Paul Penny from Rainbow International reviews a benefit gig at the Union Chapel

Grace Petrie

Grace Petrie

Solidarity sounds last week reverberated around London’s Union Chapel as some incredible musicians came together for an exciting fundraiser for union-backed Rainbow International LGBT Activist Solidarity Fund.

The audience thrilled to the performance of Grace Petrie who is quite simply the best radical acoustic artist around.

Singing her song I do not have the power to cause a flood – written in response to the contemptible claims by UKIP councillor David Sylvester that severe floods in the UK were caused by the passing of same-sex marriage legislation – Grace rebuked the casual bigotry, masked as banter, of BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and warned “But if I had the power to cause a flood, Oh I’d send one right to Russia, straight to Putin’s door, to wash away the prejudice and then never more would he make statements that equate us all to paedophiles” “Oh I’d send one to Uganda where Museveni says Gay and bi and trans “abnormals” need a cure”.   Just brilliant!

The Chapel stage rocked to the well-loved punk/indie pop band Colour me Wednesday with their catchy hooks, harmonies and gang vocals. And the wonderfully glittery Daniel Versus the World delighted the audience with his inimitable ‘queer pianarcho peace punk’ songs about equality and love. Nia, a rapidly emerging singer-songwriter talent on the London acoustic scene, wowed the crowd with her steal resonator guitar and awesome Americana songs.

Acoustic songwriter Chris Hicks treated the audience to a superb special guest set and a song he wrote and dedicated to 17 year-old Leelah Alcorn, an American transgender girl whose suicide in December 2014 attracted international attention after she posted a poignant suicide note to her Tumblr blog, accusing her devout Christian parents of refusing to acknowledge and accept her female identity and forbidding her from transition. Leelah expressed her hope that her death would create a dialogue about discrimination, abuse and lack of support for transgender people. Chris Hicks’ moving song carries the dialogue forward.

The Rainbow International Fund works to promote human rights, worldwide, particularly the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people facing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity by all or any of the following means:

  • Contributing to the sound administration of human rights law;
  • Commenting on proposed human rights legislation;
  • Raising awareness of human rights issues;
  • Promoting public support for human rights;
  • Promoting respect for human rights among individuals and corporations;
  • Strengthening and supporting, through the awarding of grants, front line, grass roots, human rights defenders and organisations, worldwide, advocating for the furtherance of the rights of LGBT people and the elimination of human rights infringements and abuses inherent in the criminalization of same-sex consensual sexual conduct; and
  • Educating the public about human rights abuses of LGBT people across the world by publicizing and bringing to the public notice reports from our grant beneficiaries for the purpose of advancing human rights and informing public debate.

Paul Penny works for Rainbow International, a UK-based registered charity providing vital financial assistance and solidarity with frontline, grassroots activists, worldwide, speaking out for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people facing persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity – often at immense personal risk of reprisal and violence.

Trade Unions are strongly recommended to affiliate to Rainbow International as a means of supporting this vital work.

Further details and model motion:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Paul Penny

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