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LGBT unit

First LGBT unit formed to fight Isis in Syria

They plan to ‘smash the gender binary and advance the women’s revolution as well as the broader gender and sexual revolution’

LGBT people have long been targeted by Isis: horrifying accounts and footage have shown men stoned and thrown from rooftops for their sexuality. Now, it looks like a queer movement in Syria is joining up for an armed revolution.

Named The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, the group is a branch of The International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces – arnarchist volunteers who fight against forces in Northern Syria. The founding of the group was announced this week. In order to protect the identities of its fighters, TQILA (pronounced tequila) would not give any major details about the group – only that they all come from a range of countries and Middle Eastern ethnic groups.

A statement from the group described themselves as “LGBTQI+ comrades as well as others who seek to smash the gender binary and advance the women’s revolution as well as the broader gender and sexual revolution.”

The group’s logo is a black AK-47 machine gun on a pink background. In Isis-controlled courts, homosexuality is a capital offence.

They detailed how they had “watched in horror as fascist and extremist forces around the world have attacked the Queer community and murdered countless of our community members citing that they are ‘ill,’ ‘sick,’ and ‘unnatural.’”

 “The images of gay men being thrown off roofs and stoned to death by Daesh was something we could not idly watch,” they added.

Throughout the years of the Islamic State, propaganda has detailed the awful deaths of anyone found to be LGBT. Those murdered also had their contact books seized so Isis could track down other members of the LGBT community. As Newsweek reports, many have fled.

A Kurdish gay rights activist who fled the region previously told the Independent he was sceptical of the newly formed fighting group, as the “militarisation of sexual orientation”.  He also cited that Kurdish attitudes to his sexuality are what caused him to leave years before.

The unit refuted this by saying “Self-defence is a right and duty for our community and for others who are also facing oppression, domination and exploitation.” A spokesperson also outlined that, though Kurdish society retains some “feudal and conservative attitudes”, the troops being trained undertake classes where they discussed gender and sexuality theories.

Isis took credit for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year, but investigators found no connections of note between the shooter and the terrorist group.

The TQILA assert that there is a “revolution in Rojava”, the ruling region in northern Syria. Fighting continues in Isis’ ‘de facto’ capital Raqqa, where Syrian Democratic Forces have succeeded in securing several neighbourhoods. If Isis was to lose Raqqa it would be a major blow.

Concluding the statement, TQILA wrote the slogan, “Shoot back! These faggots kill fascists!”