ISIS have a new enemy, TQILA: Syria’s LGBT+ militia.
With an AK-47 on a pink background as their logo, this group aren’t here to mess around.
The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (TQILA) – pronounced ‘Tequila’ – are a division of the anarchist International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), a relatively recently established fighting force in the north-east of Syria.
They are allied with the YPG, or Kurdish People’s Protection Units in their fight to end the Islamic State’s authoritarian and brutal regime.
— IRPGF (@IRPGF) July 24, 2017
Over Pride weekend, marchers in Stockholm, Sweden, sent messages of support to Queer freedom fighters in the area. Messages, shared on Twitter read: “Love from queers in Stockholm to freedom fighters in Raqqa.”
After years of living in a war zone, fighting to stay alive and protect others, the LGBT+ group have refined their battlefield skills and proven their commitment to socialist ideals that promote equality, feminism, and modern ideals.
“We, the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF) formally announce the formation of The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (TQILA),” they said in a statement released last week.
“[We] seek to smash the gender binary and advance the women’s revolution as well as the broader gender and sexual revolution.”
The statement also denounces anyone who has helped in the support of President Assad’s regime “in the nam of ‘anti-imperialism’ but fail to recognise his savagery and brutality, having butchered and massacred hundreds of thousands of Syrians.”
Russia, a perpetrator brutal discrimination towards LGBT+ people have controversially supported Assad throughout the conflict.
The Independent reports a spokesperson for TQILA would not give identifying details about the unit’s members because of security concerns, but said that fighters came from a range of countries, as well as the Middle East’s “ethnic groups”.
Content Waring: Graphic footage.
Whoever these men and woman are, they have bravery and selflessness to not be afraid of their sexuality in a region where ISIS prominence means homosexuality is punished by stoning, torture and death.
“The images of gay men being thrown off roofs and stoned to death by Daesh (ISIS) was something we could not idly watch,” they said.
“As Queers from and currently in the Middle East… one of the most radical acts we can do is to announce our existence to people and governments who have and continue to claim that we do not exist.
— Têkoşîn (@Mexlumy) August 6, 2017
“(TQILA) believes that [the symbol of a rose] applies to gender and sexual minorities,” they added. “We want peace but if attacked and continually repressed, like the rose, we have thorns and we will strike back.”
The group are brought together by a set of shared values, that LGBT+ life is no different to any other life and that gender or sexual orientation should not determine how freely you live.