About Us

alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, a civil society organization founded in grassroots activism, is at the forefront of vibrant Palestinian cultural and social change, building LGBTQ communities and promoting new ideas about the role of gender and sexual diversity in political activism, civil society institutions, media, and everyday life.

Embracing the diversity of our society, while challenging the political forces that divide us, we run community centers and events in cities and rural areas across Palestine, operate a national support hotline accessible via phone and online, build partnerships and alliances in established cultural institutions and civil society organizations, create innovative media campaigns, work to transform public discourse, and much more. 

  • Who Are We

    alQaws was born as a grassroots group, formed in November 2007 after working since the end of 2001 as an independent local project in Jerusalem. Our transition to an independent national Palestinian organization was the first step in creating a sustainable, visible, and truly impactful... Palestinian LGBTQ movement that represents a local discourse and uses strategies inspired by alQaws’ activists’ field experience and analysis.

    Our grassroots core remains at the heart of an ever-growing movement that reaches and benefits all of society. We provide Palestinian LGBTQ activists and allies with space for creative and dialogue-based activism, create capacity-building and knowledge-sharing opportunities, build coalitions and alliances with social and political movements, and inspire critical and engaged dialogue on the diversity of sexual and gender identities and practices.

    alQaws has always aimed to work with and across our whole society, despite occupation and apartheid policies that fragment Palestinian society into groups living under different forms of Israeli control and domination and in different socio-political contexts. alQaws creates local youth leadership across four main locations, as well as builds a unified national Palestinian LGBTQ leadership that practices self-determination and strives toward a de-colonized Palestine.

    Our leadership:
    alQaws’ current structure includes: a professional team responsible for general organizational management and project coordination and development; a board of seven directors from various areas and fields of experience; and a national leadership comprising 50 activists: a diverse group in terms of gender, geographic origins, knowledge, and experiences.

    Our national leadership's work intersects with local leadership in four centers: the North (Haifa), East Jerusalem, the Center (Jaffa), and the West Bank (Ramallah). The current professional team includes: a Director (full-time), a Counseling and Groups coordinator (50%), a West Bank Community Organizer (50%), an Advocacy and Networking coordinator (50%) and a Local Media Coordinator (30%).

  • Mission Statement

    Our vision is to contribute to the building of a vibrant and just Palestinian society that celebrates diverse sexualities, sexual orientations, and genders.

    Our Mission Statement: At individual, community, and societal levels, alQaws disrupts sexual and gender-based... oppression, and challenges regulation of our sexualities and bodies, whether patriarchal, capitalist, or colonial. We work collaboratively to transform Palestinian society’s perspectives on gender and sexual diversity, homosexuality and LGBT issues, and to struggle for broader social justice.

    Our locally-based programs support and advocate for diverse LGBTQ individuals and their families, create opportunities that inspire youth to become community leaders, open spaces for diverse communities at local and national levels, develop engaging and relevant educational materials to train civil society organizations, movements, and counseling professionals, and challenge social norms and common misperceptions with far-reaching innovative media initiatives.

  • Our goals

    Engage and support individuals—including, but not limited to, those who identify as LGBT and queer—around diverse lived experiences of gender and sexuality

    Empower influential LGBT/queer communities to become local and national activists, leaders, and social change... actors

    Create and cultivate a locally-relevant, positive, and highly sustainable cultural infrastructure around sexual and gender diversity issues

    Initiate and lead a challenging society-wide discussion that combats oppressive gender and sexual norms and all forms of violence related to gender and sexuality, and constructively promotes a more open and just society

  • Our Politics

    Palestinian community-centered: The Palestinian community that alQaws belongs to defines our work and shapes our priorities and politics. Our work strategies and programs emerge directly from our field experience and careful analysis of the concrete local reality that shapes current social and... cultural attitudes around sexual and gender diversity. For Palestinian society, all grassroots work is affected by Israeli colonialism and occupation. And, alQaws has been demonstrating for over a decade that all political work intersects with issues that are sometimes dismissed as too personal, apolitical, or irrelevant to anti-occupation and de-colonial organizing, such as homosexuality and queer identity, non-normative gender, and so on. In all of our work, we aim to expand our impact on our society through an ever-increasing circle of partners and supporters who adopt our vision, while standing firm in our beliefs and values. Our commitment to supporting and strengthening Palestinian queer/LGBT communities cannot be separated from our vision for a self-determined Palestinian society free from all forms of oppression.

    Local/global, anti-colonial, queer feminist: Drawing from 10 years of grassroots and institutional local activism, as well as our deep connection to other global liberation movements, alQaws’ radical social change vision is firmly built on anti-colonial and queer-feminist values. We seek to overturn the existing oppressive and exclusive social and political structures that not only harm marginalized groups, such as gender and sexual minorities, but also prevent broad social justice.

    Border-defying: Our mission is holistic, rather than single-issue, and as such brings an innovative approach to global and regional gender and sexual advocacy work. Crossing socio-economic, ethnic, religious, ability, and education lines, we work with Palestinian LGBTQ individuals, with a special focus on youth, women, and transgender individuals, as well as with civil society institutions/organizations and society at large. Defiantly challenging imposed colonial borders and decades of Israeli fragmentation policies and apartheid, we work in various locations across Palestine, modifying our strategies and programs as needed. Our hub locations include Yaffa, East Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Haifa, and these home bases and their local communities motivate and inspire us to continue growing our network throughout Palestine. We supplement our physical presence with a virtual presence accessible anywhere, anytime: on our main website, social media, our National listening and information line (alkhat.org) website, and more.