World News /

Iraqi Communications and Media Commission Bans Word 'Homosexuality,' Requires Media to Use 'Sexual Deviance' Instead

The Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has banned the use of the word “homosexuality” and will now require news organizations and social media platforms to use “sexual deviance” instead.

The commission additionally banned the word “gender” as part of the new policies rolled out on Tuesday.

A penalty for violating the rules has not been announced, but a government spokesperson said that it may include a fine, according to a report from CNN.

Gay sex is not explicitly banned in Iraq, but there are morality clauses that have been used to penalize LGBTQ people in the past.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Aya Majzoub has condemned the new rules.

“The directive from Iraq’s official media regulator is the latest in a series of attacks on freedom of expression under the guise of respect for ‘public morals,'” Mazjoub said. “The CMC’s ban of the word ‘homosexuality’ and insistence that media use ‘sexual deviance’ instead is a dangerous move that can fuel discrimination and violent attacks against members of the LGBTI community.”

LGBTI is apparently the newest iteration of the acronym, which stands for “intersex.”

“Furthermore, its ban and demonization of the word ‘gender’ demonstrates a callous disregard for combatting gender-based violence at a time when civil society has been reporting an increase in crimes against women and girls, amid widespread impunity,” the statement from Majzoub continued.

Majzoub called on Iraqi authorities to immediately overturn the policy.

“The Iraqi authorities must immediately overturn this decision and ensure that they respect the right to freedom of expression and non-discrimination for all individuals in the country, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.”

An influential Iraqi Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, called for “believing men and women (to) unite all over the world to combat (the LGBTQ community),” in a post to X (formerly known as Twitter), in December.

The cleric said that the pushback should be done “not with violence, killing or threats, but with education and awareness, with logic and ethical methods.”

Soon after his post, thousands of his supporters gathered outside mosques to sign pledges that they will “stand against (homosexuality) or (LGBTQ) by ethical, peaceful and religious means” and to demand “abolition of the homosexuality law,” according to a report from the Associated Press.


*For corrections please email [email protected]*