SDF official denies existence of LGBT military unit in Raqqa

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Female fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). File photo

ARA News

Mustafa Bali, the director of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Media Centre, on Tuesday denied the existence of a LGBT military unit to fight ISIS in Raqqa.

“Social Media sites today reported on the formation of a battalion of homosexuals within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa,” Bali said in a statement.

“We in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), while emphasizing our deep respect for human rights, including the rights of homosexuals, we deny the formation of such a battalion within the framework of our forces and we consider this news to be untrue,” he said.

On Monday, a group of international volunteers fighting alongside Kurdish forces, announced the formation of an LGBT unit called the Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA. It’s part of the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), an anarchist movement.

Heval Rojhilat, spokesperson for TQILA, told ARA News in an exclusive interview: “Many of our hevals [comrades in Kurdish] were excited and happy that we brought a rainbow flag. Remember that part of the ideology training of the YPJ/YPG includes Jineolojî, which speaks about gender as a social construct and about sexuality in radical ways. Some of the hevals have even read Judith Butler and Michel Foucault,” he said.

“We cannot say our numbers for security reasons but as part of the IRPGF, we are the 4th major component of the IFB along with MLKP, BÖG and TIKKO. All of which have guerrilla forces in not only Rojava but Bashur, Bakur and Turkey,” he added.

“The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army was formed to advance the struggle of Queers in a region currently undergoing a transformative and inspiring social revolution which includes women’s liberation, ecology and communalism,” the spokesman told ARA News.

“We believe as Queers in the Middle East that one of the most radical acts we can do is to announce our existence to people and governments who have and continue to claim that we do not exist, he concluded.

However, the SDF said the group is not officially part of the SDF or the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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