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.