Post submitted by Nicholas Braddock and Hannah Wolf, former HRC Membership and Outrearch Interns

Native Illinoisan Joe Rudy is taking the fight for marriage equality to new heights.  Rudy, 26, is preparing to climb Mt. Everest in 2014 with the goal of raising $200,000 to benefit equally the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Equality Illinois Education Project.  

An avid climber, Rudy has climbed both Mount McKinley in Alaska and Aconcagua in Argentina and is excited about the opportunity to increase awareness for LGBT equality. Despite experience, it’s worth noting that Everest is the largest mountain in the world reaching 29,029 feet above sea level making the climb one of the most challenging mental and physical experiences any athlete can undertake. Rudy is currently undergoing intensive physical training to endure the 70 day climb up the mountain’s north side in April of 2014.  Rudy will update regularly during the climb, including video blogs.

"Climbing Everest is a huge task, incredibly difficult for anyone. But, I don't think, in a way, it's much different than the fighting Equality Illinois and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have been doing for years for gay rights" Says Rudy.

Rudy is an openly gay man who takes his training and undertaking quite seriously.  As a member of HRC’s Athletes for Equality program, he hopes to change the minds and raise awareness for LGBT rights around the world. "This climb is relatively short compared to the fight for LGBT rights that these charities have been doing for years, for decades. I'm really excited to be representing these two groups."

This Thursday for those in the Chicago area, Rudy will be hosting a kick-off event fundraiser at the Primitive Gallery in Chicago’s West Loop.  For more information about this event or his endeavor, visit


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