The news has been dominated by America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the takeover by the Taliban. One thing that has not been in the news is how LGBTQ Afghans fear for their lives.
To be clear, they always were at risk. Even during US occupation, Afghanistan was never the bastion of civil rights. However, the Taliban has made new threats against the LGBTQ community, allegedly telling a Germain tabloid that once in power, gay men will be murdered by being crushed to death.
Now, the world is at the dawn of a humanitarian crisis as refugees are escaping to nations around the world, fleeing the new tyranny of the Taliban government. According to the nonprofit, Rainbow Railroad, this threat is even larger for LGBTQ people.
The organization works with LGBTQ individuals around the globe who are looking to escape from persecution in their countries. Rainbow Railroad helps by working both with the refugee and international governments to find homes for those who are at the most risk. In an interview with TIME, the organization says they help around 200 people cross borders every year.
This year, however, they’re expecting an increase in demand. In the interview, Rainbow Railroad’s Executive Director, Kimahli Powell, stated, “…in the coming days and weeks I think we’re gonna find individuals trying to reach out in any way they can, and us kind of searching for solutions at a moment’s notice.”
LGBTQ refugees are a complex and vulnerable group of individuals. Not only do they need to hide their truth in their home country, but special attention needs to be given to which country they’re placed in. Since many nations around the world discriminate against LGBTQ people, finding placement can become complicated.
The US, as well as nations like Canada, have pledged to provide a home for thousands of refugees, but many will still need help. And while it’s too early to predict what will happen, it’s certain that many LGBTQ Afghans will need assistance. To help support the cause, learn more about Rainbow Railroad and the International Refugee Assistance Project.