Out Airman Will Raise Funds for HIV

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com January 26 2012 4:22 PM ET

A gay airman who came out to his family and the world the day "don't ask, don't tell" was officially repealed, announced that he will raise funds for HIV programs by joining the AIDS/LifeCycle this June.

Randy Phillips, a member of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Germany, will ride 545 miles with thousands of other participants from San Francisco to Los Angeles, with a personal goal of raising $10,000. He's now asking for pledges from the big YouTube following that he's accumulated since coming out last year.

"There's so much stuff I could do with [this platform]. I could show you dumb kitten videos, I could try to sell you corny shirts that nobody wears, or I could try to do something good in the world," he said in a YouTube video. Phillips said he was compelled to join the ride after speaking with filmmaker Ryan Yezak, who created the short clip "The Gay Rights Movement," which also went viral on YouTube earlier this month.

Phillips added, "I haven't been on a bicycle since high school — an actual pedal bicycle. I've never rode 545 miles, but I signed up to do the AIDS/LifeCycle."

Funds raised by AIDS/LifeCycle go directly to HIV services offered by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.