PMB GLN gets generous donation

2015-06-18 06:01
PHOTO: nicole john

At the handover (from left) Thuli Mjwara, Anthony Waldhausen, Shireen Anthony, Nate Freeman and Nkululeko Coco.

PHOTO: nicole john At the handover (from left) Thuli Mjwara, Anthony Waldhausen, Shireen Anthony, Nate Freeman and Nkululeko Coco.

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NATE Freeman donated R45 000 to the Gay and Lesbian Network in Pietermaritzburg after completing the Out in Africa Ride which began in Cairo and ended in Cape Town.

Freeman participated in the ride in order to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in Africa.

Freeman, an American Yale graduate, has been working in South Africa at a law firm in Johannesburg. He biked through Africa, from the top to the bottom, with a group of people who completed 1 200 kilometres in 121 days. He crossed Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia finishing in South Africa.

During his presentation at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Freeman said the only country in Africa that has no criminalisation and protection for the LGBTI community is South Africa. Every other country he passed through had no protection and being a part of the LGBTI community is a criminal offence.

“Going through these countries makes you realise, as a member of the LGBTI community, that the world was not made for you. The world was made for heterosexual people.”

He explained the many difficulties and challenges he heard from the LGBTI people while on his ride. Some people were imprisoned for being gay, some were in hiding and some had to form undercover identities to meet with other people in the LGBTI community in their country.

“It’s hard to know that in some parts of Africa being gay is thought of as a criminal offence. There are countries that have the death penalty for being part of the LGBTI community.

“With this in mind it was hard to go on the ride and know that I would be safe in every country, but I was with a group of people so I didn’t think that I would stick out too much,” he said.

Freeman raised R100 000 during his awareness ride and has identified five gay and lesbian activist organisations to donate to. He plans to continue supporting the various organisations in Africa and hopes to get help from the Western world in creating a space in community for LGBTI people to live in safety and peace.

“We have to work harder to create a world where we fit in and are protected,” said Freeman.

The money donated by Freeman will be used by the GLN for the expansion of their latest community outreach project, the advice centre in Edendale. They plan to expand the project into other parts of the province

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