Gay organisations and venues in Sydney raised thousands of dollars for tsunami relief funds over the New Year’s Eve long weekend.
The AIDS Trust Of Australia collected $45,000 on behalf of CARE Australia in just two days on the streets of Darlinghurst, Newtown, Bondi and in Hyde Park.
Terry Trethowan, the AIDS Trust’s CEO, said he was overwhelmed by the public’s generosity.
Normally we’d expect to collect around $2,500 to $3,000 in a day, he said. People were lining up in the streets to put money in the buckets.
The money will help CARE deliver urgent aid to the countries affected by the Boxing Day tsunamis which killed over 139,000 people and displaced at least two million.
Revellers at the New Year’s Eve Pride party donated $2,366 to the AIDS Trust for the cause. Organiser Jude Tarran said some partygoers put $50 and $100 notes into the collection buckets.
Midnight Shift Club raised $1,200 for the AIDS Trust tsunami fund at their New Year’s Eve party Heaven.
Trethowan said it was rewarding to be able to help the cause, especially as HIV/AIDS is such a big issue in the tsunami affected countries and a lot of positive people will be suffering adverse effects as a result of this disaster.
At Arq, Australian Idol star Cosima led the crowd in a minute’s silence before performing her song When The War Is Over.
She’s the first person I’ve ever seen who could actually shut everybody up in the entire Arena, Arq’s promotions manager Michael Slavin said. Over the weekend every Arq staff member donated a percentage of their tips to the Australian Red Cross and the club is looking at further ways to raise money for victims of the disaster.
Stonewall Hotel collected around $800 from patrons on the weekend for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). The venue will continue raising money this week.
According to reports, 36 members of the Sri Lankan gay organisation Companions On A Journey were killed in the tsunami while another 12 members remain unaccounted for.
These are numbers that we have received so far, Sherman de Rose, the group’s executive director, told news organisation 365Gay.com. The coastal line which the tourists frequent is destroyed entirely. So, along with it, whatever the gay-friendly places were, were destroyed as well.
At the devastated Thai resort of Phuket, a popular destination for gay travellers, locals said most of the gay businesses were far enough from the beach to escape serious damage.
The San Francisco-based Rainbow World Relief, the world’s first LGBT relief organisation, is raising funds at www.rainbowfund.com.