real or as big as mine.”   The police put him in a cell with female arrestees.   Officers walked past him repeatedly, mocking his name and asking, “What is this thing?”
AI heard numerous reports of officers being verbally abusive towards LGBT individuals with officers frequently focusing on perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of individuals in a derogatory and demeaning manner.   AI heard reports in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio that officers engage in homophobic, transphobic, racist and sexist verbal abuse when communicating with particular communities, including LGBT people of color, homeless, youth, sex workers and immigrants.
Both LGBT victims of police abuse and activists interviewed by AI for Stonewalled stated that homophobic and transphobic verbal abuse by police was a serious problem.   Verbal abuse serves to dehumanize LGBT people, creating a climate of prejudice and impunity in which misconduct as well as egregious sexual or physical abuse is more likely to take place.
Verbal harassment and abuse reported to AI include deliberately humiliating transgender people by using inappropriate pronouns or an individual’s prior female or male name, and questioning what a person’s “real” gender is.   Advocates report that many officers have “no respect” for transgender women, make fun of them and call them “freaks,” ” he/she/it,” or “he/she.”
AI received several reports of verbal abuse of lesbians, including women who were called "dyke" as an insult during interactions with law enforcement.   Verbal abuse of lesbians often focuses on perceived gender transgressions, and reports indicate that police single out lesbians who look “masculine” for verbal harassment and abuse.
AI also heard a number of reports of police officers calling gay men “faggots”.   The use of the term “faggot” is reportedly also used as a general derogatory term regardless of whether an officer perceives an individual to be gay.   Men who do not conform to traditional gender “norms” are targeted for verbal abuse, including comments such as “sissy” and “princess.”
Verbal abuse against LGBT individuals as documented in Stonewalled violates an individual’s right to be treated with dignity under international standards and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Authorities should ensure that all allegations and reports of police abuse and misconduct are promptly and impartially investigated.   All officers responsible for abuses should be adequately disciplined and, where appropriate, prosecuted.   Verbal abuse or slurs by police officers based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity must not be tolerated, and officers should be appropriately disciplined and, when appropriate, mandated training.
Special measures should be implemented to ensure that people who have been victims of torture or illtreatment based on sexual orientation or gender identity have access to means of gaining redress and the right to an effective remedy, including compensation.

AI received reports of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of LGBT individuals during arrest, searches and detention in police precinct holding cells.   AI heard reports of officers searching transgender and gender variant individuals in order to determine their “true” sex.
AI also heard allegations of misconduct and abuse of LGBT individuals in holding cells and detention centers, including the inappropriate placement of LGBT individuals in situations which compromise their safety.   In particular, transgender individuals are often placed in holding cells according to their genitally determined sex rather than their gender identity or expression, putting them at greater risk of sexual, physical and verbal abuse at the hands of other detainees.
Searches and “Gender Checks”
A Latina transgender woman in New York was approached by two white police officers in a car on her way home from a nightclub in 2000.   One officer leaned out the window and began to ask her personal questions about her anatomy: “Are your breasts implants or hormones?” and “What’s up with your 11 genitalia?” The officer then asked her to show him her breasts.   Michelle told AI, “I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t think and was worried that if I didn’t do what he said I’d provoke him and he’d maybe get out of the car, maybe arrest me for something I didn’t do.”   She complied with his request and the officer then let her go.
Reports to AI indicate a pattern of officers undertaking searches that involve inappropriate touching of an individual’s genitalia in order to establish a transgender individual’s “true” sex i.e. genitally determined sex.   AI heard a number of reports of illegal and inappropriate searches of transgender and gender variant individuals in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio, as well as Alabama and Florida.
“Gender checks” may take place if an individual’s identification does not match their gender presentation, or when the individual is taken to a police station and a decision has to be made about whether a transgender or gender variant individual should be placed in a male or female holding cell.
Transgender individuals and advocates reported to AI that during street encounters and traffic stops police officers regularly demand that the person they perceive to be transgender reveal their “real” gender, at times asking inappropriate and abusive questions.   In several cases, AI heard of police officers performing full or partial searches of transgender or gender variant individuals in public, either on the street or in full view of other detainees and law enforcement officers.
AI is concerned by reports that transgender people are victims of sexual abuse during searches.   Reported sexual abuse includes the use of sexually offensive language; male staff touching transgender women’s breasts and genitals when conducting searches; female staff touching transgender men’s genitalia, and male or female staff watching transgender detainees while they are naked.
Of the 29 police departments surveyed by AI, only seven (24%) reported having a policy regarding strip searches of transgender individuals.
AI believes that searches and frisks to determine an individual’s genitally determined sex are never justified and constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of international law.
RECOMMENDATIONS: It is essential that all police departments develop policies and conduct training on issues relating to searches of transgender individuals.   Manual frisks or searches should not be conducted for the purpose of determining genitally determined sex or whether an individual has breasts.
AI recommends that if a frisk or search is necessary under governing legal standards, transgender persons should be searched by two officers of the gender(s) requested by the transgender individual.   If a transgender individual does not specify a preference, then the search should be conducted by officers of the same gender presentation (e.g. a transgender female expressing no preference should be searched by a female officer).
Under no circumstances should individuals be subjected to strip searches in public space, either on the street or in police detention centers in view of officers not directly involved with the search or other detainees.
Detention Policies and Procedures
A transgender woman arrested in a domestic dispute, was placed in a male cellblock at the D.C. Superior Court after authorities determined they had no procedure for changing her gender from male to female in the court’s criminal record system (even though she had identification that had been legally corrected to reflect her gender; this identification had been issued after she had undergone sex-reassignment surgery).   In the courthouse cellblock, male prisoners called her names, were lifting up her skirt, exposing their 12 penises and masturbating in front of her, and reportedly sexually assaulted her.   The guards allegedly did nothing to intervene and protect her.
In New York, a transgender man was reportedly handcuffed to a pole because police officers did not know where to house him.
Police authorities in the US generally place transgender individuals in male or female holding cells based on their genitalia; in some cases transgender individuals may be held in a separate holding cell.   Out of the 29 police departments responding to AI’s survey, 17 (59%) reported having no policy on detention of transgender people.
The placement of LGBT individuals in relation to other detainees has an important impact on their dignity and safety, in particular for transgender individuals.   Policies where a transgender person's genitally determined sex determines where they will be detained in gender-segregated facilities, regardless of their gender identity or expression or their legal gender, have serious implications and increase the risk of transgender individuals being subjected to serious human rights abuses, including cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture.   AI’s findings indicate that transgender detainees are at high risk of violence from other prisoners; transgender women in particular may be at heightened risk of torture or illtreatment if they are placed in male jails or holding cells, as such placement may put an individual at risk of physical or sexual assault.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals may also be targeted for abuse while in detention.
In some cases of abuse against LGBT detainees by other inmates reported to AI, it appears that officers have not taken appropriate measures to ensure their safety or failed to intervene in dangerous situations.   In some instances reported to AI, officers have contributed to an atmosphere conducive to abuse and misconduct by “outing” LGBT individuals to other detainees.   When police and prison authorities, as agents of the state, fail to protect inmates from violence at the hands of other detainees and prisoners, they can be held accountable for torture or ill-treatment.
RECOMMENDATIONS: US authorities must ensure that safe housing is provided for LGBT individuals while they are in detention.   Authorities should immediately begin consultations with transgender organizations to identify best practices for policies in making housing decisions in a detention facility.   AI recommends that when deciding where to house a transgender detainee, authorities should take into consideration the transgender individual’s opinion as to where it would be safest for them to be detained in gender-segregated facilities.   The individual’s assessment should be central, if not necessarily determinative, as to where they should be housed.   Administrative segregation in police custody should avoid further marginalizing LGBT people or putting them at risk of torture or ill-treatment.   If safety concerns require that LGBT people be held separately from other detainees, they must be afforded the same degree of access to resources and services, including restroom and other facilities, and their detention should not be prolonged as a result.

Reports to AI indicate a pattern of police failing to respond or responding inappropriately to hate crimes, domestic violence and other crimes against LGBT individuals, particularly crimes against LGBT individuals of color, immigrants and other marginalized individuals.
The fact that such acts of violence are perpetrated by private individuals rather than agents of the state does not absolve the authorities of their responsibility: the state may be held accountable under international human rights standards when these abuses persist owing to the complicity, acquiescence or lack of due diligence of the authorities.   Due diligence includes taking effective steps to prevent abuses, to investigate them when they occur, to prosecute the alleged perpetrator and bring them to justice in fair proceedings, and to ensure adequate reparation, including compensation and redress.   It also means ensuring that justice is dispensed without discrimination of any kind.   AI is concerned that U.S. authorities are failing to act with due diligence to prevent and investigate crimes against LGBT people.
Fear of Reporting Crimes
LGBT people often do not report crimes against them, in particular hate crimes and domestic violence, because they are reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity to responding officers, and because they fear homophobic or transphobic treatment.   Reportedly, reluctance to contact the police is particularly pronounced among transgender women.   A number of other factors, including fear of treatment based on race or ethnicity, age, immigration status, socioeconomic status, and language barriers, contribute to underreporting.   AI is concerned that these factors compound and foster a climate of impunity for perpetrators of hate crimes and other crimes.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Authorities should create working groups of representatives from the LGBT community, including the most marginalized, and law enforcement officials to coordinate efforts to address violence motivated by homophobia or transphobia.
Although Although some states and local authorities in the U.S. have taken legislative steps to address crimes motivated by discrimination, many state hate crime laws do not cover gender identity or sexual orientation.   Thirty-three states including the District of Columbia have enacted state hate crime statutes that include sexual orientation, while only 10 states include gender identity/expression.
Out of the 29 police departments responding to AI’s survey, eight (28%) report that they do not train officers on issues relating to hate crimes against LGBT individuals.
Out of the 29 police departments responding to AI’s survey, 21 (72%) report that they do track statistics of hate crimes based on an individual’s sexual orientation.   However, police departments in Atlanta, Georgia; Honolulu, Hawaii; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Manchester, New Hampshire; and San Antonio, Texas reported that they do not track statistics of hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
Fifty-nine percent of police departments report that they track statistics of hate crimes based on an individual’s gender identity.   However, 34 percent of police departments report that they do not track statistics of hate crimes based on an individual’s gender identity.
For the four cities studied, AI found disparities between the hate crimes reported by authorities and hate crimes documented by advocacy organizations.   Advocates point out that a lack of documentation and coordination between federal, state and local agencies and community groups impedes efforts to examine, respond to and prevent violence.
Police Response to Hate Crimes
In Los Angeles, three women attacked an immigrant transgender woman working as a street vendor.   The women allegedly surrounded her and began verbally abusing her and threatening her because they did 14 not want her in the neighborhood.   When bystanders called the police, the officers reportedly responded, “If they kill her, call us.”
A gay Latino man in Los Angeles reported that he returned home late one night to find “faggot” followed by his name and “vamos ensenar a ser hombre” (we’ll teach you to be a man) scrawled across his door.   His upstairs neighbors reportedly had signed the message.   He called the police, who did not respond until almost five hours later.   When officers arrived, they had to locate the appropriate code for a hate crime in their manual, noting that they don’t often use it and frequently list hate crimes as “something else.”   The officers then asked him if there had been any other incidents of verbal or physical abuse.   When the man told officers there had not, but that he was fearful there would be, the officers told him that there was nothing they could do because the threat was not a physical one.
In some cases, police officers reportedly refused to take a complaint of a potential hate crime.   Officers reportedly have trivialized incidents or Stonewalled attempts to file complaints.
AI heard several reports indicating that law enforcement officers frequently fail to properly identify hate crimes.
In certain cases reported, officers directly or indirectly suggested that survivors are in some way responsible for attacks against them; for example, indicating that the person “asked for it” or “provoked” an attack.
AI also received reports of police being verbally or physically abusive when individuals have come forward to report a hate crime, inappropriately focusing on a survivor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.   Police responses to hate crimes are reportedly frequently abusive in cases involving transgender individuals.
AI welcomes attempts by some police departments or precincts to improve police response to hate crimes, for example the introduction of bike patrols in the Lakeview area of Chicago and the practice of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to contact transgender advocates whenever a hate crime against a transgender individual is reported.
RECOMMENDATIONS: US authorities must ensure that police are trained to protect those who are attacked on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Specific written directives and training should be given to law enforcement officials on how to identify and investigate homophobic and transphobic crimes.
Federal, state and local authorities should ensure that prompt, thorough and impartial investigations are conducted into all reports of violence against LGBT individuals.
Domestic Violence
Two Latino gay men were involved in a domestic dispute in New York.   The police officers reportedly told them that if the police were called again they would both be arrested.   The officers left without taking any action.
AI's research revealed that law enforcement responses to domestic and interpersonal violence involving LGBT individuals is inadequate and that police authorities are failing to act with due diligence to prevent and protect LGBT individuals from domestic violence, in contravention of international standards.
Only five out of 29 (17%) of police departments responding to AI’s survey reported having specific policies on same sex domestic violence.   Twenty-four (83%) reported that they provide some training to officers on same-sex domestic violence.
AI heard a number of reports from national organizations and from advocates in all of the cities studied of inadequate police responses to LGBT domestic violence incidents, including allegations that officers frequently fail to respond, or respond in an inappropriate manner.
Advocates in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio as well as in Washington, DC and San Francisco told AI that police often do not take LGBT domestic violence seriously.
In some cases, officers may fail to recognize that the incident has occurred in the context of an intimate relationship.   According to advocates the police have greater difficulty in identifying the abuser when responding to LGBT domestic violence calls.
When police do attempt to identify the abuser in an LGBT domestic violence situation, reports to AI suggest that officers may make assumptions or rely on stereotypes based on gender identity or expression, race, immigration status, age and socioeconomic status.   As a result, transgender survivors, immigrant survivors, survivors of color, the person perceived to be of lower socioeconomic status, or the youngest person are reportedly often assumed to be the abusers.
AI also heard a number of reports of police officers arresting or threatening to arrest both parties when responding to LGBT domestic violence in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.   AI also heard reports of officers making homophobic or transphobic comments when responding to LGBT domestic violence situations.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Law enforcement agencies must conduct prompt investigations of all reports of LGBT domestic violence, and ensure that officers are thoroughly trained on how to investigate allegations of domestic violence.   Training must include guidelines on identifying the abuser.   Officers should not arrest both parties in order to avoid having to undertake a thorough investigation.

While 20 out of 29 (69%) of police departments responding to AI’s survey reported that they provide training on issues relating to LGBT individuals or communities, another 28 percent provide no such training.   It is important to note that the police departments surveyed are in the largest city in each state and are more likely than smaller departments to develop training.   Thus the problem may be wider than indicated by AI’s survey.
Reports to AI indicate that when training on LGBT issues does take place it is frequently not provided in a systematic, ongoing manner but is limited to a session provided for new recruits at the police academy.   It is of concern that officers who have been on the force for longer periods may not have received any LGBT training, as few departments offer any systematized in-service LGBT training.
Advocates have expressed concerns that trainings conducted without any input from community members do not properly convey the needs and rights of the groups in question.   Some police departments rely heavily or sometimes exclusively on unpaid LGBT organizations to provide training without any input or 16 support from law enforcement trainers.   Other police departments ask officers who happen to be lesbian or gay to conduct trainings although they may not be professional trainers.
While AI was unable to undertake a thorough review of the content of police departments trainings, our survey revealed that many police departments fail to provide officers with LGBT specific training, for example on interactions with transgender individuals or how to respond to LGBT hate crimes.
Training experts as well as law enforcement officers speaking with AI on condition of anonymity noted that LGBT “sensitivity” or “diversity” training is often ineffective.   AI also heard reports that such training, when it does exist, often reinforces stereotypes and fails to change perceptions of bias.
RECOMMENDATIONS: All police departments should introduce training programs that include LGBT sensitivity training.   Such training should reinforce that police misconduct and abuse against LGBT persons will not be tolerated and should be given at periodic intervals, not just during police academy.
Recruitment and Diversity
On the Force Anecdotal evidence suggests there are relatively few LGBT officers who are in a position to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, although LGBT police officer associations exist in some larger cities.   However, AI is only aware of a fairly small number of LGBT officers who serve on police forces in the U.S.   According to AI’s survey, only 14 percent of police departments report having an affirmative action hiring practice for LGBT individuals.
Community Accountability
AI’s findings indicate the need for the police to work more proactively to build effective relationships with the communities they serve.   AI found a pattern of inadequate proactive outreach to LGBT communities, in particular the more marginalized, including LGBT people of color and homeless youth.   Authorities need to ensure that policing policies and practices serve the interests of all members of communities and do not result in systemic discrimination of targeted and marginalized groups.
Local police should work proactively with their communities.   This includes maintaining an effective consultative relationship with relevant community leaders and organizations, including LGBT individuals and groups, reaching out to marginalized communities, and appointing an LGBT liaison to serve as a link between LGBT communities and the police.   Only 38 percent of responding police departments told AI they have an LGBT liaison officer.
Activists and individual police officers also brought up the need for diligent supervision and commitment from leadership in order to achieve effective reform and lasting change.
Complaint Systems
In order for police departments to be held accountable for misconduct and abuse, there must be an effective system in place for members of the public to make complaints.   AI found that when trying to make a complaint against a police officer, complainants may face daunting and complex procedures.
AI is concerned at reports in New York, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston and San Francisco that suggest many people do not come forward with complaints about police officer abuse and misconduct, particularly LGBT people of color, LGBT homeless individuals, immigrants or youth.
AI has received a number of reports from LGBT individuals who faced hostility, ridicule or attempts to dissuade them from making complaints at police stations.   AI is particularly concerned about reports of retaliation against people who have come forward with complaints against police officers.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Police authorities must establish effective, straightforward and accessible complaint procedures.   This process should include ensuring that complaint procedures are displayed prominently at all police stations and in all languages relevant to the community; conducting extensive outreach to LGBT communities on how to access complaint mechanisms; accepting anonymous and third-party complaints; and protecting from intimidation those who file complaints against officers.
Internal Accountability Measures
Once a complaint has been made it is usually investigated by a police department’s internal affairs department.   Internal oversight bodies frequently are not trained in handling complaints pertaining to LGBT individuals, sex workers, youth and other marginalized communities.   Only five out of 11 (45%) of responding internal affairs departments told AI that they train their staff on LGBT issues, and of these only two have mandatory training.
AI’s findings suggest that when officers undertake investigations of complaints against fellow officers, complainants face substantial skepticism.   Furthermore, reports indicate that internal affairs investigators are more likely to believe an officer’s testimony when a member of a marginalized group, for example a sex worker or homeless individual, makes the complaint.
AI is concerned that time limits on internal investigations within some police departments impact the ability to fully investigate and bring disciplinary action against an officer.   Such restrictions have led to cases reaching the time limit and being dropped before officers have been disciplined.
In the event that a complaint is sustained against an officer, disciplinary measures may often seem lenient compared to the alleged conduct.   Even for serious abuses, reports indicate that a low number of officers are suspended or fired.   The lack of transparent and consistent guidelines for disciplinary measures has been cited by monitors and organizations as a factor contributing to a lack of consistency.
Authorities must accept that while police officers are individually responsible for their actions, the systems that recruited, trained and supervised them are also responsible.   Police departments have failed to identify and stop “problem officers” from repeatedly committing misconduct, as well as to tackle the larger systemic issues, which give rise to and allow such misconduct to take place, often with impunity.
RECOMMENDATIONS: There should be greater transparency in internal investigations of complaints of misconduct and abuse made against the police.   Police departments should provide information on the internal disciplinary process by publishing regular statistical data on the number and type of complaints filed, the outcome of the investigation and disciplinary action.   They should publish regular statistics on the number of complaints of abuse and misconduct based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Police departments should establish effective tracking and monitoring systems of complaints, including early warning systems to identify abusive officers and to identify systemic patterns of abuse, including racial bias, or bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
Police authorities should issue and enforce clear guidelines requiring officers to report abuses by fellow officers.   There should be strong penalties for failing to report or for covering up misconduct.
Independent and External Civilian Oversight
While the majority of responding police departments told AI they have some kind of external review process, 24 percent of responding departments report that they do not.
In general, survey responses from external oversight bodies indicated a lack of focus on and expertise in LGBT issues, raising concerns about the ability of external review boards to respond to and adequately investigate complaints made by this population.   Of the nine Civilian Complaint Review Boards responding to AI’s survey only 11 percent report having a policy on how to handle complaints filed by LGBT individuals; 22 percent report having a LGBT liaison; 11 percent report offering training for staff on LGBT issues; and 33 percent report that they have a practice to recruit LGBT individuals.
Criticism has been expressed at a number of external review boards for failing to live up to the expectation of their mandate.   In many instances, this critique appears in part to be reflective of limitations on external review boards power, funds, staff, and access to information.   In nearly all cases, external review systems have an advisory function, and the Chief of police remains responsible for deciding on discipline.
Prosecutions and Lawsuits
Very few criminal cases involving excessive use of force or discriminatory practices are brought against individual police officers.   Even successful prosecutions have usually only been able to prove the guilt of the individual officer, rather than system failings.
Individuals may also bring civil claims against individual law enforcement officers and, under some circumstances, municipalities, for monetary compensation.   While civil lawsuits may provide financial compensation, they are unlikely to be filed by the most marginalized individuals in a community and rarely serve to hold either police departments or individual officers accountable.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Local, state and federal authorities should establish effective, independent oversight bodies for their respective police agencies with powers to investigate and review complaints against individual police officers as well as broader policy issues and patterns of concern, and to issue detailed public reports.
Oversight bodies should be trained in handling complaints pertaining to LGBT individuals, in particular, sex workers, youth and other marginalized groups within the LGBT community, as well as to conduct outreach to other marginalized groups to make sure that their concerns are heard.
Authorities should ensure that all allegations and reports of police abuse and misconduct are promptly and impartially investigated.   All officers responsible for abuses should be adequately disciplined and, where appropriate, prosecuted.

Amnesty’s research clearly demonstrates that discrimination, the systematic denial of rights to certain people, is a grave human rights abuse that can often lead to further human rights abuses.   Institutionalized discrimination dehumanizes its victim, who is deemed as someone who can be treated inhumanely.   Institutionalized discrimination feeds impunity, denies justice and can incite violence against targeted people or groups.   Discriminatory practices and policies have tremendous consequences for targeted groups not only in terms of the nature of their ill-treatment by government agents or society at large, but also in terms of their access to redress and equal protection under the law.   Discrimination also often leads to a lack of official action, such as investigations into alleged abuses, which further reinforces impunity.
Stonewalled confirms that in the US, LGBT people continue to be targeted for police abuse and brutality.   Such human rights violations take place within the context of homophobia and transphobia, but are also motivated by other forms of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, economic status, as well as stereotyped and rigidly-held ideas about gender—all factors that profoundly impact victims’ access to justice.   These different forms of discrimination are mutually reinforcing.   In many cases documented in this report, it is difficult to separate the underlying forms of discrimination that trigger the abuse.   Police abuse and misconduct are part of a broader spectrum of violence against LGBT people that includes violence in the community and family.   These abuses are linked to ongoing problems of discrimination and must be addressed within the larger context of the need for the recognition and protection of the full human rights of LGBT people, including their economic, social and cultural rights.
AI’s findings strongly suggest that transgender people, people of color, young people, sex workers and immigrants within the LGBT community are at a heightened risk of being targeted for police abuse and misconduct.   Reports to AI indicate that individuals from these populations within the LGBT community are more likely to have negative interactions with the police.   Several factors contribute to exposing these populations to high risks as targets for serious human rights abuses.
Transgender People
Transgender people are among the most discriminated-against members of the LGBT community, sometimes encountering prejudice from within the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.   Endemic prejudice combined with lack of legal protection puts many transgender people at critical risk for poverty and homelessness.   Nearly 70 percent of transsexual people in some cities in the US are reportedly unemployed or underemployed.   Reports indicate that a significant proportion of the transgender community is homeless, particularly transgender persons of color and immigrants.   Many are faced with life on the streets, and as a result, face heightened risk of human rights abuses.   As noted in the section on Profiling, transgender and gender variant individuals may be targeted for police harassment and abuse simply for who they are.   In order to make money for food and rent, some may resort to engaging in illegal activity, such as sex work, further increasing the likelihood of encounters with (and possible abuse by) law enforcement.
Communities of Color
“Being Black and being trans gives the police the right to do what they want.   I was sat on a stoop trying to find something in my bag.   An officer from the 10th Precinct asked me for my ID and then gave me a ticket for disorderly conduct.   The officer told me that if he saw me in the area again, he would arrest me.”
Race in particular plays an important role in increasing the likelihood that an LGBT person will be targeted for police abuse.   The targeting of LGBT people of color by law enforcement mirrors the systemic racism found in policing in the US in general.   These findings are consistent with previous AI documentation, as well as reports by numerous other organizations, indicating a strong correlation between race and the likelihood that an individual will experience human rights abuses at the hands of the police in the US.
Throughout the report, AI’s findings indicate that race continues to be a motivating factor in presumptions of criminality, and that racism compounds the homophobic and transphobic treatment of LGBT people of color by police.   Incidents reported to AI strongly suggest that racism, homophobia and transphobia are mutually reinforcing and have a profound impact on an LGBT individual’s experience of police abuse.
Women of color also are impacted by race-based policing, and reports to AI indicate that transgender women of color may be at heightened risk of being targeted by the police.  
Young LGBT People
Monique, a 17-year-old Hispanic lesbian, told AI that she was with three straight friends when park police in San Antonio stopped her.   Officers asked for her ID and threatened to arrest her.   One officer reportedly said, “I could put you in jail for not having your ID.”   Monique told AI, “My straight friends don’t get asked even if they are the ones driving.   They ask me all the questions.”
Report findings suggest that LGBT youth are more likely to experience human rights abuses by police than LGBT people in general.   Youth of color and transgender youth are particularly likely to be targeted for abuse.
Young LGBT people face a number of challenges stemming from society’s reaction to their age and their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.   Various reports have indicated that in addition to homophobia and transphobia, rejection from family, domestic violence, ensuing homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness and harassment in schools may cause some youth to resort to engaging in illegal activity, increasing the likelihood of interaction with law enforcement and potential for abuse.
A Rhode Island study found that nearly half of LGBT youth end up having to leave the home because of their families’ reaction to their sexual orientation or gender identification.   Some end up in the foster care system; others become precariously housed or homeless.   It has been estimated that in some US cities up to 40 percent of homeless youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.   LGBT youth who are homeless may commit offenses such as sex work and theft in order to survive life on the street, which invariably increases their contact with law enforcement.   One study found that up to half of the gay and bisexual young men forced out of their homes due to sexual orientation engage in sex work to support themselves.
AI notes that young LGBT people have very few spaces to socialize and congregate, as many may not be able to be “out” at home and they do not have access to age-restricted, fee-paying venues.   LGBT youth will therefore often tend to congregate in LGBT-friendly areas where they feel safe.   AI has received a number of reports indicating that young LGBT people are subjected to police misconduct, harassment and abuse in the context of policing “quality of life” regulations curbing activities such as “loitering” or “unreasonable” noise.
Poverty and Homelessness
In Chicago, a 16-year-old gay, white, homeless youth reported that two officers would pull him over whenever they saw him, subjecting him to verbal harassment.   They reportedly assumed he was a sex worker, and allegedly subjected him to homophobic comments and slurs, often with sexual undertones, such as: “You’re having anal sex with everyone else, why not with us?” and “You may as well come over and do me.”
Contrary to the popular myth of the “affluent gay community,” reports indicate that the LGBT community earns, on average, less than the general population.   And pervasive discrimination combined with lack of legal protection puts many of the most marginalized populations with the LGBT community, such as transgender people, young people and people of color, at high risks for poverty and homelessness (see previous sections).
LGBT homeless individuals may be specifically targeted by law enforcement for discriminatory application of “quality of life” legislation or other police abuse.   Reports to AI indicate that the increased focus on policing “quality of life” ordinances, such as those criminalizing the consumption of alcohol, storage of belongings, and urination in public spaces, tend to be discriminatorily applied towards communities that, due to poverty and homelessness, have no choice but to engage in such activities in public spaces.   AI is concerned that increased focus on such activities inherently has the effect of “criminalizing” homelessness.
Reportedly, homeless or domestic violence shelters often do not welcome and are unsafe for LGBT people.   AI has received reports that the transgender community, in particular, experiences discrimination and abuse in the shelter and temporary housing systems and is often refused access to domestic violence shelters.
Sex Work
A white transgender woman was arrested during a sex work sting operation in Los Angeles.   Officers allegedly questioned her as to whether she had undergone sex reassignment surgery and strip-searched her in front of three other officers, apparently in order to determine her genitally determined sex.   During the search, one of the officers reportedly grabbed her head and slammed it into a wall with such force that the bone holding her front teeth was broken, requiring medical treatment.
AI heard reports of sexual, physical and verbal abuse against LGBT individuals perceived to be sex workers by police.   The most serious abuses reported to AI in particular were of transgender individuals, individuals of color, immigrants, and young people and homeless individuals who engage in sex work.   AI also heard reports of widespread arbitrary arrests of individuals profiled as sex workers on the basis of their sex, gender and gender expression, race or ethnicity, and immigration status.
Stigmatization of and discrimination against LGBT people, particularly transgender individuals, people of color, immigrants and youth, in accessing human rights such as education, housing and work can limit their choices and may, in some instances, be contributing factors in the decision to engage in sex work.   Ending discrimination and promoting economic and social rights of LGBT individuals are therefore important to address sex work and the violence and abuse often associated with it.
In Los Angeles, a gay Filipino survivor of domestic violence was reportedly beaten on several occasions by his partner, a white US citizen.   When police responded to one altercation, they reportedly arrested the Filipino man and threatened to report him to immigration authorities, saying, “You’re not a citizen.   We should deport you, you shouldn’t be hitting Americans; you’re not an American.”
Reports indicate that LGBT immigrants in the US face significant challenges based on their immigration status, race, sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression, as well as language barriers—all factors that increase vulnerability to police misconduct.
Reports from advocates suggest that there are a number of LGBT immigrants living in the United States, many of whom have fled persecution in their countries of origin based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.   Reportedly, many LGBT immigrants, particularly the most vulnerable populations like youth and transgender individuals, often do not attempt to gain legal asylum rights despite the danger they face if deported because they are either unaware of this right or because they are afraid of revealing their sexual orientation, gender expression or identity to authorities.
AI has received reports of police officers threatening LGBT immigrants, or LGBT individuals perceived to be immigrants, with deportation.   Discriminatory targeting of immigrants by law enforcement, including on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, would violate international standards prohibiting discrimination.   Authorities must ensure that individuals are not removed to countries where they may be at serious risk of human rights abuses.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Addressing the issue of police abuse and misconduct requires an integrated approach that recognizes the relationship between different forms of discrimination, and how they create the social conditions in which identity-based human rights abuses thrive.   AI’s findings clearly demonstrate that the issue of police brutality cannot be tackled without looking at the full range of human rights issues affecting the LGBT community including access to basic social, economic and cultural rights.   This is particularly important in any attempt to adequately address the needs of those most marginalized groups within the LGBT population.
The findings of this report indicate that there is a need to take action to deal with widespread discrimination and abuse in the realm of policing, yet there is also the need for other actors in society, including national, state and local governmental entities, to take steps to address the pervasive discrimination that LGBT people in the U.S. continue to face.
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