Afghanistan: The Impact On LGBTQIA+ Afghans One Year Later
The LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way in the fight for acceptance. However, our voices matter and will be heard. Many LGBTQIA+ community members have fought for decades for the right to be seen and heard.
About Episode 25
One year after the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, we hear from Ozlam and the radical changes that have unfolded since the Taliban regained control.
About Ozlam (she/her/hers)
Ozlam, the organizer of the protest in Pakistan for LGBTQIA+ Afghans, is the advocacy officer for the organization Roshaniya.
She is considered one of the bravest Transgender activists alive today and the Malala of Afghanistan — as she emerges as an icon for LGBTQIA+ Afghans and LGBTQIA+ youth in Islamic countries and beyond.
Ozlam has mobilized dozens of brave LGBTQIA+ Afghan activists to show up and fight for their right to live and be free.
Her interview is translated by Sohil — photographer and videographer for Roshaniya.
Follow Ozlam on Twitter!
Dr. Ahmad Qais Munhazim (they/them)
Dr. Ahmad Qais Munhazim is genderqueer, Afghan, Muslim, and perpetually displaced; they are an assistant professor of global studies at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Munhazim was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. As an interdisciplinary scholar, de/colonial ethnographer, and community activist, Munhazim’s work troubles borders of academia, activism, and art while exploring everyday experiences of displacements and war/conflicts in the lives of queer and trans-Afghans in Afghanistan and its diasporas. Munhazim holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota.
Follow Dr. Ahmad Qais Munhazim on Twitter!
Bilal Askaryar (he/him/his)
Bilal Askaryar is the communications coordinator for the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign, a national campaign for asylum rights in the United States. The Women’s Refugee Commission is a member of the campaign.
Before joining WRC, Bilal worked with the Immigration and Refugee Program at Church World Service, where he led major media engagement strategies to rebuild support for the United States Refugee Admissions Program and dismantle the Muslim Ban. Previously, he led a landmark collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Turquoise Mountain Foundation to bring former refugee and internally displaced artisans from Afghanistan to showcase their work at the Freer and Sackler Galleries.
While pursuing his master’s degree in international development at the School of International Service at American University, Bilal was the communications liaison at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C.
Listen in as we hear from Ozlam, Dr. Ahmad Qais Munhazim, and Bilal Askaryar!
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Michelle Meow, Producer & Host
Michelle Meow is the host and producer of “The Michelle Meow Show.” The program’s tagline is: ‘Your A-Z, covering the LGBT, LMNOP, and everyone in between.’ Michelle’s mission is to construct opportunities for people to listen to deep conversations to develop understanding and empathy. She shares, “We simply don’t have enough opportunities to talk and not enough moments to listen.” Michelle’s show can be heard in San Francisco and nationally on the Progressive Voices Network, and her local T.V. show can be seen on KBCW TV and Channel 44.
Michelle also produces programs at the iconic Commonwealth Club, where she has also served on their Board of Governors. There she is dedicated to conversations around social justice with an intersectional lens. She has interviewed notable thought-leaders such as Olympic medalist Adam Rippon, NFL’s first out LGBTQ coach Katie Sowers, the first American woman in space, and Sally Ride’s widow Tam O’Shaughnessy. Since 2006, Michelle has been a co-host of the San Francisco Pride Parade broadcast and was President of their Board of Directors from 2014 to 2018. She is a self-described LGBTQI+ history geek, information sponge, and lover, not a fighter.
Michelle shares, “Exchanging thoughtful dialogue can create change. We are all different, but we find similarities and hope in our differences. Exchanging thoughtful dialogue can create the change we all seek in humanity.”
You can learn more about Michelle and her programming here.
Michael K. Lavers, Global LGBTQIA+ News Contributor
Michael has reported from the Deep South, the United Nations, Cuba, Israel, Brazil, and more than a dozen other countries and territories. In addition, he has appeared on Al Jazeera, BBC, Sirius XM, and other English and Spanish-language media outlets to discuss LGBTQ-specific issues.
Michael holds a degree in journalism and Spanish from the University of New Hampshire. He grew up in Manchester, N.H., and currently lives in Dupont Circle with his husband.