Read More Atheist Republic A 23-year old transwoman from Iraq was killed by her brother on what authorities and advocacy groups are calling a case of honor killing. Doski Azad, a transwoman who came out to her family and left home over five years ago, worked as a makeup artist in Dohuk city center, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
She lived contently in her apartment and expressed herself by promoting her transition through social media. Azad’s friends describe her as “a peaceful and popular person who never wanted to see anyone sad.”
On January 31, Azad’s body was found with bound hands and gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Her body was found in a shallow ditch in the village of Mangesh. Authorities said they received a tip from one of Azad’s brothers informing them of his sister’s death on Monday.
Before her death, Azad had received threats from her family on several occasions. She notified IraQueer, an Iraqi LGBTQ advocacy group, that her relatives had been harassing her.
Hemin Suleiman, the spokesperson for Duhok police, said initial investigations “so far suggests that Doski Azad was killed by her brother at a location just outside the city before he managed to flee the crime scene.” Suleiman also said that a handgun killed Azad.
Azad’s death has sparked outrage in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and has triggered outrage from rights activists and diplomats. The U.S. Consulate General in Erbil posted its condemnation of Azad’s murder on Twitter.
— U.S. Consulate General Erbil (@USConGenErbil) February 3, 2022
Activists and advocacy groups were very direct with their criticism. Hayfa Doski, a women’s rights activist, based in Duhok, said the incident is alarming for different communities in Iraq. She said, “transgender people, in particular, have been gravely concerned about this killing.” “They already feel discriminated against in our society, and attacks like this only exacerbate those fears,” she added.
Honor killings have been a constant struggle amongst the LGBTQ communities in Muslim countries. This is especially true in Iraq and the Kurdistan regions. According to the offices of the Directorate to Combat Violence Against Women, 120 women were killed in the Kurdistan region in 2019 alone.