Bremen, Germany hosted its annual LGBTQIA+ Pride parade on August 26, 2023, featuring a momentous first - the participation of Afghanistan’s LGBTQIA+ community marching openly under the banner of the “Afghanistan Rainbow” organization. This marked the first time that LGBTQIA+ Afghans took part in a Pride event, aiming to unite advocates while bringing attention to the dire human rights situation facing LGBTQI+ people in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's authorities, local society, and extremely religious groups have long oppressed LGBTQIA+ individuals, with conditions worsening under Taliban rule since 2021. Afghanistan Rainbow sought to break the “silence” of the international community on these issues through their historic presence in Germany, according to organizers. The Afghan group emphasized the need for an immediate evacuation and resettlement plan for LGBTQI+ Afghans fleeing persecution.
Marchers carried signs in multiple languages demanding “Immediate Evacuation of Afghanistan’s Queers.” Ali Tawakoli, founder of Afghanistan Rainbow, said marching openly symbolized solidarity with LGBTQI+ people unable to live freely in Afghanistan. "We wanted to hold our first pride parade after years of repression in Afghanistan," he told media.
Afghan marchers were welcomed by Bremen Pride organizers, who stated: "All people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, must be able to live a life of freedom and security."
The unprecedented participation of Afghanistan's LGBTQI+ community aimed to draw global attention to the ongoing human rights crisis. Activists urge immediate international action to provide safe evacuation and refuge for persecuted LGBTQI+ Afghans.