International LGBT Unit Forms To Fight ISIS In Northern Syria

The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA, supports "the broader gender and sexual revolution” in the region.

A group of volunteers has reportedly formed an LGBT-centric unit to join the fight against ISIS in northern Syria.

The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA, was announced on Monday by The International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), an anarchist movement devoted to pushing back against the Islamic State in Rojava.

On Twitter, IRPGF claimed the goal of the Queer Insurrection is “to smash the gender binary and advance the women’s revolution, as well as the broader gender and sexual revolution.”

“TQILA’s members have 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,'” they claimed in their online manifesto.

The manifesto reads, in part:

The images of gay men being thrown off roofs and stoned to death by Daesh was not something we could idly watch. It is also not only Daesh whose hatred for Queer, Trans* and other non-binary peoples leads to religiously motivated hatred and attacks.

Christian conservatives in the global northwest have also attacked LGBT*QI+ peoples in an attempt to silence and erase their existence. We want to emphasize that queerphobia, homophobia and trans*phobia are not inherent to Islam or any other religion…

It is this necessity and desire to strengthen the gains of the women’s revolution while advancing the Queer struggle that has motivated Queer comrades of the IRPGF to form TQILA.

It’s not clear how large TQILA is, or how many members are part of the LGBT community—spokesperson Heval Rojhilat told Newsweek details are being kept secret for security reasons.

“Many of our comrades are within the LGBT*QI+ community,” he added. “We are already fighting in Raqqa.”

There have been numerous reports of men accused of homosexuality being thrown from buildings or stoned to death by ISIS supporters. The Islamic State also claimed responsibility for the attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, though authorities in the U.S. have not found a direct link between the group and Omar Mateen.

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