Iraq was given a ban on homosexuality, defined in the penal code as sodomy, while under British rule. The ban was initially maintained when Iraq achieved its Independence in 1932. The Criminal Code of 1969, enacted by the Ba'athist party, only criminalized sexual behavior in cases of adultery, incest, rape, prostitution, public acts or cases involving fraud or someone unable to give consent due to age or mental defect. Homosexuality per se was not a crime, but could be justification for government discrimination and harassment under laws designed to protect national security and public morality. In addition to the national penal code, members of the Iraqi Internal Security forces, along with current students and retirees, are bound the rules outlined in Decree Number 9 (2008). The degree bans police officers from associating with people of ill repute, and punishes police officers who engage in homosexual sodomy with up to fifteen years imprisonment. The Military Penal Law No. 19 of 2007 prohibits its men from engaging in homosexual sodomy.

For decades, the LGBT community in Iraq has been one of the most invisible communities in the world facing all kinds of discrimination, with barely any activism or advocacy in favor of this group. But in the last couple of years an underground movement started which led to creating the first and only organization for LGBTIQ+ individuals in Iraq with the name IraQueer.


Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Illegal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks



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