The LGBTQI Refugee Crisis in Afghanistan

Produced by the HRC Foundation

Last updated on October 24, 2021

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 (LGBTQI) 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 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.

What HRC Is Doing:

On October 22nd, HRC — along with the Council for Global Equality, Immigration Equality, IRAP, Rainbow Railroad, and ORAM — submitted to the White House a letter along with more than 10,000 signatures gathered on the 10-point appeal below. Read the press release here.

HRC wrote an issue brief highlighting the precarious situation of LGBTQI people in Afghanistan, detailing the background and current landscape.

HRC — along with the Council for Global Equality, Immigration Equality, IRAP, Rainbow Railroad, and ORAM — laid out ten policy recommendations for the Biden Administration, designed to improve the refugee and asylum process for LGBTQI Afghans.

Watch our online panel discussion about the current crisis facing LGBTQI+ Afghans and the urgent need for action by the Biden administration and others to protect them.

What Can You Do?

Despite the humanitarian crisis that is ensuing, there many ways you can support the thousands of Afghan refugees arriving in the United States.

  • Donate to resettlement agencies and community organizations that are providing housing, food, transportation, job trainings and other critical services for refugees as soon as they land.
  • Volunteer your time.
    • Welcome.US is a coalition of national and local non-profits, 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 that 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.
  • 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

Stay up to date by following these organizations advocating for LGBTQI Afghan refugees:

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Related Resources

View AllRelated Resources