A bunch of gay guys go into a bar in Raleigh, North Carolina and… they come out running.

That’s not a punchline; that’s what WTVD-TV reports actually happens twice a week, when members of the Stonewall Run Club gather at one of two Raleigh bars: tonight they’ll be at the Green Monkey cafe, craft beer and wine bar, as they do every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The club convenes at the Ugly Monkey sports bar at the same time on Tuesday nights.

The Green Monkey, Raleigh, N.C.

Those two gay-friendly Raleigh businesses participate in an initiative started by Stonewall Sports. The national non-profit sports organization was founded in 2010 to provide every athlete an inclusive, low-cost opportunity to take part in sports, without feeling uncomfortable and with the ability to be their true selves.

The Stonewall Run Club was established in 2017 for that purpose.

Stonewall Run Club

“It’s not just a place for the LGBT,” Rusty Sutton told WTVD-TV. He’s one of the owners of The Green Monkey. “It’s a place for the whole community, where everybody just comes together and embraces everybody’s differences.”

It should be noted that in reporting the story, WTVD shared a fun, lighthearted and creatively-produced video featuring members of the club as well as Sutton.

But sadly, Raleigh is not all fun and games and acceptance. HRC gave Raleigh a score of 52 out of 100 on its Municipal Equality Index for how the LGBTQ community interacts with city government and law enforcement, and its lack of discrimination protections in the wake of the HB2 compromise solution.

In fact, WTVD’s headline for this story hinted at a fear that is a sad fact of life for every LGBTQ athlete, especially in a state like North Carolina, where hate crimes spiked by 12-percent in 2017, according to the FBI. Exercising, running or taking part in another solitary sport in some communities could lead to harm. That’s one reason why members of the Stonewall Run Club run together.

Perhaps fear is why the headline and tweet for the story by out content producer and athlete Phillip Knorr said: “This run club provides a safe environment for LGBTQ runners and allies in Raleigh.” Based on his report, the Stonewall Run Club certainly does just that.

Read Knorr’s report and watch the video on WTVD’s website by clicking here.

Stonewall Run Club