Iraqi Parliament enacts amendment banning homosexuality and gender-affirming surgery

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The Iraqi Parliament passed amendments to the existing contentious anti-prostitution law on Saturday, which now criminalize homosexuality and gender-affirming surgery, subjecting offenders to up to 15 years in prison.

The anti-prostitution law had been in force for 36 years until the Iraqi parliament, during Saturday’s session, passed several amendments to it.

The first amendment proposed renaming the anti-prostitution law to the “Prohibition of Prostitution and Homosexuality Law.”

As per the 1988 Anti-Prostitution Amendment, engaging in homosexuality is considered a criminal offense, and individuals involved in relationships categorized as “sexual deviation” are subject to punishment.

As per the amendment, individuals who promote homosexuality can face imprisonment for a minimum of seven years along with a fine ranging from 10 million to 15 million dinars.

Gender reassignment is subject to legal penalties, ranging from one to three years of imprisonment, both for the individual undergoing the procedure and for the attending physician.

The amendment stipulates that individuals engaged in homosexuality are subject to imprisonment ranging from a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 15 years.

However, medical cases aimed at treating birth defects for the purpose of affirming an individual’s sex will be exempt from the law, provided they have obtained a court order.

A new amendment stipulates that men who intentionally exhibit feminine behavior, mimicking women, will face a prison sentence ranging from one to three years.

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