This article was published on August 24th, 2021
The world has watched stunned over the last few weeks as the Taliban has yet again descended upon Afghanistan in a momentous away, stripping away years of rights and privileges that had been granted over the last 20 years. Those hard-fought rights have been quickly taken away as the Taliban continues to decimate the entire country, with Kabul falling to the forces just a few days ago.
Currently, the secret society of gay men in Afghanistan are in fear of their lives and are living a current nightmare as the Taliban infiltrates neighborhoods and threatens to execute anyone not adhering to traditional Sharia laws. HomoCulture looks into the repercussions and tragedies unfolding in this region in our continuing international coverage.
Taliban forces are removing Afghanistan’s LGBTQ+ presence.
For many years, although still very under the radar, Afghanistan was home to a lively and burgeoning underground scene that was relatively safe for many until a few weeks ago. After having a significant presence and support for years, LGBTQ+ communities in Afghanistan have effectively closed up for fear of reprisal by Taliban forces. Many Afghanistan men that are gay are scared that they will be sentenced to death if outed.
Sharia law, which punishes homosexuality by death, has returned to Afghanistan, and reports cite a radical Islamic judge vowing to sentence gay men to death by stoning or crushing by a 9-foot-wall. The threats of such violent measures have forced many gay men even further underground, many hiding in their homes and not leaving since the Taliban has taken over.
Asylum remains one avenue for protection for LGBTQ+ members.
Homosexual sex has technically punishable by death in Afghanistan for several decades, but according to reports, it has not been applied since the end of the Taliban’s regime in 2001. Current young people are pessimistic about the state of the country and see no future in Afghanistan. Asylum is one route that many have considered, but the ability to actually leave remains low.
The international community has been urged to help Afghanis struggling to leave in the country and escape the wrath of the Taliban, but the uncomfortable reality is that most will not be able to flee and will be exterminated under the Taliban as Jews were by Nazis. Before, gay men in Afghanistan could be imprisoned or beaten, but the current Taliban regime arrests and kills, a factor that has many gays in the country seeking a resolution.
Governments worldwide have been summoned to step up.
The pressure has been mounting not only on the United States to assist those fleeing, but also other countries that could be a place of refuge for those trying to resist the Taliban. According to Canadian charity organization Rainbow Railroad in a statement: “Now is the time for governments to step up and support LGBTQI+ Afghan refugee.”
Canada is one country that is stepping up in its commitment, releasing plans to resettle over 20,000 Afghans, with minorities, female activists, and members of the LGBTQ+ communities prioritized. The United States is only admitting 10,000 refugees this year, which is their lowest number since taking records in 1975, and in 2021 has not surpassed 500 refugees from Afghanistan, a sobering statistic. Undaunted by these numbers, many governors in the United States have urged Biden to allow more refugees into the country, although currently the application process is considerably backlogged since the Trump administration.
As the situation in Afghanistan continues to unfold, HomoCulture will continue to provide the latest news on this story and other stories trending internationally.