Queer people in Gaza share memories of lost loved ones amid Hamas-Israel conflict

As the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalates, LGBTQ+ people in Gaza are sharing poignant messages on the website Queering the Map.

This article is about queer people in Gaza. In the photo, smoke rising after a air strike by Israel in the Gaza Strip.
Image: Via Shutterstock - Anas-Mohammed

CW: Mentions of military violence, death and ethnic cleansing.

LGBTQ+ people in Gaza have been sharing mournful messages on the community-based website Queering the Map in recent days, revealing poignant stories and memories amid the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict.

Since Saturday, October 7, more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel after Hamas fighters launched an attack, while around 200 others were taken into Gaza as hostages. In response to this attack, the Israeli government launched thousands of air strikes against Gaza that killed at least 2,778 people, many of whom were children, and wounded 9,700, as figures from the Gaza Health Ministry report. Israel has also cut off deliveries of food, water, fuel and medical supplies to Gaza.

Moreover, on October 17, a blast at a hospital in Gaza killed hundreds of Palestinians. Israeli officials and the Hamas militant group have blamed each other for the hospital bombing.

Amid the ongoing conflict, messages allegedly written by queer Palestinians from Gaza have gone viral after appearing on Queering the Map, an online platform where LGBTQ+ folks from all over the world share their stories of romantic, platonic or otherwise, encounters. Because homosexuality is illegal in Palestine, the website represents one of the few spaces in which queer people in Gaza are able to express themselves.


“Idk how long I will live so I just want this to be my memory here before I die,” wrote one user. “My biggest regret is not kissing this one guy. He died two days back. We had told how much we like each other and I was too shy to kiss last time. He died in the bombing. I think a big part of me died too. And soon I will be dead. To younus, I will kiss you in heaven.”

“I’ve always imagined you and me sitting out in the sun, hand in hand, free at last,” another queer person from Gaza commented. “We spoke of all the places we would go if we could. Yet you are gone now.”

“Pls know despite what the media says there are gay Palestinians. We are here, we are queer. Free Palestine,” someone else posted.

As the conflict continues, the Israeli government has announced an imminent operation to invade the Gaza Strip and target the leadership of the Hamas militant group. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) ordered over 1 million people living in the Gaza Strip to evacuate, despite the fact that many, including human rights groups and the UN, raised concerns about such a move, saying that it would amount to ethnic cleansing.

“In the name of self-defence, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing,” said Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories. “Any continued military operations by Israel have gone well beyond the limits of international law.”

“The international community must stop these egregious violations of international law now, before tragic history is repeated. Time is of the essence. Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace, equality of rights, dignity and freedom,” Albanese added.


People all over the world are calling for a ceasefire and the admission of humanitarian aid to Gaza. An open letter signed by 600 artists and writers in the EU, UK and US, including Irish authors Sally Rooney, Anne Enright, Naoise Dolan and Megan Nolan, stated that “the deliberate killing of civilians is always an atrocity”.

“In Gaza, neither the occupying power, Israel, nor the armed groups of the people under occupation, the Palestinians, can ever be justified in targeting defenceless people. We can only express our grief and heartbreak for the victims of these most recent tragedies, and for their families, both Palestinians and Israelis,” it reads.

The letter continues by saying: “By cutting off vital electricity, food and water supplies; by attempting to displace by force over one million Palestinians from their homes, with no guarantee of return; and by carrying out continual airstrikes against civilians, including those who are attempting to evacuate, the state of Israel is committing grave crimes against humanity. Its allies, our own governments, are complicit in these crimes.”

As the letter states, “human rights groups have long condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the inhumane treatment of – and system of racial domination over – Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state”.

In 2017, Amnesty International published a report on the 50 years since Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which began in June 1967. It detailed how the Israeli State has been forcing thousands of Palestinians to relocate with its ruthless policies of land confiscation, illegal settlement and dispossession. They forcibly evicted entire communities and demolished tens of thousands of homes and structures, leaving many homeless.

Moreover, Israel’s military rule in the occupied territories has deeply affected Palestinians’ daily lives, including how they “can travel to work or school, go abroad, visit their relatives, earn a living, attend a protest, access their farmland, or even access electricity or a clean water supply.”


The writers and artists who penned the open letter are calling on their governments to “demand an immediate ceasefire and the unimpeded admission of humanitarian aid into Gaza”.

“We also demand an end to all arms shipments and military funding, supplies that can only exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe at hand. Although these measures will not be enough to secure true justice, liberation and equality for all in the region, they represent an urgent and indispensable first step,” the letter continues.

It concludes, “We plead for an end to all violence, an end to all oppression and denial of human rights, and a path towards a just and sustainable peace for all.”

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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