The LGBTQI Refugee Crisis in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s August 2021 takeover of Afghanistan has led to international concerns for the safety and livelihood of vulnerable populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex Afghans. Same-sex activity was already criminalized and punishable by death in the country before the Taliban took control, but the new regime’s mandate to rule with the Taliban’s extreme version of Sharia law makes the fate of LGBTQI Afghans even more precarious than before. An exodus of LGBTQI refugees has commenced and will likely expand over the next few weeks and months.

The Human Rights Campaign answered the call to support Afghan refugees by preparing an issue brief highlighting the dire situation of LGBTQI people in the country, detailing the background and current landscape. HRC partnered with the Council for Global Equality, Immigration Equality, IRAP, Rainbow Railroad and ORAM to propose 10 policy recommendations for the Biden administration, designed to improve the refugee and asylum process for LGBTQI Afghans. Jean Freedberg, HRC director of global partnerships, convened a panel discussion about the current crisis facing LGBTQI Afghans and the urgent need for action by the Biden administration and others to protect them.

HRC members and supporters are encouraged to add their names to thousands who have already signed the 10-point action plan urging the Biden administration to adopt these measures to protect LGBTQI Afghan refugees.


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What Can You Do?

There are many ways you can support the thousands of Afghan refugees arriving in the United States.

Donate to resettlement agencies and community organizations.

  • Hundreds of national and local organizations are supporting Afghan refugees by providing housing, food, transportation, job training and other critical services for refugees as soon as they land. Learn more at

Volunteer your time.

  • Welcome.US is a coalition of national and local nonprofits, businesses and political leaders that have compiled resources and opportunities for you to better welcome Afghan families. They have partnered with organizations like Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and IRC, which are offering many ways to get involved.

Become a sponsor.

  • In partnership with local organizations, sponsors commit to personally welcoming new families into their communities through the many facets of this tough transition process. Learn more at

Host a temporary stay for Afghan refugees funded by Airbnb.

  • Airbnb is partnering with resettlement agencies so that if you have any space to share, you could offer housing temporarily for Afghan refugees. Learn more at

To view our resources on supporting and protecting LGBTQI Afghan refugees, visit At this link, HRC members and supporters can add their names to our urgent 10-point action plan to protect LGBTQI Afghan refugees. Your signature will help save lives.


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