Nigeria – Safe House Support

Community Health Initiatives for Youth (CHIYN) is an LGBTI-led non-profit organization providing vital health and other social services for LGBTI community members in Minna City in Niger State, Nigeria. Over the past two years, CHIYN has provided health services for over 3,700 members of the community via a drop in center and health outreach sessions-focused on HIV/AIDS, TB, healthy living and of late, COVID prevention.  CHIYN’s motto is like many similar organizations:  “Nothing For Us Without Us.”

Due to extreme homo/transphobia, LGBTI persons are often “kicked out” of their families and homes, and left to fend for themselves,  As a community organization, CHIYN has mobilized the community to help itself.  For the past two years, CHIYN has been able to cover costs of a safe house for numerous LGBTI community members to have safe temporary housing when in need.  This relatively modest home has been a life saver for so many.  During COVID, with such severe restrictions and lockdowns of late, things have gotten worse.  CHIYN’s membership is now struggling to pay the rent for the coming year starting in October 2021 (In Nigeria, rent must be paid for an entire year).  In total, CHIYN is looking for $1,900 for the annual rent.   

Can you chip in to assist CHIYN in their efforts to serve their community? 

Support LGBTQI Haitians directly with Earthquake Relief

Since 1999 SEROvie an LGBTI-identified organization has an established network of eleven (11) centers that serve various communities across Haiti’s ten departments.  Because of the challenge of being an openly LGBTQI-identified organization in a rights constrained country, SEROvie has focused on health and entre to our human rights and community building work. In addition to LGBTQI people, we also serve at-risk adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and sex workers.  

Today, SEROvie works on numerous program interventions: health care and basic nutrition, quality education for the LGBTQI and their children, household economic security benefiting 22,000 clients and their families in 36 communities.

In the aftermath of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that rocked southwestern Haiti, 1,400 people are dead and more than 6,900 others injured, 10,000 people left homeless while hundreds more are still missing.  The southern and western parts of the country, particularly the Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes departments, have withstood the worst of the quake, while some communities closer to the epicenter, yet to be reached and out of contact, and are thought to have been completely devastated.

Despite Tropical Storm Grace weakening into a depression, the system still threatens to dump more than 10 inches of rain over the areas hardest hit by the earthquake this week potentially triggering deadly flash floods that could complicate humanitarian response efforts.

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by LGBTI people, SEROvie developed a specialized disaster response and recovery effort. As an established LGBTQI organization, SEROvie has a unique role in providing support directly to our Haitian LGBTI community. In the past, more generalized disaster response efforts have been quite discriminatory against LGBTQI community members, and our communities have suffered.  Hence, we need to provide support directly to our community!

Based on initial assessments with LGBTQI community members in the Southwest, our priorities and recommendations reflect in that an urgent response is needed – specifically for safety, food and potable water.  Substantial funding is urgently for SEROvie to offer relief in Les Cayes and Miragoane:

  1. Food distribution at our two southern facilities—we estimate we have 320 beneficiaries Cayes in 127 in Miragoane who will need help for at least a two-week period. 
  2. Hygiene kits (water bucket, soap, paste and toothbrush, toilet paper and hygiene pads) distribution for at least 500 beneficiaries.
  3. Tents, pillows, and sheets for at least 500 beneficiaries.
  4. Potable water for at least 500 beneficiaries; and
  5. Organizing emotional first aid and psychosocial support to help LGBTQI cope with grief and trauma within our LGBTQI Friendly Spaces (Biomed articles will be needed and cook food will be offered daily to 450 for a week period).

Please support us with what you can, and the funds will go directly to impacting LGBTQI people in Southwest Haiti.  In partnering with the Rustin Fund, 100% of the funding will go directly to these impacted communities.  

SISTERS

About the organization:

“SISTERS” is the first foundation to provide counseling and guidance exclusively for transgender women by transgender women in Thailand, also known as SISTERS Center Pattaya, which was founded in June 2004.  SISTERS was registered as a foundation in Thailand in September 2014. For almost 17 years, SISTERS has been serving the transgender community in Pattaya and is the largest trans-led service provider in Thailand.  Pattaya is known as capital city of transgender people in Thailand.  SISTERS is run by professionally trained transgender leaders and staff; the largest hiring agency of trans individuals in Thailand.  SISTERS not only works to promote equal access to healthcare services and to advocate for a healthy-lifestyle and well-being of trans people in Pattaya and in Thailand.  Annually, SISTERS serves over 3,700 to 4,300 clients in Pattaya and nearby provinces.

About the campaign:

In Thailand, SISTERS Foundation has worked hand in hand with the trans communities to provide support during the pandemic by starting the campaign titled “Toey Cha-Na” or “Trans will win”. This project aims to provide food pastry to trans people including immigrant workers who are LGBTIQ+ in Pattaya city, Thailand and nearby provinces. With the support from private sectors and the international agency, SISTERS is being able to provide more than 600 bags to the community members whom they cannot reach out the government programs due to their citizenship and discrimination against trans people.

In addition to this project, SISTERS operates day-to-day to provide healthcare services including HIV/STI testing, health consulting, and HIV/STI treatment referral. However, the pandemic has affected SISTERS on their operation due to a decreasing of trans people in Pattaya. Many trans people in Pattaya and nearby provinces now have lost their jobs since the Thai government announced its border restrictions combining with several occasions of lockdown policies due to the pandemic; many members of Sisters decided to move back home where some of them are facing harassment from their unaccepting families. Despite of the government’s policies, trans people are always left out from the governmental programs socially and economically. Also, healthcare services and facilities are not welcome trans people because the services are designed to serve only male and female which has created discomfort to many trans people who desperately need healthcare services. For example, many trans women are forced to stay in the governmental quarantine facilities where they have to share with all male patients because their sex at birth is male.

To continue supporting the trans communities, SISTERS will need support from you to help the organization sustain its work for the trans people as well as to continue hiring experienced staff who help run the program while funding is at stake during the pandemic.

Your donation will help SISTERS run their program and continue to be a “second home” for trans people as this reputation is perceived by the clients/members of SISTERS since its inception. Following are examples of how your donation will contribute to SISTERS’ program and activities:

For more information, please visit the following link:

Website: http://www.sistersthailand.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sistersfoundationTH/

Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko

Fundraising for Black trans women who have been unhoused in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Trans women living in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a post-conflict zone marked by violence, experience all kinds of discrimination and transphobia because of their gender identity and gender expression.  Hateful statements coming from pastors in revivalist churches have rendered these women more vulnerable, reinforcing existing states of precariousness.  This situation has increased the number of trans women living without shelter, worsened their social stability and state of health, and increased their food insecurity.  That is why we must stand up today to say NO and to end this violence and alleviate the suffering that trans women in eastern DRC are enduring.

The funds collected will help a community of trans women who are living in the street and who live by sex work to survive, to have safe housing, free from transphobic threats and attacks.  Many trans women living in this situation have been subject to torture, and some have been subject to “corrective” rape to punish and humiliate them.  The majority of trans women who have survived “corrective rape” are HIV-positive.

Incidents of attacks on the physical integrity and bodily autonomy, attacks on human security, and attacks on general well-being have been recorded: between January and April 2021, six trans women were forced to flee their houses in one town in eastern DRC by law enforcement officers.  Nine transgender women living in the street were physically and sexually attacked, four trans women living in the street were kidnapped and subjected to inhumane treatment, and five trans women were arbitrarily arrested in the street by law enforcement because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Currently, we have identified 57 trans women who sleep in the streets in a large town in eastern DRC, and the number is only growing.  These trans women do not have means to survive, and their lives are in danger.

The funds collected will allow us to build A HOUSE OF HOPE FOR OUR SISTERS, purchasing a house in the town of Bukavu in a safe neighborhood to house trans women, to ensure their food security for one year, and to train them in entrepreneurship.

All funds collected will be transferred to the account of the organization Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko, which will use the funds to buy a house and to make it available to our sisters and to ensure their livelihoods and to train them on entrepreneurship to allow our sisters to have the capacity to seek employment or to create their own businesses.

What happens to our sisters is a daily occurrence, and there is nobody to help them.  Please, support trans women in the eastern DRC today and make a donation with all that you can and share this.

St Vincent Volcano LGBTQ+ Fund #prayforstvincent

Summary

On April 9, the La Soufriere volcano erupted, causing the evacuation of thousands from surrounding villages in St. Vincent. We will provide immediate assistance to LGBTQ+ evacuees affected by the volcanic eruption and already battling with COVID-19 and discrimination in a region that criminalizes their conduct. Our relief assistance will include food packages, clean water, hygiene kits, sanitary products, clothing, heavy-duty face masks, relocation and housing support.

Challenge

LGBTQ+ and PLHIV, already on the margins, face barriers in accessing shelter, food, medical and other assistance during emergencies. With many displaced after the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, LGBTQ+ and PLHIV can fall through the cracks or feel forced to hide their status, sexuality and/or gender identity to access help or avoid discrimination.

Solution

Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) will co-ordinate with partners on the ground in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Dominica, and Saint Lucia to provide emergency assistance to LGBTQ+ persons who have been evacuated from their homes in St. Vincent. This will bolster efforts by eastern Caribbean governments already mobilised to shelter, feed and clothe thousands in need. This project will also provide relocation and housing support, care services, mobile credit for emergency communication and *safe spaces* for those most-at-risk.

Long-Term Impact

The discrimination faced by PLHIV and LGBT+ people in a criminalised environment does not dissipate during an emergency, that the existing challenges are amplified/exacerbated. This is of utmost urgency especially this time with the COVID-19 pandemic still a problem and with the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1st – November 30th) fast approaching LGBTQ+ Vincentians still face a number of challenges. This fund will prevent many LGBTQ+ Vincentians from going back into the closet in order to access emergency assistance and will improve, safety and well-being. It will also strengthen the network of advocacy organisations and their connections to the community.

COLIN ROBINSON HARD HEAD AWARD

Colin Robinson reads from his book “You Have Your Father Hard Head” in New York in October 2019. File photo/Sean Drakes. –

The Colin Robinson Hard Head Award – Description & Purpose

Inspired by the fearless ways in which Colin Robinson uses creative imagination to speak out against injustice, CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice launched the inaugural Colin Robinson Hard Head Award on July 29, 2020, at a joint Bocas Lit Fest/CAISO Sex & Gender Justice event, The Treachery in Every Poem, to celebrate the poetry of Colin Robinson. The award seeks to recognize and honour exceptional leadership in transforming how others see and imagine the world, particularly in the spheres of Transformational Activism, Artistic Boldness and Meaningful Solidarity. The purpose of the annual Award is to support individuals working towards equity and justice for all, whose work – like Colin’s – connects political advocacy, creativity, and coalition building. Named for Colin Robinson’s 2016 book of poems, You Have You Father Hard Head, the Award celebrates Caribbean understandings of the phrase, “Hard Head”,  signifying persistence, stubbornness, relentlessness, and focus.

CAISO’s beautiful, intrepid, and tireless founder, Colin Robinson, passed away on March 4th, 2021 in Washington D.C. after a protracted battle with cancer. Colin’s impact on how sexuality, gender, power, and justice are articulated, experienced, and legislated within the Caribbean was globally felt and recognised. Over the last 40 years, Colin courageously led the conversation around how black and brown people reclaim their queerness in spaces from which they are often shunned. This unfaltering courage led to his co-founding, leading and facilitating several of the most influential LGBTI+ organisations and movements within the Caribbean, namely the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) (founded in 2009) in Trinidad and Tobago – renamed CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice in 2016.

The work of CAISO continues as we build upon Colin’s legacy and decades of coalition and movement building for human rights and social justice. We awarded the 2020 inaugural award during an online ceremony on 21st November 2020, and Colin was with us to announce the winner and honourable mentions: https://caisott.org/the-2020-hard-head-award. The Hard Head Award is part of Colin’s legacy and we invite all those who want to build with us to donate and help us continue to support the work of activists in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond. We look forward to welcoming more nominations for 2021 and in the future with your help.

For more information about CAISO and our work, please visit the CAISO website: caisott.org or email us at caisott@gmail.com

NOTE: Please note that all donations are US tax deductible.

In Memory of Yves Yomb – a founding member of Alternatives-Cameroon

Two months ago, the Rustin Fund was deeply saddened by the death of Yves Yomb – a founding member of Alternatives-Cameroon, one of the first and most dynamic LGBTI organizations in Cameroon.  Based in Douala, Yves had formerly been the Executive Director of Alternatives, serving thousands of LGBTI persons in Cameroon with health and rights programming, as well as helping to build movements of LGBTI persons throughout West Africa.  Yves was humble but bold and brave leader, always championing his community in an extremely homophobic context.
In honor of his life, on what would have been his 45th birthday (Aug 23), the Rustin Fund has teamed up with Alternatives-Cameroon to host a matching grant fundraiser.  The Rustin Fund has secured funding to match donations (up to $2500), towards supporting activities of Alternatives-Cameroon.  Yves championed younger LGBTI people, and there are plans to set up a scholarship fund in his honor.  Your donation will serve to support this effort, as well as continuing the visionary work Yves did in Alternatives-Cameroon.
Please join us in reaching our goal of $5000 to be raised in Yves honor.
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RUSTIN FUND

We here at the Rustin Fund operate as an all-volunteer organization so that all of your funding can do directly to LGBTI organizations all over the globe.  We do still have a few expenses, however, such as website hosting and credit card processing fees.  If you would like to donate to the Rustin Fund’s operations so that we can continue to direct all campaign contributions directly to organizations in low- and middle-income countries, please donate on this page. A donation made on this page may also go to one of our partners at the board’s discretion.