In commemoration of 2019 marking 50 years since the Stonewall Riots took place, the editors over at Gay Star News are inviting 50 international guest writers to offer their own stories of diversity and resilience. One of those such guests is Amir Ashour, a gay Iraqi who fled his home country for the United States after college and later founded the very first LGBTQ organization in Iraq, called IraQueer. In his piece, Ashour speaks up about experiencing same-sex feelings as a child of 9 or 10 but not fully understanding what those feelings meant. He didn’t share those thoughts with others but also says he never considered himself ‘closeted’ and freely expressed his sexuality. He even says that in middle school, when asked why he didn’t have a girlfriend, he’d say “because I’m not into girls.” But even that was assumed to mean he just wasn’t interested in the girls at his school.