Running of the Gays: Hoofin’ it in Heels for LGBTQ Youth

ROTG posterEvery year, before summer gives way to autumn, Art from Ashes, together with the entire community, holds its annual event, Running of the Gays (ROTG). ROTG is a three-block “marathon” in high heels to raise money for creative programs that support LGBTQ+ youth. This year, we will don our heels burdened with thoughts of tragedies like that at Pulse Nightclub, and our countries continued efforts to bury the rights of the queer community—a sobering reminder of the reason we’re running. 

LGBTQ+ youth face bigotry, discrimination and even hatred in their everyday lives. How we as choose to answer defines us; it sends a message to those who struggle because of their sexual identity, and it sends a message back to our community and world.

Here are some messages the world has sent us:

  • gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other youth
  • 30% of all youth suicides are related to issues of sexual identity.
  • 45% of gays and 20% of lesbians have experienced verbal harassment and/or physical violence during school as a result of sexual orientation
  • 26% of gay and lesbian youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their families over sexual identity.

These statistics echo in the backs of our heads every year as we put on this event. At Art from Ashes, we believe that every person IS a creative genius, which means that the depths to a person’s inner-self is vaster and wider than judgments made by society. Running of the Gays is meant to be a campy celebration of individual expression, yet the implications still remain quite serious. The money raised during this event goes directly to support the programs that have been nourishing our community’s youth for 13 years.

Art from Ashes grows and flourishes when it is part of a larger discussion. So talk to us. Join the conversation. AfA believes that telling all youth, and particularly those struggling with abuse, bullying, despair and homelessness that they matter and that they are loved is one of the most important messages we can send. But we need the feedback and support of the community for that message to be heard. Express how you feel, connect yourself with the community as we strive to do, and let’s transform together.

Register for this year’s Running of the Gays here

Donate to this year’s Running of the Gays here


Running of the Gays 2018

Running of the Gays: Hoofin’ it in Heels for LGBTQ+ Youth

Come out and join Denver’s LGBTQIA community and Allies as we run toward a better future for youth at the 9th annual Running of the Gays!

Running of the Gays flyerGet yer heels (and ankles!) ready to roll… or strut, or hop, or stumble in a 3-block “marathon” in heels to fund creative empowerment programs for queer youth in the Denver community. The event is organized by Art from Ashes, Denver’s LGBTQIA* community and Allies. Each year runners are asked to raise money through sponsorships to trot 3 blocks down 17th Avenue in heels, starting at Ace Eat Serve patio next to Steuben’s Food Service followed by an all ages (until 1.30 pm) after party at X Bar!

Proceeds contribute to continuing transformational creative programs for local youth who identify as LGBTQ+. While the event is silly, the statistics for our LGBTQ+ young people are decidedly unfunny: gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other youths, and 30% of all completed youth suicides are related to the issue of sexual identity; 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians surveyed reported having experienced verbal harassment and/or physical violence during high school as a result of their sexual orientation; 26% of gays and lesbian youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their families over sexual identity. Art from Ashes provides creative programs with proven results that improve self-perception and increase involvement with and connection to the community.

Run a 3-block marathon in heels to help fund creative empowerment workshops for the queer youth in our community! Register with a $40 donation below:

RUNNERS Register here:
(or send by cash or check to Art from Ashes, 1310 West 10th Ave, Denver CO 80204)
The fee entitles runners to the ROTG “I brought the gay” t-shirt, a goodie bag, a free Mimosa courtesy of Steuben’s, and a foot massage!

Runners also seek sponsorships from friends and family to raise money for the youth programs. Download the Runners Packet for more info!

If you are sponsoring a specific runner, please enter their name in the Special Instructions field of the Donate Now window.

So many thanks to our wonderful business sponsors, most of whom have been sponsoring Running of the Gays since 2010! If you’re interested in supporting our youth program, please download our ROTG Sponsor Menu.

Runners gather at the bullpen at Ace Eat Serve/Steuben’s at 11 am to sign in, stretch and enjoy the street show. After Party, foot massages, drag show and silent auction at X Bar from noon to 2 pm!

See on our ROTG Facebook page to see the photos from previous years, as well as find out more information. And be sure to join this year’s event HERE!

Ace Eat Serve



Fleur Salon

X Bar

The Bank of Denver

Charlie's Nightclub Denver

Pizzeria Locale

Thank you to all those who have “come out” in the past. Re-live the fun here: