What is the Rainbow Railroad? It’s a Canadian charitable organization, founded in 2006, based in TORONTO, that helps LGBTQI individuals escape persecution in their homelands.  In 71 countries, queer and trans people face criminal charges under colonial-era anti-gay laws that can result in life sentences. In eight countries, the death penalty can be applied. LGBTQI people are outed in the media, attacked by mob violence, sexually assaulted, or rounded up in state-sanctioned crackdowns by police.

From KIMAHLI POWELL, Executive Director – “Two people are dead and at least 40 have been detained in what appears to be a second wave of a state-sponsored crackdown on LGBTQI people in Chechnya“Since the reports first surfaced two weeks ago, we’ve been connecting with our partners on the ground, such as Russia’s LGBT Network . . . Those who’ve managed to escape (from Chechnya) are still experiencing serious trauma as a result of the humiliation, torture and abuse that they faced there,” Powell says.

Over 1,200 people have asked for help in 2018. To date, Rainbow Railroad has assisted more than 600 individuals’ escape to safe countries.  Several of them now live in TORONTO. For up-to-date information go to