Ellen TV

Gay Iraqi Couple Named “Everyday Heroes” On “Ellen”

Nayyef and Btoo were featured in the Logo documentary "Out of Iraq"

We first met Nayyef and Btoo when their story was told in the Logo documentary Out of Iraq. The two met in 2003, when Nayyef was an Iraqi translator for the U.S. military and Btoo was a soldier in the Iraqi army.

Nayyef and Btoo

It was love at first sight, but their romance wasn’t just illegal, it could have lead to their deaths. ( More than 40 men accused of homosexuality have been killed by ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.)

Thankfully, Nayyef was granted asylum in the U.S., and after several years, Btoo was able to join him.

Nayyef and Btoo ellen out of iraq
Ellen TV

Today, Ellen DeGeneres brought the brave couple onto her show as an example of the kind of “everyday heroes” who risk their lives to live freely and honestly. The couple are living paycheck to paycheck, trying to save up for a house and to start a family, and are working to help LGBT refugees relocate to America.

They got a big boost toward their goals courtesy of Shutterfly, which surprised Btoo and Nayyef with a check for $25,000. See the whole thing in the clip below


Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.