Rainbow Railroad — the world’s only international nonprofit solely devoted to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people in danger find legal pathways to safety — launches the #HelpOthersOut campaign, a social media initiative that will raise public awareness and life-saving funds for LGBTQI people who face persecution, violence, and the threat of death in many countries around the world where it remains a crime to be LGBTQI. The campaign, which launches today on social media, comes in advance of Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), an annual celebration of LGBTQI people who can safely come out as their authentic selves.
Rainbow Railroad is encouraging people on social media to change their profile pictures to the “anonymous avatar” to symbolize the countless LGBTQI people for whom it remains impossible to come out due to the threat of violence, persecution, and even death. Social media participants are also encouraged to share a message of support for the LGBTQI people living in the darkness of danger.
On Friday, Rainbow Railroad will highlight the stories of three individuals for whom coming out meant facing extreme violence, torture or jail. They will talk about what it feels like to finally be safe to come out.
Along with spreading the message, people can also make contributions to Rainbow Railroad to help save the lives of LGBTQI people in danger. Supporters are also being asked to contribute to the $100,000 campaign goal. Donors will be able to double the impact of their gift with a matching challenge from The Calamus Foundation, the NYC-based foundation which supports LGBTQI issues, up to $50,000.
Supporters can learn more and take action now at
“Right now, countless LGBTQI people are forced to suffer in silence due to hateful laws that make them the target of state-sanctioned violence, persecution, and even death,” said Rainbow Railroad Executive Director Kimahli Powell. “It’s up to each of us to ‘Help Others Out’ by calling attention to the many countries around the world that puts a target on the backs of their LGBTQI citizens. Coming out is one of the most powerful ways LGBTQI people can change hearts and minds — this Coming Out Day we celebrate those who can safely be who they are, while we remember and fight for those who are forced to live in hiding.”
The world is an increasingly hostile place for LGBTQI people. In almost 70 countries, it is a crime to be LGBTQI. In 11 countries, LGBTQI people can be sentenced to death because of who they are or who they love. Even in some countries where being LGBTQI is not a crime, governments and law enforcement authorities allow or even promote violence and persecution of LGBTQI people.
Since its founding in 2006, Rainbow Railroad has helped save the lives of over 600 LGBTQI people in desperate search for safety. The organization provides life-saving resources, including information, connections, and sometimes funding for evacuation, relocation, and other associated costs for LGBTQI people in imminent danger.