Here at FLAVNT, we love seeing and supporting others helping our community. Our friend Cat Runner has pledged to make 2019 a year of giving back, and we are so grateful to know him and be able to support him!
Cat is a transgender athlete who came out in 2013. A year later, with the love and support of his friends and family, he was able to start testosterone and get top surgery. This gender-confirming surgery gave Cat the confidence and comfort he needed to be able to return to some of his favorite activities and discover new ones.
As an avid rock climber, Cat was eager to return to the wall after top surgery. Little did he know, he’d soon find love for Spartan obstacle course races as well. Since July 2017, Cat has run 12 obstacle course races. This year, he will blow that out of the water, participating in 16 events, totaling 128 miles.
Since Cat came out in 2013 through last year, “128 transgender people have been reported victims of fatal violence in the United States,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. Most of these violent fatalities were transwomen of color. And those are just the reported cases. Many violent attacks go unreported.
Cat wants to bring awareness to the violence the trans community faces, and honor those who have lost their lives to violence since his coming out. He’ll be participating in 128 miles of Spartan races in remembrance of those 128 lives lost since 2013, finishing up the season with the Spartan Ultra which is 30 miles long and has 60 obstacles.
It doesn’t end there, either.
Cat setup a Pledge It campaign in order to raise money that he will donate to our pals over at Point of Pride to support all of their programs that serve the trans community. Started by Aydian Dowling, Point of Pride is a non-profit organization that gives back to the community through their binder donation, trans femme shapewear donation, trans surgery fund, and more. The organization also serves as a great resource for both the trans and trans ally communities.
Cat said he doesn’t enjoy the competition mentality, so he has not competed for money or even to win. But raising money to support such a great cause, plus being able to participate in races he loves, felt like the perfect reason to run for money.
Cat told Point of Pride, “These events are special to me because participating in them means I’ve been able to reclaim my athletic identity. In high school, I stopped participating in athletics all together first because of a medical issue and later because I could not openly compete as a transgender person. There is a comfortability and confidence that I find in racing because I can look at photos and video and be like ‘wow, I did that.’ It is a radical kind of self-love to put your heart into something you’re proud of. When I look back on the races I’ve done I don’t just feel pride in my heart, but I feel it all the way in my bones. These events are a testament to what I’m capable of.”
You can support Cat’s Race For Our Lives campaign, too by pledging per mile or a flat fee on his Pledge It page. If you want to follow Cat’s progress this season, follow him on Instagram @catlikeacat. Also be sure to check out Cat’s video about his campaign on his YouTube channel.