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GoFundMe, one of the world’s largest donation platforms, refuses to release money raised by four queer Afghans to help other LGBTQ citizens of their nation. To date, they’ve raised over $48,000- more than double their original goal. However, due to current Taliban control, they’re unable to access a single penny of it. Read on for the full story. 

LGBTQ Afghans Can’t Access Their GoFundMe Donations Under Taliban Control

For those who are unaware, being LGBTQ in a Taliban-controlled nation isn’t just illegal; it carries a brutal and chilling death penalty. Last month, LGBTQ Nation reported that Taliban judge Gul Rahim promised to execute any and all LGBTQ citizens, saying,

“For homosexuals there can only be two punishments: either stoning, or he must stand behind a wall that will fall down on him. The wall must be 2.5 to 3 meters high (8-10 ft).”

 

Qais Munhazim, Bobuq Sayed, and Wazina Zondon- Afghans living in the United States- launched the Emergency Help for LGBTQ Afghans in Afghanistan with one goal in mind- help LGBTQ Afghans still stuck in the nation. They’ve partnered with other groups and individuals working within and nearby Afghanistan to help LGBTQ citizens either escape entirely or access survival needs (food, shelter, and even cell phones to help them communicate with family).

They started with a $20,000 goal. At the time of this writing, they’ve raised $48, 896. Now, those who need it most can’t access a single penny of it. According to BuzzFeed News, when the trio tried to withdraw the funds, GoFundMe notified them via email that it couldn’t  “approve this withdrawal plan due to the crisis.” Instead, the platform told them to “deliver the funds to a charity or non-profit organization,” suck as Doctors Without Borders or UNICEF. While worthy causes, neither are in a position to help LGBTQ Afghans RIGHT now, when they really need it.

Plus, over 1,000 people donated for THIS specific fundraiser, based on an impassioned plea for help from its organizers. If they wanted to donate to other organizations, they would have done so directly. As one of the organizers put it, it’s “disingenuous.” Sayed told BuzzFeed,

“We put our names and accessed our networks to fundraise on behalf of us as individuals. We didn’t fundraise for UNICEF, we didn’t fundraise for Doctors Without Borders. They will not release funds to individuals, even though funds were donated on the grounds that it would be received by individuals.”

GoFundMe released a statement on its website, saying

Due to Taliban control, GoFundMe can no longer transfer money directly to an individual in Afghanistan or release funds that will be transferred to an individual in the country. This means that before a new fundraiser related to the Afghanistan crisis can be launched, our Trust and Safety team must review it to ensure it’s compliant with US and international laws. This also means we have had to place some existing fundraisers under review. Please know, this is not a policy specific to GoFundMe—it is based on laws and global financial regulations that we must abide by.

As of now, the organizers are working to get the funds transferred to a verified non-profit that can actually help LGBTQ Afghans right now, before the Taliban can make good on their horrifying promise to hunt and execute them.

This is a developing story. We’ll update you as we learn more.

Brittany L.
Brittany L.

Brittany (her friends call her Britt) is living the good life with her wife and daughter in the “middle of nowhere.” Surrounded by trees and wildlife, there’s always something new to explore! When she’s not out hiking or indulging in her bird-watching obsession, she loves playing board games with her family. She holds the family record for the most consecutive Trivial Pursuit wins.

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