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From Baghdad to The Bay is a documentary that follows the journey of an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the US military. Wrongfully accused of being a double agent, tortured by the U.S. and ostracized from his family and country, Ghazwan Alsharif struggles to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay man.

The people that are the story

Ghazwan Alsharif

My name is Ghazwan Alsharif, and I am a survivor.  I am thankful to be a blessed and happy man.  In my view, the world is a classroom and every day is a lesson.  We learn from it and we move on.  My goal is to always be optimistic whenever possible!

At the time we started making this documentary, I was not ready to come out as a gay man.  I wanted to protect my family and was more worried for them than I was for myself and the gay community.  You may know that the culture and religion in Iraq prohibits homosexuality.  When I heard the news in 2012 about what was happening in Iraq regarding the killing of gay men, I decided that someone needed to step up and help stop the craziness.  So I took this chance to give a voice to the problem by telling my story.  I sincerely hope you enjoy the film. 

Col. Nicholson and Ghazwan (aka Tex) in Amman Jordan after Ghazwan fled Iraq.

Colonel (Ret.) Robert Nicholson, U.S. Army

My experiences with the liberation of Iraq in 2003-2004 were both harrowing and rewarding. As part of military force in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, and in the hometown of Saddam Hussein, I was in critical need of someone who could guide me through the complex, unfamiliar and hostile geography and culture of the region. From the first time I heard of Tex (as we called Ghazwan) I knew he was the person I was seeking; I sought him out and, upon first impressions, knew he was the one. He proved to be an expert guide, wise counsel and trusted friend. Through all the attacks to his family, threats on his life and treatment in the hands of the U.S. agencies, Tex remained true to himself and loyal to the friends he made. His is a compelling story of a person who has risen from desperate conditions to overcome great difficulties and provides inspiration to us all. I am proud to be part of it. 

Noelle Linzy

Ghazwan is my first cousin, and my only U.S. based connection to my blood Father’s Iraqi family.  I grew up here in the States so Ghazwan has taught me so much about what it means to be Iraqi. In fact, he has taught me a lot about what it means to be American too.  Ghazwan is a special person—extremely charismatic, hardworking, brave, reliable and loyal. He has faced considerable adversity through his lifetime and his positive spirit and “can do” attitude through it all inspires me to be a better person.  I hope his story inspires others and brings attention and awareness to both the hardships facing gay Arabs as well as the general challenge of being an immigrant to the U.S.