Rainbow Railroad launches #60in60 campaign to save 60 LGBTQ lives
(Nov. 2, 2020 – Toronto) Today, Rainbow Railroad — an international organization that helps LGBTQI people escape violence and persecution to find a path to safety — launches its #60in60 Campaign to raise $600,000 in the last 60 days of 2020 to save 60 lives. The campaign’s tagline is “You can save an LGBTQI life.”
From now until December 31, the organization will be releasing videos and other multimedia content telling the stories of the brave individuals they’ve helped and explaining the global LGBTQI experience. Viewers can follow along the campaign on social media (@rainbowrailroad).
Stories like that of Amin, (photo and video in press kit below) who with the help of Rainbow Railroad, fled his native Chechnya after he was kidnapped and tortured by police for two weeks. A victim of the infamous 2017 “gay purge”, Amin now lives in safety in Toronto with his partner. His story of escape, facilitated by Rainbow Railroad, was shared with viewers on 60 Minutes in 2019, raising awareness about state-sponsored persecution of LGBTQI people in Chechnya.
Other newcomers the organization helped were also recently featured on Canada’s Drag Race.
It costs approximately $10,000 to help an LGBTQI person find safety, which determined the fundraising goal of $600,000 this year. The campaign will invite people around the world to donate directly or set up their own fundraising page. The campaign ends on December 31, 2020.
“The stakes are high,” stated Rainbow Railroad Executive Director Kimahli Powell. “We now field nearly 3,000 requests for help a year. And at this very moment, we are triaging the cases of hundreds of LGBTQI people around the world who need support right now. We need our community to come together and help us give a chance at freedom to as many people as possible.”
Funds raised will go directly towards helping 60 more people escape life-threatening persecution. The funds will also be used to provide support to individuals who cannot travel due to COVID-19 or other limitations. These include the provision of basic essentials like food and shelter, or travel to a safer location within the country.
The organization has also recently published a snapshot of its impact during COVID-19, which details how it has supported at-risk individuals. The report is included in the press kit.
In 70 countries, LGBTQI people face criminal charges under colonial-era anti-gay laws that can result in life in prison, according to a recent report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). In 11 countries, they can face the death penalty. In alarming numbers, lesbians experience sexual violence, trans people cannot live as their authentic selves and gay men are targets of state sponsored campaigns to entrap and torture them.
At any given time, Rainbow Railroad is working on hundreds of open cases. Since its founding in 2006, the organization has assisted more than 900 people escape to safe countries. With this campaign, the organization hopes to double the amount of people helped by the end of 2022.
About Rainbow Railroad:
Rainbow Railroad is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Toronto that helps LGBTQI people seek safe haven from state-led violence and persecution in countries where homosexuality is criminalized. The organization is a community driven response to mitigate the impacts of global persecution directed towards LGBTQI people. Rainbow Railroad is a registered Canadian charity and 501(c)(3) organization in the United States.