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Gay cyclist riding from Cairo to Cape Town



Nate Freeman, gay news, Washington Blade
Nate Freeman, gay news, Washington Blade

Nate Freeman is riding to fight African homophobia. (Photo courtesy Freeman)

When the Blade caught up with American lawyer Nate Freeman, he was just returning from a long weekend of canoeing on the Orange River in Namibia.

Most anyone else would have been resting because on Jan. 9, Freeman embarked on a 12,000-kilometer bike ride from Cairo to Cape Town that will span four months and travel through 10 countries in Africa.

The Out in Africa Ride is the inaugural project for an initiative that 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.

“A major component of human dignity is the ability to express yourself,” Freeman says. “I was looking for what I could do policy wise and connect that to groups on the ground.”

Freeman requested that this story not be published by the Blade until he passed safely through Egypt and Sudan due to the safety concerns of an LGBT rights advocate crossing their borders.

The Out in Africa Ride is piggybacking on an event known as the Tour d’Afrique and Freeman is one of 40 cyclists on the Tour.  They will only have 20 rest days during the four-month ride and several of the ride days will be a stage race similar to the stages in the Tour de France.

The group of cyclists on the Tour range from people who just want to finish to competitive cyclists. Many are riding for causes of their own choosing.

The obstacles the cyclists will face are enormous and include politics, religion, animals, disease, climate, terrain, injuries and stone-throwing children. Last year, two of the riders on the Tour contracted Malaria and there is the constant threat of Dengue fever.

Freeman, 32, was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Iowa and went on to Whitman College.  He received his law degree from Yale.

He ran cross country and played tennis in high school, but it wasn’t until his college years that he truly found athletics and it began with rock climbing, hiking, dance and ballet. He segued into triathlons after his college years and continues to dance.

After receiving his law degree, he spent two years clerking for the Honorable Tena Campbell and the Honorable Robert J Shelby in Salt Lake City. It was during that time that Judge Shelby struck down Amendment 3 of Utah’s State Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

For the past year, Freeman has been clerking for Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Cameron is the first and only senior South African official to state publicly that he is living with HIV/AIDS. He is widely known for his advocacy of LGBT rights.

Leading up to the Out in Africa Ride, Freeman found himself struggling with the context of the project he was about to initiate.

“I was forming a challenging role to play,” Freeman says. “When you care about an issue and you are not from the place experiencing the issue, it doesn’t always translate.”

The first purpose of the Ride is to get donors to contribute to programs that are not widely known. They have chosen two organizations as their first partners; the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum in Uganda and the Gay & Lesbian Network in South Africa.

The second purpose is to get local programs to link with other local programs and to share their current campaigns and advocacy strategies.

The timing seems right for this kind of connection between the advocacy groups. The criminalization of same-sex relationships in Africa is widespread and growing. Much of it has made the news, but there are instances in lesser known parts of the continent where the laws are incredibly repressive.

The Ride project has presented an interactive map reflecting the current laws in Africa with three countries showing a same-sex relationship death penalty.

“Many of the intolerant leaders in Africa believe that homosexuality is a Western concept and that LGBT rights are a way for former colonial powers to exercise control,” Freeman says. “As for the people of Africa, many of them don’t realize what rights can be available to them.”

As of the release of this story, the cyclists have crossed 2,916 kilometers of terrain with 9,178 kilometers to go.

Despite the challenges, Freeman remains upbeat about the experience and what lies ahead.  Below is an excerpt from his last blog post:

Lest I leave you with a vision that the last week was a complete hellscape, I should point out that the past eight days have included some of the most beautiful moments of the trip. Besides some major bonding time with Simon and with the other cyclists, I was frequently overwhelmed with gratitude for the glimpses of life that I got to see. Very few foreigners ever traverse southern Sudan, and many of the villages we passed are not on any map. Whether it was the vast unpopulated sorghum fields of Sudan or the densely populated but breathtaking highlands of Ethiopia, the scenery more than rewarded the effort it took to view it. Most importantly, I have a sense that I’ve overcome the first major physical and psychological hurdles of the trip. While there are sure to be new challenges ahead, I think Simon and I are ready to face the next three months with a smile. And maybe some body armor.

The Ride can be followed at

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team



Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics



Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels



Tom Daley (Photo by via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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