In honor of LGBTQ History Month, HRC is releasing a series of blog posts that pay homage to the diversity and breadth of our community.
Today, we are recognizing our international partners and fellow LGBTQ advocates from across the world. Their strength and courage to fight for LGBTQ rights, sometimes risking their lives to do so, is a solemn reminder of how dangerous the road to equality can be.
To find out more about HRC’s global partners, and what HRC is doing to amplify their voices, please visit hrc.org/global.
- Arsham Parsi: Arsham Parsi is a queer activist from Iran, currently living in exile in Canada. In 2003, he first started secretly advocating for LGBTQ rights in Iran, using underground online groups to unite the community in order to evade Iranian authorities. In 2005, after being pursued by Iranian police for his activities, he fled to Turkey and then Canada. It was in Canada that Parsi started the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, an organization that supports and provides guidance to LGBTQ asylum seekers. Earlier this year, Parsi joined HRC on Capitol Hill to support LGBTQ refugees affected by Trump’s travel ban.
- Abhina Aher: Abhina Aher is part of the hijra community in India — a thousand-year-old South Asian transgender community. As a prominent transgender activist, Aher has been on the front lines advocating for greater visibility and equality for LGBTQ people in India. In 2003, she founded The Dancing Queens, an LGBTQ dancing troupe that aims to raise awareness in her country about sexual and gender diversity. In 2017, Aher attended HRC's Global Innovative Advocacy Summit — a dynamic annual conference where established and emerging advocates from around the world exchange ideas and approaches to advance LGBTQ equality.
- Mima Simić: Croatian artist Mima Simić is a writer, film critic and LGBTQ activist. She uses creativity and humor to open the dialogue about LGBTQ rights in her home country, seeing popular culture as a way to promote equality and increase visibility of LGBTQ people. Along with Aher, Simić attended HRC's Global Innovative Advocacy Summit last year, sharing her unique experiences and practices with other equality leaders from around the globe in this exciting conference.
- Chi Chia-Wei: Chi Chia-Wei might be an unknown name in the U.S., but this veteran LGBTQ rights advocate from Taiwan was instrumental in bringing marriage equality to his home country earlier this year. In 1986, at just 28 years old, Chia-Wei publicly came out as gay, before being imprisoned for 162 days on fabricated claims of robbery. Over the next 30 years, Chia-Wei worked tirelessly to champion LGBTQ rights, which finally came to a head in May when Taiwan became the first state in Asia to pass marriage equality.
- Levan Berianidze: HRC’s global partners often remind us that in many places, being LGBTQ carries an incomparable level of risk and state-sanctioned persecution. This is the case with LGBTQ activist Levan Berianidze, who recently came to HRC’s attention after he and his friends were attacked by a mob and by police in his home country of Georgia. After the incident, Berianidze, who recently shared his story with HRC Global's Jean Freedberg, is demanding that the Georgian government directly address these anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, and develop an independent task force to root out corruption among police.