Members of the LGBTIQ community are raising crucial funds to assist with the Australian bushfire crisis.
Thousands of homes have so far been destroyed in the fires, with more areas still threatened and cities choked with smoke.
Among the LGBTIQ community groups assisting with bushfire relief are the Bushrangers Basketball club, who are holding an emergency fundraiser pool competition this Friday evening in Melbourne.
“We are devastated by the recent bushfires and are looking for ways to help,” said organisers.
LGBTIQ sports organisation Pride Cup is holding a fundraiser until 17 January, with all profits from merchandise sales going to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund and the CFA Public Fund.
“We have had so many regional and rural communities step up to support the LGBTIQ+ community, and it’s now our turn to give something back where we can,” said organisers.
“While our money raised always works for a good cause, there is none more important right now than the catastrophe we have seen unfold in these fires.
“We have many of our Pride Cup friends and families affected out in Gippsland and regional Victoria.”
The club has pledged to start the fundraiser by donating the $300 prize they recently won in a community challenge.
Athlete Hannah Mouncey is auctioning a World Championship handball jersey to raise funds for bushfire relief and wildlife.
Around the country, LGBTIQ writers are among many supporting bushfire relief through the #AuthorsForFireys initiative.
Author Benjamin Law is auctioning several special prizes, including book packs and the opportunity to meet over lunch or dinner.
Brisbane poet Rae White is auctioning a signed book and zine pack.
“It’s heartwarming to see so many authors participating in #AuthorsForFireys, and exhausting knowing that we’re doing more than our government,” White told Pink Advocate.
“Especially considering so many writers and creatives are underemployed, underfunded, and from marginalised communities.”
Activist Sally Rugg is offering signed copies of her book How Powerful We Are for donations of $50 or more to fire appeals.
In Geelong, the LGBTIQ-owned Piano Bar is among many businesses pitching in to raise funds, the Geelong Advertiser has reported.
A ticketed show on Australia Day has already raised thousands of dollars and aims to reach $260,000 – one dollar for every Geelong resident.
Sydney’s Imperial Hotel is hosting a fundraiser party next Saturday 18 January, with proceeds from entry and drinks going to The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades donations fund.
Entry is $10, with free entry for First Nations people, those affected by the bushfires, and anyone unable to afford the fee.
The event promises to entertain, featuring dozens of DJs and drag performers.
Business and celebrities
As the government has been criticised for inaction on the fires, much assistance has come from businesses, charities, and celebrities.
The Commonwealth Bank has pledged $1 million to the Australian Red Cross’s disaster relief efforts, The Guardian has reported.
Ellen DeGeneres is the latest celebrity to throw her support behind Australia, aiming to raise $5 million for the bushfire appeal.
Delta Goodrem’s new charity song, ‘Let it Rain’, has shot to number one on the Australian charts, with all proceeds going to bushfire relief.