The goal of the project is to identify and fund a number of local non-profit organisations across the continent that are fighting discrimination and advocating for the protection of LGBTI people. Nate’s four-month cycle will be the initial fundraising springboard for the project, and the group hopes to raise money from donors across the world. To date $2700 has been raised so far.
Nate’s ride will take him through ten countries at a pace of about 120 kilometres per day. He will be riding with a group of over thirty international cyclists who are racing either as a personal challenge or for various causes. Nate will be the only rider in the group who is riding for the Out in Africa Ride organisation. The cyclists will camp every night along the way and will take one or two rest days per week. The route will traverse the eastern part of the continent before heading west to Windhoek and then south to Cape Town, where Nate will arrive on May 9.
Nate had the idea to create the Out in Africa Ride project after coming to South Africa to work for Justice Edwin Cameron. Having worked on LGBTI issues in the United States, where he attended Whitman College and Yale Law School, Nate was inspired by Justice Cameron’s writing and by the example set by the judge as an openly gay and openly HIV-positive public figure. Nate arrived in South Africa last February and provided research and writing for the judge as a foreign law researcher through November. During that time, he worked with several other current and former clerks of the Court to develop the Out in Africa Ride project.
The organisation’s philosophy is to serve as a liaison between donors and local non-profits, to promote visibility for those non-profits, and to create dialogue and provide a forum in which new and existing non-profits can receive ideas, inspiration, and support from other non-profits across the continent.
Out in Africa Ride has already identified two local non-profits that it will target for its fundraising. The Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) is a Kampala-based non-profit directed by Adrian Jjuuko that has been instrumental in the successful campaign to overturn Uganda’s harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act. The group is now fighting the passage of a similar law in Uganda and has filed a case in the East African Court of Justice. (See more about the organisation at www.hrapf.org.)
The Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN) is an organisation headed by Anthony Waldhausen that is based in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The group offers a helpline service to LGBTI people and engages in outreach with the surrounding community, meeting with religious leaders, police, and health care practitioners to facilitate awareness and sensitivity to LGBTI issues. The organisation runs a drama group for young adults and plans to open a community centre in the Greater Edendale area. (See www.gaylesbiankzn.org.)
The director of the Gay & Lesbian Network Anthony Waldhausen commented: “We are honoured and privileged to have been chosen as a partner for this very important project. The funds raised would support our vision to create a non-discriminatory, supportive and accepting society in which members of all communities are uplifted and developed.
“We would like to wish Nate all the best and we will be monitoring his journey throughout Africa and reading up on his stories on his blog on the website. I have made a donation of $10 to the cause and I would like to challenge all South Africans to donate that amount or better it. There will be updates on the ride on their website as well and we will keep everyone updated,” said Waldhausen.
Out in Africa Ride aims to identify additional organisations as Nate’s ride through Africa progresses. The group’s website includes a blog detailing Nate’s progress, information and news from the group’s partner organisations, and research concerning the status of LGBTI rights around the continent. The organisation accepts donations in any currency through PayPal, a US-based secure payments application. In the coming months, Out in Africa Ride will provide information on the website about the specific projects developed by the partner organisations that the donations will be used to fund.
The website is currently password-protected and will remain so for approximately the first month of Nate’s cycle as he rides through Egypt and the Sudan. Until this protection is removed, it is possible to access the website with the password: pinkbike.
For more information and to donate, visit the Out in Africa Ride website at www.outinafricaride.org (password: pinkbike).