My Mission Is… is a podcast series cohosted by Mission’s founder Karina Givargisoff, and singer-songwriter of the U.K. band Texas, Sharleen Spiteri.
This week’s My Mission Is… podcast guest is Arsham Parsi, an Iranian human rights activist. As a gay teenager who lost lost a transgender friend to suicide, Arsham felt compelled to create an underground digital LGBTQ network in the country. Due to the strict laws against homosexuality in Iran, Arsham was then forced to flee to Canada. Since escaping persecution, he has dedicated his life to educating and helping others who face a similar fate. In 2008 he founded The International Railroad for Queer Refugees, which provides information, aid, and training to refugees awaiting emigration. He is also a founding member and CEO of the Marjan Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Toronto that educates people on HIV/AIDS and other STIs, and supports LGBTQ refugees with their newfound freedoms in Canada. He helped raise more than $1 million CAD in 18 months, all while working as a law clerk to support himself and his continuing passion for activism.
This week, Arsham talks with Mission founder and editor-in-chief Karina Givargisoff about the persecution of LGBTQ refugees around the world, the challenges facing non-profit organizations, as well as the personal struggles he encounters in directing the International Railroad for Queer Refugees and the Marjan Foundation.