Posters celebrating gay people are up in the city of Baghdad, Iraq and are going viral online.
The poster reads in Arabic: ‘I am equal to you. Difference is the basis of life.’
Circulating on Twitter and Facebook, the photos of the posters calling for support of the LGBTI community in the Iraqi capital.
While a majority of the comments were negative, others defended LGBTI rights and their freedom of expression.
Ayaz Shalal is the deputy director of programs at human rights group Rasan based in Kurdistan, Iraq.
‘A very brave step in Baghdad’
Speaking to Gay Star News, he called it a ‘very brave step in Baghdad’.
‘It shows us how much change is going to happen soon in the future and that there is a national movement in the whole country that wants to actually change something in the society, but it lacks the proper support,’ Shalal said.
‘I am personally very impressed by those who did the posters, and I support them all the way to the end.’
It is unknown who created the posters.
It is likely because who ever created them could be found guilty of Paragraph 403 in the penal code. It states any person who produces a written material, drawing, picture, film symbol or other thing that ‘violates the public integrity or decency’ is punishable by jail time up to two years.
However, Rasan in Sulaymaniyah – a city in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, was able to get by this.
They created a mural on a school wall that contained images of three rainbow colored couples – similar to the ones in the Baghdad posters – one gay, one lesbian and one straight. Theirs was above a slogan that reads, ‘love is love’.
ISIS, or the so-called Islamic State terrorist group, has taken much of the northern Iraq city of Mosul. There they have murdered dozens of innocent gay men as they believe they are the ‘worst of creatures’.