Leatherman starts Pride run for Aff youth

By |2018-01-16T16:02:41-05:00June 3rd, 2010|Guides|

On the day of his 10-mile charity run, Rich Long – aka “Trooper” – will most likely wear standard nylon running shorts. However, the black leather armband he’ll wear and the jars full of donations going to the Affirmation youth program will show the world that he and others in the leather community are just as active and proud as other groups in the LGBT community.
On June 5, the 42-year-old leatherman will jog from Affirmations in Ferndale to The Detroit Eagle Leather Club to help build fellowship between the leather community and the larger LGBT community, and to raise money for Affirmations youth. “We’ve got the Dyke March coming up. The bears and the drag queens have their own fundraising things. We’re no different,” says Trooper.
“All we want is for people to realize that we’re people just like everyone else. We have normal lives and do good things for the community.”
“There are people who learn of leather because of certain connotations they see on TV,” he continues. “They think all leather is about it fetishes and spanking. But, no, these are real people that give their time to help other people.”
This is believed to be the first Pride Run in the Detroit area, and though it will only be one man (and maybe some other running friends), Trooper hopes it will grow to a large annual event, with runners of all genders and community identifications. “I’d like to see a run that represents everyone in the LGBT family,” Trooper says. “The drag queens and the leather men – and leather women, we’re all peas in a pod. We’ll be out there running together along with the dykes and the bears and everyone else. We didn’t have time to put it together this year, but we can get people excited for next year. There are a lot of runners in the area who I think would be interested in making this annual.”
Trooper is a member of Frontrunners, an LGBT running group that meets in Royal Oak. He is also Great Lakes Bootblack 2009, which means he is the region’s most skilled shiner of boots and caretaker of leather products. He can often be seen at community events offering his skills.
The run will begin at 7 p.m. at Affirmations and end with a party at Detroit Eagle starting at 9 p.m. Sometime in the middle, Trooper will stop in at Menjo’s for a water break. Money is being collected now through June 5 at Affirmations, the Menjo’s Complex, the Detroit Eagle and at Just 4 Us. Donations are also accepted online at http://www.goaffirmations.org/site/Calendar/195607668?view=Detail&id=123081.
“With the car companies like Ford and GM cutting back their donations, it’s up to individuals to step in and figure out how to support the community center,” Trooper says of his decision to support Affirmations. “I think people should put some thought into what they can do that is fun for them. Anything from a small bake sale to a bar night to a big event – it can be whatever people want to do to raise money and get involved.”
You can find out more about Trooper, and track his progress on his website, http://www.Troopershines.com.

About the Author:

Crystal A. Proxmire
Crystal Proxmire is the editor and publisher of The Oakland County Times. She loves covering municipal governance and cheering on community efforts.