The first LGBTQ military has been established to combat the Islamic State (ISIS). The volunteer organization known as The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army(TQILA), is a subgroup of The International Revolutionary People's Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), an anarchist movement working alongside Kurdish units in northern Syria.
\u201cThese Faggots Kill Fascists! We shoot back! The Black & Pink and Rainbow flag fly in Raqqa. #Queers smashing the Caliphate. #TQILA #YPJ #YPG\u201d
Over the past three years, LGBTQ people have been frequently targeted by ISIS. The Islamic State openly condemns homosexuality, and its supporters are believed to be responsible for brutally killing captives suspected of being gay, in many cases, stoning them or throwing them off rooftops. The perpetrator of the deadly attack on the Pulse Nightclub also pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State.
The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army is pushing back against these atrocities. In a public declaration of goals posted to the IRPGF's twitter account, TQILA writes:
"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 LGBTQI+ 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."
The exact size and number of LGBTQ members in TQILA is being kept confidential to protect the members of the unit, but its spokesperson Heval Rojhilat told Newsweek, "Many of our comrades are within the LGBTQI+ community. We are already fighting in Raqqa."
\u201cThe formation of The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (TQILA), a subgroup of the IRPGF. Queer Liberation! Death to Rainbow Capitalism!\u201d