‘We’re screwed if Sweden doesn’t let us stay’

Their families want them dead, but they don't know if Sweden will take them in. Sirwan and Karwan tell The Local what it's like to be transgender Kurds on the run from rapists and killers.

'We're screwed if Sweden doesn't let us stay'
Karwan, 22, and Sirwan, 23, are waiting for the migration agency to process their asylum application. Photo: Private

Life in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, was unbearably tough for two little boys who always felt like they wanted to be girls. Their families were ashamed, and the threat of rape and repression was ever-present. 

But even in Sweden they don't feel fully safe after receiving death threats from fellow Kurds who think the pair are bringing shame on their people. 

“We came here to be free,” Sirwan says. 

But a processing backlog means they have not yet met anyone from the migration agency, and they are worried that their asylum application could be turned down. 

“Then we’ll be totally screwed.”

Read the full interview on The Local Voices

Karwan and Sirwan. Photo: Private