Dangerous Instagram? Iraqi LGBTQ+ community loses safe space


Social media has always been one of the only places where members of the LGBTQ+ community in Iraq could meet and be more open about their sexual identity. “Before Instagram, members of the community created fake Facebook accounts and joined secret groups to get to know one another,” Khalid, a 22-year-old student in the central Iraqi province of Babylon, told DW; he could not give his full name because doing so would expose him to danger. “Then with Instagram’s ‘close friends’ story feature [launched in 2018], it became even easier for people to connect, and even to find love.” The country’s conservative culture means that most queer locals have always hidden their sexuality. Surveys of attitudes toward homosexuality in Middle Eastern countries indicate that usually less than 10% of local populations “approve” of homosexuality.

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