TORONTO — On Nov. 1, Rainbow Railroad, an international organization helping LGBTQI people find a path to safety, launches its #60in60 Campaign to save 60 lives in the final 60 days of the year.
At this moment, in one of more than 70 countries around the world, LGBTQI people are facing extreme violence and persecution. So far this year, we’ve already received requests from more than 1200 individuals asking for help, hoping to flee.
“The stakes are high,” said executive director Kimahli Powell. “There are at least 60 individuals, right now, waiting for our help. We need the entire international community to come together and help us give as many people as possible a chance at freedom.”
At any given time, Rainbow Railroad is working on hundreds of open cases.
The goal of the #60in60 Campaign is quite simple: to raise $600,000 and help save 60 lives in 60 days. The Campaign ends on December 31.
“The anti-gay crackdowns we saw in Chechnya in 2017, and in Egypt in 2018, are part of a disturbing trend of violence and persecution from various state leaders who act with impunity,” said Powell, pointing to Indonesia, Bangladesh and Uganda as three additional recent examples. “This is why the number of people who reach out to us each year is growing and we should do more to ensure persecuted LGBTQI people can enter safe countries.”
To date, Rainbow Railroad has assisted more than 600 people escape to safe countries. Each case requires thousands of donation dollars to help just one person escape persecution in their home country.
In 71 countries, queer and trans people can face criminal charges under colonial-era anti-gay laws that can result in life in prison, according to ILGA’s 2017 report. In eight countries, the death penalty can be applied. In many countries, LGBTQI people are outed in the media, attacked by mob violence, sexually assaulted, or rounded up in state-sanctioned crackdowns by police.
Rainbow Railroad is an international charitable organization with headquarters in Toronto that helps LGBTQI people seeking safe haven from state-enabled violence and persecution in countries where homosexuality is criminalized. We provide information, connections, and funding for travel and other associated costs. To get on board with Rainbow Railroad and help save LGBTQI lives, visit www.RainbowRailroad.com or go to Facebook.com/RainbowRailroad.by