‘Queer in Gaza’ Initiative Seeks to Shed Light on Hamas’ Discrimination against LGBTQ+ Community

A new campaign launched a website to raise awareness about the Hamas terrorist movement’s lethal actions targeting the persecuted LGBTQ+ community in the Gaza Strip.

The Equality Campaign Inc. created a website called “Queer in Gaza: The Reality” that states “Learn the Facts about Hamas’ treatment of LGBT Palestinians.”

The website declares “Living as a Queer person in Gaza is punishable by torture and death by Hamas, the rulers of Gaza” and “There is no transgender population in Gaza because any trans person who lives openly will be hunted down by Hamas.”

The former acting director of US National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, who was the first openly gay member of a presidential cabinet during the Trump presidency, told The Jerusalem Post that “It’s shameful for the gay community in America to ignore the reality of what gays in the Middle East face. The Chelsea and WeHo crowd is too damn selfish to understand what other people are dealing with.”

Chelsea refers to the neighborhood of Manhattan that has a large LGBTQ+ population and WeHo is an abbreviation for West Hollywood. Grenell launched the first global campaign to end the death penalty targeting gays in Muslim-majority countries such as Iran and other repressive nations.

Thousands take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, on June 1, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar has said, “You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?”

According to the “Queer in Gaza” website, “Israel grants asylum rights to LGBT Palestinians who face death in Gaza and the Palestinian Territories; there are hundreds of Queer Palestinians living safely in Israel right now, who will face death if they are sent back to Gaza or the Palestinian Territories.”

Israel is widely considered the only country in the Middle East where LGBTQ+ people can live without repression. “As a Queer Palestinian, I fled to Israel for protection, “ said Abdul, who was kidnapped and tortured by Hamas for being gay, according to “Queer in Gaza.”

Hamas persecution against LGBTQ+ community similar to Iran

Gigi Pour, an Iranian-American refugee and LGBTQ+ rights advocate living in the US, told the Post that “The stories are very similar to atrocities committed against LGBTQ+ [people] in Iran. In most cases, the worst maltreatment comes from family members and siblings followed by the vigilantism by others who know homosexuality is punishable by death which leads to victimization and violence against LGBTQ with significant threats to their safety and well-being.”

Hamas is a proxy of Iran’s regime and Tehran’s rulers have supported the Hamas massacre of 1,200 people on October 7 in Israel.

Pour said, “Both the US and Canada have taken in many Iranian LGBTQ+ refugees because the country has an awful record of systemic abuse and executions of the LGBTQ+ population.”

Pour continued “Of course, LGBTQ+ [people are] persecuted under Sharia law since their gender identity and sexual orientation are unacceptable under those laws. Under the Islamic Republic of Iran, folks who identify as gay or lesbian are forced into sex change operations as a way to “solve” the issue. In 2007, Ahmadinejad in his speech at Columbia University in NYC said: ‘We don’t have homosexuals like you have in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who told you that we have it.'”

“These types of statements from the president of a system of government basically indicate [that] LGBTQ+ [people are] not visible and they don’t exist. There is zero inclusion and forced exclusion which borders elimination.”

Iran’s regime has executed between 4,000-6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to a 2008 British Wikileaks cable.

“Yet some misguided people are supporting Hamas while claiming to support Queer lives. They are putting Queer Palestinians in danger,” warns “Queer in Gaza.”

The anti-Israel lesbian University of California, Berkeley gender theorist, Judith Butler, recently said that Hamas’ mass murder was neither antisemitic nor a form of jihadi terrorism, terming Hamas’ mass slaughter “armed resistance.”

Butler triggered intense criticism in 2006 when she said at a “Teach-in Against War “ with respect to the Second Lebanon War that “Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.” Butler also supports the BDS movement targeting the Jewish state.

Mehdi Hasan, the controversial pro-Palestinian journalist, who just launched the media company Zeteo, compared homosexuals to “pedophiles” and “sexual deviants.” Hasan is viscerally anti-Israel and has ignored the lethal homophobia that dominates life for the LGBTQ+ community in the disputed West Bank territory and Gaza.

The website “Queers in Gaza” quoted a 2022 BBC report about a “Gay Palestinian Ahmad Abu Marhia [who was] beheaded in West Bank.”

“Palestinian police have arrested a suspect in the killing of a 25-year-old man after his body was found decapitated in the occupied West Bank. LGBTQ groups say he had spent two years in Israel waiting on an asylum claim to flee abroad after receiving death threats from within his community,” read the report.

The campaign also cited an October 2022 AP report titled “LGBT Palestinians Targeted by Hamas Regime.” According to the AP, “Palestinian Authority police have banned a Palestinian LGBT rights group from organizing any activities in the West Bank and threatened to arrest them, saying such activities are contrary to the ‘values of Palestinian society.’”

The US-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) revealed that on September 16, 2023, the pro-Hezbollah Mayadeen TV aired a report about opposition in Gaza to the new UNRWA Code of Conduct, which the reporter said promotes homosexuality and asserts that there are homosexuals among UNRWA employees and the refugees.”

Muhammad Shwadeh of the UNRWA Workers Union said that “it started” with equality between men and women and now the UNRWA are demanding equality for “groups that do not exist among the Palestinian people.”