A person holds a rainbow flag over their head in the sky, with a Rainbow Railroad logo in the top-right corner.

Rainbow Railroad



Rainbow Railroad is an international charitable organization with headquarters in New York and Toronto that helps LGBTQI+ people seeking safe haven from state-enabled violence and persecution in countries where same-sex intimacy and diverse gender expressions and sex characteristics are criminalized.  

In a time when there are more displaced people than ever, LGBTQI+ people are uniquely vulnerable due to systemic, state-enabled homophobia and transphobia. These factors either displace them in their own country or prevent them from escaping harm.

As a result of Rainbow Railroad, more LGBTQI+ individuals can access lives free from persecution, and ultimately, we envision a world where LGBTQI+ people can live lives of their choosing, free from persecution.

Our Impact

Our Emergency Travel Support program (ETS) provides lifesaving resources and travel support to help LGBTQI+ individuals access pathways to safety in other countries. Since 2006, through ETS, we have supported 1,470 people from over 30 countries in their journeys to find safety. 

We provide five complementary programs to support individuals facing state-sponsored violence and persecution.

Cash Assistance

Support from this program includes direct financial assistance, provision of accommodation, and support through access to medical care, essential medicines, and in-country relocation.


This program allows us to collaborate with local human rights defenders (HRDs), activist networks, and grassroots organizations that are positioned to provide us with on-the-ground insights, verification, identification information, advocacy, and support. 

Crisis Response

Our crisis response program monitors and responds to sudden state-sponsored persecution against LGBTQI+ individuals. 

Information Services & Referrals

This program provides resources, mental health support, and advice to LGBTQI+ people facing violence and persecution. 

Complementary Pathways

Complementary pathways are pathways for refugees to access safety that exist in addition to traditional avenues of resettlement by  working directly with governments. 


Through these six different programs, in 2022 Rainbow Railroad supported 4,558 LGBTQI+ individuals facing direct persecution for simply being who they are. 

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Rainbow Railroad

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In recent years, the number of individuals reaching out to Rainbow Railroad has increased exponentially – from just over 2,500 in 2019 to nearly 10,000 in 2022. This year, we anticipate 10,000 LGBTQI+  people from all around the world will reach out to Rainbow Railroad for assistance – an overwhelming number.

With a rise in global humanitarian crises, as well as structural inequalities that disproportionately impact vulnerable populations, we expect this trend will continue.

Rainbow Railroad will help as many as possible, while advocating for the systemic and legal changes needed to help greater proportions of those in need each year.

Our work is funded by the incredible support of donors like you.

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