A vital new fund has been launched in Central London (Sun 8th Dec). The Rainbow International LGBT Activist Solidarity Fund will provide critical financial assistance to frontline LGBT rights activists – principally in the countries where being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is still illegal – so as to empower individuals and groups to campaign for LGBT rights, sexual liberation, equality, justice, democratic change, and working class unity.
Peter Purton, Trade Union Congress (TUC) LGBT Policy Officer, pledged his full support for the fund and the backing of the TUC.
Stephen Chukwumah, International human rights defender and Executive Director of Improved Youth Health Initiative, welcomed the fund and spoke of the need to support LGBT rights work where it is under attack, and the importance of an emergency fund to support activists under threat and take advantage of urgent advocacy opportunities.
Janine Booth (RMT Union Council of Executives) welcomed the fund and explained the importance of building working class unity and challenging homophobia where human rights are denied to people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Urooj Arshad, Associate Director of International Youth Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth. Washington DC, welcomed the fund and described the scale of LGBT rights work still to be done in so many countries.
Frank Mugisha, also highlighted the importance of the fund and the need to increase support for LGBT organisations and activists working in very hostile environments.
Guests at the launch event exchanged ideas and shared a vision of action for change and how the fund will open up new possibilities for the wider LGBT community across the world. A steering committee and advisory committee will be established and comprise community representatives to bring experience and knowledge to the new organisation to ensure the fund is a great success.
A fundraising target of £10,000 in the first six months was announced at the launch. Applications for financial assistance will be processed after 8th June 2014.
For more information about the fund and to donate to the fund: www.rainbow-international-fund.org
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