For nearly two decades, West Hollywood City Councilmember John Heilman has been running marathons to support important causes. For 2018, Heilman has set his sights on running the half marathon at the upcoming Gay Games in Paris, which will take place Aug. 4 to Aug. 12, The half marathon will take place on Aug. 11.
Heilman has participated in Gay Games events in the past in volleyball. The first Gay Games were held in 1982 in the United States. The games are open to all competitors, professionals or amateurs, and are about advocating respect, solidarity and equality. In total, 15,000 participants are expected around 36 different sports. Heilman has created a Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/JohnHeilman with the aim of raising $20,000 to establish a Global Emergency Fund with OutRight Action International for LGBTIQ activists around the world.
“I currently serve on OutRight’s board of directors,” Heilman said in an announcement of the event. “OutRight Action International is an amazing international LGBTIQ human rights organization dedicated to supporting human rights for LGBTIQ people throughout the world. OutRight has been doing everything possible to respond to attacks on our community. When LGBTIQ activists are under attack, OutRight is there to respond.
“With my help, OutRight is setting up a Global Emergency Fund for LGBTIQ human rights. While we’ve made significant progress in advancing equality for LGBTIQ people in the United States, progress has been much slower in other parts of the world. In fact, homosexuality is still a crime in over 70 countries, and in some places, it is punishable by death. It seems like every month, there is a new attack on the LGBTIQ community somewhere in the world.”
Heilman was first elected to the City Council in 1984 and is the longest-serving openly gay elected official in the country. He has served eight terms as mayor. Heilman is a law school professor. He currently teaches at both Southwestern Law School and USC Gould School of Law. He has been an active member of various state, local, and international organizations, having served on the board of directors of both the National League of Cities and the League of California Cities. He is a past board member of the Local Government Commission. He is a founding member and past president of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Local Officials group and is a past co-chair of the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials.