Even though the Indiana state government scaled back the more discriminatory measures of their controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the battle over extended rights for Indiana's LGBT community continues to wage. To help raise money for LGBT organizations, Lil Bub – yes, the Internet meme – has gathered up 50 artists to join the feline on a benefit compilation called 50 Bands & a Cat for Indiana Equality. The 51-track collection features unreleased songs by the Thurston Moore Band, Thee Oh Sees, Surfer Blood, Of Montreal and many more.
The compilation – spearheaded by Indiana-based label Joyful Noise – also boasts tracks by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Why?, Half Japanese, Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos, Deerhoof, Ought and Lil Bub herself. For $25, music fans will be able to download all 51 tracks as high-quality MP3s and choose one to press on a handmade, hand-numbered, limited-edition 7" lathe-cut record. All net profits from 50 Bands & a Cat for Indiana Equality will benefit Freedom Indiana, the ACLU of Indiana and Indy Pride.
"When planning my intergalactic journey to planet Earth, I specifically picked Indiana for my home because of its humbleness, hospitality and the warmth and love of its people. Indiana is where I was rescued, it's where I found my family, and it's where I made my closest pals," Lil Bub (or the cat's handler) said in a statement. "Everything I have accomplished in my three years as the most famous and inspirational cat on the planet has its roots firmly planted in the soil of Indiana, and has blossomed from the hearts, hands, and minds of its people. "
Last month, Indiana Governor Mike Pence drew the ire of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Apple CEO Tim Cook and much of the nation when he signed the RFRA into law, allowing businesses the right to shun the LGBT community. Following the uproar and planned boycotts – which included a canceled (and since reinstated) Wilco concert – Pence amended the RFRA to include language prohibiting the discrimination of the LGBT community. But while the RFRA has been largely neutralized, there's still more work to be done toward achieving equality in Indiana.
"Without my Indiana compatriots, I would not be where I am today. Despite the unfortunate decisions of Indiana's lawmakers, the true people of Indiana are some of the best people on the planet," Lil Bub added. "This project serves to celebrate those people and their talents, and to make it clear that we firmly believe in equality and acceptance, and won't stand for anything less in our state, or on this planet."