Friday, February 19, 2021

Man Running Across Mississippi for LGBTQ+ Rights

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2021 at 11:41 AM

click to enlarge Mikah Meyers
  • Mikah Meyers

Mikah Meyers is a running man and he’s running across the width of Mississippi in the month of February to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ rights. Meyers, who attended the University of Memphis, started a program called Outside Safe Spaces (OSS) to help create more welcoming outdoor spaces for LGBTQ+ people.

click to enlarge Outside Safe Space Pin
  • Outside Safe Space Pin

After visiting every U.S. national park in 2018, Meyers noticed that outdoor and rural spaces were not as welcoming to LGBTQ+ people, which prompted him to create OSS. A symbol that looks like a rainbow-colored tree serves as a non-verbal way to signify that people in those spaces welcome LGBTQ+ people. 

This running adventure started in September 2020 when Meyers decided to run across the state of Minnesota to bring awareness to the OSS program.

After the Minnesota trip, Meyers wanted to expand his reach. He did a poll on his Instagram asking followers which state they felt was the most homophobic in America. Mississippi was the unfortunate winner of that survey. So, Meyers put on his running shoes and headed to Mississippi. 

“Someone shared that they are a crisis counselor for the Trevor Project Lifeline (LGBTQ suicide hotline) and the majority of their calls come from Florida and Mississippi,” said Meyers.

“I mapped it out and at 170 miles and my six-mile Minnesota daily average, I could cross the state in 28 days," he said. "Perfect timing for February’s 28-day month and escaping the cold up North."

So, that part didn't go quite as planned. Nevertheless, he has persisted even in below-freezing conditions over the past several days. So far, he’s visited the birthplace of Elvis Presley in Tupelo while wearing an Elvis costume on his run. 

At the end of his Mississippi running journey, he plans to have a socially distant finale at Horseshoe Casino in Tunica on February 28th to celebrate his finish. Participants can meet him there at 4 p.m. at the finish line.

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