A Sydney man has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Indigenous LGBTIQ+ organisation Black Rainbow, to counter a recent page set up by Israel Folau.
Folau set up a page earlier this week, encouraging the public to help him raise money for legal costs.
The rugby star, whose $4 million dollar contract was terminated in May over a number of anti-LGBTIQ+ posts he made on social media saying LGBTIQ+ people would go to hell, has already raised over $300,000.
“I believe the termination of my contract is unlawful, which is why I have started legal proceedings against Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW,” Folau said on his GoFundMe page.
“Rugby Australia have already said that they will ‘divert significant resources’ to fight me in court.
“The money I am asking for is solely to fund the rest of my action in court.”
In response, Sydney resident Ryan Carter decided to establish his own GoFundMe page, with all proceeds going towards supporting Indigenous LGBTIQ+ people.
On the page, Carter criticised Folau’s appeal for money from the public.
“In the wake of his damaging homophobic remarks, and doubling down on his position, Israel Folau has launched a GoFundMe page, seeking $3 million to cover his legal costs… he is seeking the general public’s money to pay for his crusade, which will solely benefit him, and no-one else,” he said.
“As a high-profile figure, Folau is attempting to spread a message that his religious freedom is being attacked and silenced, by Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate his lucrative contract.
“What Folau fails to understand, is the difference between holding a personal religious belief and publicly denouncing LGBTIQ+ people.”
Carter went on to describe the disproportionate rates of mental health issues and suicide afflicting LGBTIQ+ communities in Australia, and said that Folau’s huge profile was “inciting further hatred and discrimination” against an already marginalised community.
To counter it, Carter said he wanted to start his own GoFundMe page to support Black Rainbow and Indigenous LGBTIQ+ people.
“I believe most Australians want the best for each other, and when our mates are down, we rally together and help them out,” he said.
“Intersectionality is crucial in raising awareness of and making progress for marginalised people.
“Let’s raise as much money as we can for a positive cause.”
Founder of Black Rainbow, Dameyon Bonson, said the allyship shown to Black Rainbow and people of colour from the LGBTIQ+ community was “heartwarming”.
“What we, as LGBTIQ+ people of colour, are seeing more, and more often, are actions that rise above platitudes,” he told the Star Observer.
“We are seeing behaviours that go beyond lip service and we are feeling that love.
“What this will do is further raise the awareness of the profound negative impact that homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, intersexphobia, queerphobia has on the mental health all of our community members.
“For us at Black Rainbow, monies from this [GoFundMe] will further help resource us, and strengthen us as we continue to advocate from within both Indigenous and non-Indigenous spaces that Indigenous LGBTIQ+ health, mental health and suicide, and it’s prevention, can no longer be overlooked.”
Bonson said it was important to advocate and champion LGBTIQ+ causes when confronted by homophobia, like that peddled by Folau.
“[His] message has the potential kill vulnerable LGBTIQ+ young people,” he said.
“So we must respond with urgency and with equal measure. How we do it as a community, as the LGBTIQ+ community, is that we do it with love. We do it with camaraderie. We rally together, we join forces, we stand as one.
“Israel’s homophobia impacts not only on us fellow Indigenous people, but as members of a much larger community. We cannot and will not accept or be told that we are going to hell.”
Donate to Carter’s GoFundMe page for Black Rainbow: www.gofundme.com/support-lgbtqi-indigenous-australians