By Josh Watkins
In the LGBTQ community, inclusion is everything. That’s why Stephanie Warren felt a need to found The Gay 10K, a run that will focus on “celebrating and raising funds to support the greater Houston-area LGBT community”—the first of its kind in the city. The run will take place on September 24 at Fish Plaza in downtown Houston.
Warren has always participated in runs for different causes and is proud to be able to use this run as a way to “stand up for what we believe in and for who we are.” With a vision to give back, the team at The Gay 10K is asking the Houston community to suggest organizations that would benefit from such an event. They’ve chosen to conduct a Charity Challenge, so teams can represent an organization that is important to them.
“Speaking for myself,” Warren says, “I am an adoptive mother. I want to help every gay and lesbian couple be able to start a family. I want to have healthcare and resources for those that don’t have the means. We want the LGBTQ community to have outlets for those who feel bullied or unsafe.”
Gay 10K co-founder Donna Early says that they hope to create an event for those who believe that we all deserve to actively pursue happy and healthy lives. Early, who came out late in life, says that in her generation, it was “much harder to be accepted as gay.” Both of her parents passed away before she had the courage to come out, but with the help of her family, she’s been able to embrace pride.
“My son, Tyler, and my partner of nine years, Jessica, encouraged me to be a part of this race, to finally be proud of who I am,” Early says.
With a desire to hold the race yearly in Houston, the team also hopes to expand to other cities. The community plays an instrumental part in this, Early says, and with their support, the race will be able to grow into something “that will help raise awareness and spread LGBTQ love across the nation.”
The race caters to anyone who supports or is a part of the LGBTQ community. “The [race is open to] mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends of the LGBTQ community. You don’t have to be gay to be a part of this race. You don’t have to be a runner to be a part of this race. You just have to want to help better the LGBTQ community.” In addition to the 10K, there will also be a 5K and a 1K for families.
The race is also looking for those interested in coming out to volunteer, sponsor, support a favorite charity, or just watch the race and enjoy the after-party.
What: The Gay 10K
When: September 24, registration at 6:30 a.m.; run at 7:30 a.m.
Where: Fish Plaza, 501 Texas Avenue