Founded in 2007, alQaws is the leading Palestinian LGBTQ organization working directly with Palestinian civil society to create a sustainable, persistent, community-based social change movement. Active at every level of society, alQaws supports resilient LGBTQ communities and leads a critical social engagement with sexual and gender diversity, challenging deep-rooted misperceptions and sparking new, locally relevant discourse.
alQaws’ programs in three primary work areas–individual support, community, and social change–empower community members to become engaged in activist, arts and cultural, education and institutional initiatives; they also organize community members to spark change in LGBTQ-inclusive health, education, and media. Their activities include a National Hotline with a new team dedicated to supporting transgender individuals, regular “Hawamesh” community gender and sexuality discussion events, a training-of-trainers program that prepares a new generation of community organizers working with influential civil society partners, and direct in-depth training of leaders in key Palestinian institutions, such as human rights and youth organizations and schools. In 2013, alQaws embarked on an innovative initiative to reach Palestinian youth through alternative music and pop culture, an effort that brought together over 70 community members, well-known Palestinian singers, and music technicians to collectively write and produce gender and sexuality focused songs. Since then, they have continued to increase the visibility of their creative vision in new local media-focused cultural change initiatives, and expand their reach into established professional and educational sectors.
Today, alQaws runs working spaces and active programs in diverse locations that unite fragmented Palestinian communities together across city hubs and rural areas. Drawing from a wealth of activist, professional, and creative capacities, alQaws is promoting alternative approaches to sexual and gender discourse and visibility in Palestinian society, paving the road for a social justice movement in which LGBTQ rights are recognized and accepted as integral to broader sexual and human rights.