Beloved comedian and outspoken marriage equality advocate, Magda Szubanski, has started a rival fundraiser to rugby star Israel Folau.
Folau launched a GoFundMe page to pay for his legal costs. He plans to appeal the decision of Rugby Australia to terminate his contract after a series of homophobic and transphobic social media posts.
A day after the GoFundMe launched, the website took the fundraiser down saying it breached its terms of service. GoFundMe said it did not promote exclusion and discrimination.
But then conservative political lobbying group, the Australian Christian Lobby, stepped in and setup a fundraiser for Folau. It raised almost AU$1,000 per minute (US$696/€610) in its first few hours.
A number of LGBTI allies and advocates, including Szubanski, have launched rival fundraisers.
‘Some friends and I had a feeling — I can’t believe I’m up here talking about this stuff again. I would love to leave this subject behind,’ Szubanksi said on the TV show, The Project.
‘We would like to have a response to Israel Folau that’s not combative. It’s an interfaith group, it’s comprised of Catholics, Muslims, Jews, aethiests and LGBTQI people and we’ve started a GoFundMe called “For Love”.
‘We hope to raise $500,000, 10 per cent of which will go to Twenty10 which is an organisation I’m the patron of. It works a lot with kids often from diverse backgrounds who are kicked out of home because of, you know, basically because of their sexuality.’
Szubanski shot to fame on various TV sketch shows and officiated the famous soap Neighbours’ first gay wedding. International audiences know her as Sharon from the Kath and Kim series.
Other groups have also set up fundraisers for the LGBTI community.
DWTS Australia (DWTS) producer, Ryan Carter, started a fundraiser for Black Rainbow – a suicide prevention group for LGBTI Indigenous Australians. Carter said he learnt about Black Rainbow from drag queen Courtney Act. Act had named Black Rainbow as her charity of choice when she came runner-up on DWTS Australia.
‘I’m a passionate supporter of all LGBTQI+ causes, and inspired by Courtney/Shane, decided I’d list Black Rainbow as the benefactor of any money I’m able to raise,’ Carter said.
Queer journalists Luke Cornish and Gary Nunn also established their own GoFundMe page to tackle homophobia.
The pair are hoping to raise AU$30,000 (US$20,913/€18,360) to make a film ‘that will showcase the love, generosity of spirit and warmth of the international LGBTQI community’.
‘It’ll show why we’re truly heavenly,’ the pair said on their GoFundMe page.