An annual all-inclusive, pro-LGBT teen dance is set to take place all thanks to funding generated by an unlikely source — the Facebook group that was trying to stop it.
Members of an antigay Facebook page called the Stop Safe Schools Coalition inadvertently raised over $45,500 Australian to help fund a dance that is being hosted by the Minus18 Foundation, a charity organization that advocates for LGBT youth in Australia, International Business Times reports.
Stop Safe Schools Coalition’s original plan was to buy all of the “tickets” to the formal dance so that no one would be able to attend, but the money was actually going to a crowdfunding campaign to cover Minus18's cost of hosting the dance — and provide free tickets to young people who couldn't otherwise attend. “They were donating money to the cause,” IBT notes.
The conservative group is now downplaying its role in the situation. “The Stop Safe Schools Coalition 'ticket buy' was planned within a secret group with the intention to not buy tickets, but by announcing such we would know this was the best way to create publicity and successfully have the Safe Schools Coalition exposed,” the antigay group posted on its Facebook page, denying its alleged involvement. “To clarify, we never bought any tickets and any tickets purchased were by the general public who saw the post.”
Whoever made the donations, Minus18 now has AU$45,595 (at the time of reporting) to host the formal dance, set for April 9 in Melbourne. The funding will help “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex young people afford tickets to a night to feel safe, included, and be themselves,” Minus18 said on its crowdfunding page. Attendees are encouraged to dress as they please and bring their companion of choice.
“We won't let hate win!” the organization added on the page. “Keep sharing and letting LGBTI youth know they're loved, supported, and deserve an an amazing night to be themselves!”
Because of the donations, all tickets to the Melbourne dance will be free, the group noted. Some of the funds will also go to another formal dance for LGBTI teens in November.