The Out in Africa Ride project is dedicated to identifying and supporting nonprofit groups throughout Africa who are working to fight homophobia, eliminate stigma, and provide legal protection to LGBT people.
The criminalization of same-sex relationships in Africa is currently widespread and alarming. Several countries have been in the news for repressive anti-gay laws, including Nigeria, Gambia, and Uganda, while other countries that have not had extensive media coverage continue to implement equally repressive laws that prohibit same-sex relationships and make these relationships punishable by imprisonment and even death.
Many organizations are working to change the current legal landscape for LGBT people in Africa. In addition to the important work that international organizations perform, local nonprofits are making significant strides forward. The philosophy of the Out in Africa Ride project is that local organizations provide a critical voice that represents the experiences and goals of diverse communities across the continent. They refute the suggestion made by some intolerant leaders that homosexuality is a Western concept, and that the demand for LGBT rights is simply a new way for former colonial powers to exercise control. African-based nonprofits demonstrate through the lived experiences of their members that these statements are nonsense: if anything, the imported Western concept is homophobia itself.
The Out in Africa Ride project believes that while the work performed by these groups is essential, many organizations are relatively unknown and may be underfunded. Conversely, many donors in other parts of the world who are concerned about their LGBT brothers and sisters do not know which organizations need their support. The project was therefore conceived to serve two purposes. First, we hope to provide a forum through which organizations across the continent can communicate with each other about their current campaigns and advocacy strategies. Second, we hope to serve as a liaison between funders and individual projects developed by local organizations.
The immediate goal of the Out in Africa Ride project is to use a 12,000 kilometer bike ride through Africa as a fundraising springboard for several of these nonprofit groups. We have currently identified two organizations that we will be supporting: the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum in Uganda and the Gay and Lesbian Network in South Africa. The project aims to identify additional groups as the bike ride and fundraising efforts progress. The more money we raise, the more organizations we can connect!
The long-term goals of the project include the development of a pool of shared resources that can be used by activists and researchers. We hope to link the research performed by international organizations, which we have compiled in our Interactive Map of Current Laws, with posts and updates about the activities of our Partner Organizations. We look forward to collaborating with a number of international and local groups and we are excited about where that collaboration may lead.
We also hope to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to send us your comments and suggestions. We thank you for your interest in and support of LGBT rights in Africa.