Call for global LGBT community to support centre destroyed in Beirut explosion

The oldest LGBT+ community centre in Lebanon was heavily damaged in the catastrophe that hit Beirut and a relief effort has been established to help rebuild the vital service.


OutRight Action International has launched a campaign to support Helem, Lebanon’s oldest LGBT+ organisation. On Tuesday, August 4 2020, a devastating explosion tore through Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, destroying entire neighbourhoods, obliterating houses, killing over 200 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, unable to meet their basic needs.

Helem is based less than 700 metres from the epicentre of the explosion and suffered heavy damages as a result. Thankfully no-one was in the centre at the time.

Many of Beirut’s LGBT+ community lived in neighbourhoods badly affected by the blast with those who survived now facing homelessness and an uncertain future.

Helem are continuing to offer support to the LGBT+ people affected by the explosion with their safe line remaining open.

Helem is working to rebuild the LGBT+ community centre, while also struggling to support countless LGBT+ people who have been affected by the explosion. Helem’s staff and volunteers are also engaged in city-wide relief efforts but are lacking resources to do so.

Tarek Zeidan, Executive Director of Helem, explains:

“Helem’s staff and volunteers have joined the relief effort in Beirut and are working to remove debris, help set up community kitchens, and dispense emergency aid to members of the community who have been affected by the explosion.

“The blast has left more than 300,000 individuals homeless. These funds will go towards helping secure shelter as well as to support our food distribution program which has benefited more than 800 individuals to date.”

100% of all funds raised will be passed on to Helem to use for the support of the LGBT+ community in Lebanon, the centre’s relief efforts, and any other urgent needs on the ground resulting from this catastrophe.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

“OutRight’s mission is to work with local LGBTIQ organizations around the world to promote LGBTIQ equality. When crisis strikes, it is our duty and honour to do what we can to support local activists. This fund will support Helem to recover and rebuild so they can resume their work toward achieving a more equitable future for all LGBTIQ people in Lebanon.”

To make a contribution, visit OutRight Action International’s donation page.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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