Dublin Lesbian Line speaks to Afghani LGBTQ+ activist Basira Paigham in new podcast episode

The latest episode of Dublin Lesbian Line's Women STAR podcast emphasises how Basira campaigns for Afghanistan’s LGBTQ+ community.

Afghani activist Basira Paigham.
Image: Twitter: @BPaigham

The incredible team over at Dublin Lesbian Line has released its latest episode of the Women STAR podcast featuring Afghani LGBTQ+ activist, Basira Paigham.

Basira is a gender equality activist who was forced to move to Ireland in 2021 after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and in this episode of Women STAR, she performs a stunning poem as an ode to her homeland called ‘Sar zamini man’ by Abutalib Muzafari.

Basira was recognised on BBC’s 100 Women of 2021, and she founded the first official organisation for the Afghan LGBTQ+ community, AfghanLGBT.

On this week’s episode, Laura Louise interviews Paigham as she shares her experience of moving to Ireland as a refugee and discusses the constant threats of violence that queer people and their families face every day in Afghanistan.

The lives of LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan have dramatically worsened under Taliban rule, and Basira describes how any queer person who expresses their sexual orientation or gender identity is at risk. Homosexuality was classified as a criminal offence under the former Afghani government, but a recent Human Rights Watch report demonstrated that the Taliban has taken a more violent and dangerous approach.

During the interview, Basira speaks about the emotional toll that leaving Afghanistan has had on her, and how she continues to campaign for the recognition of Afghanistan’s LGBTQ+ community, their human rights, and their freedoms.

The new season of the podcast launched last month, and regarding this episode, the Dublin Lesbian Line shared, “After the massively successful launch of season 2 of the Women STAR podcast we were honoured to welcome Basira on the show to tell us about the LGBTQAI+ community in Afghanistan, and how their lives dramatically changed after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021.”

Women STAR podcast was created in 2020 to showcase stories LGBTQ+ women, Trans, and non-binary people. It highlights issues related to mental health, emotional resilience, and what it is like to be queer in Ireland.

The podcast is sponsored by Dublin Pride, and is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also find transcriptions of each episode on their website.

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