Local LGBT and LGBT-friendly organizations are joining forces to get much-needed funds and supplies to LGBT Bahamians whose lives were upended after Hurricane Dorian.
Thousands of residents of Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are relocating after the storm because they lack access to housing, food, and water. Among that population are presumed to be a significant number of LGBT people.
Pride Fort Lauderdale and the Rustin fund are partnering to get help to LGBT victims as quickly as possible.
“While there are already many organizations working in the Bahamas, LGBT+ people are still frequently overlooked in disaster relief responses,” said Charlie Rounds, who is managing the effort, in a pre-released statement. “In the wake of the first major hurricane of the season, many displaced LGBT+ persons in the Bahamas are urgently in need of safe and friendly temporary housing, as well as the basic necessities for survival.”
The Rustin Fund for Global Equality, founded in memory of gay civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin, is soliciting financial donations online. Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) will distribute those funds to LGBT organizations in the Bahamas. Both the Rustin Fund and CVC work to empower LGBT people in developing countries actively.
“What we like about this is that they are making the funding decisions as to who gets the money because it's their backyard and it's their expertise,” Rounds said. “Our job is to raise awareness here in the U.S. and offer that tax-deductible way, which is all this money is deductible to get into the Caribbean. CVC has been working on these issues in the Caribbean, for more than 20 years. It is an umbrella group of LGBT organizations. I've met these people; I've been to conferences with them, the organizational leaders. Quite honestly that's why this is the best way to go because the money is all going to CVC.”
Pride Fort Lauderdale is collecting supplies that will go to the Bahamas. All three organizations are 501(c) 3 charitable organizations, and all contributions are tax-deductible.
“As we prepare to host the very first Pride of the Americas next April, we are once again reminded that many of our LGBT+ friends in the Caribbean—less than 100 miles from our shores—are still fighting for basic human rights and recognition,” said Pride Fort Lauderdale president Miik Martorell, in a pre-released statement. “It will take years to rebuild the Bahamas, and Pride Fort Lauderdale is committed to aiding the LGBT+ community there that may be overlooked by traditional relief efforts.”
Sunshine Cathedral is working with Church of the Holy SpiritSong (COHSS), and Congregation Etz Chaim, to collect items for storm victims in the Bahamas. Water, non-perishable food, cots, blankets, first-aid kits, debris removal tools, tents, tarps, hygiene kits, diapers, and wet wipes are among the items needed. A collection is underway to gather and deliver the items listed below. Donations of these items will be gladly accepted at COHSS for the next several weeks. COHSS will collect donations on Sundays, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You may also donate items at any of the City of Fort Lauderdale Fire Departments. You can also visit to donate online.
This Saturday, Broward House’s Give A Shift Car Wash will donate half of its proceeds to the Bahamas Relief Fund. (The remaining half will still be going to us here at Broward House's Smart Ride Team Give A Shift.) The car wash is on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dick’s Service Station, 3528 NE 12th Ave, Oakland Park.