It’s been almost 55 years since partners John Kiley and Gene Silbert met in a New York bar, and they are still going strong.

To give back to the community, the pair, in their late seventies, have established the Gene and John Athletic Fund of Stonewall that supports young gay and lesbian athletes who have made valuable efforts to promote and create awareness of gay people in sports.

The couple began running later in life for personal fitness and health reasons, but their love of sport continued to grow.

On their website, the couple says that they feel exercise has contributed to a healthy, productive lifestyle, and the athletic community has brought additional texture to their lives.

They wish to promote these benefits for future generations of gay and lesbian athletes and so a scholarship was set up for that purpose.

Together they have completed several marathons and participated in the 1990 Gay Games in Vancouver.

After a hip surgery the couple turned to swimming and Kiley walked away with gold medals at the recent International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championship in Paris.

The couple also sponsors sports programmes for LGBT teenagers who are in special schools or group homes.

Last year, the scholarship went to Shaun Sperling, a runner who also inspired and encouraged thousands of people to complete a marathon that raised money for HIV/AIDS.

“Sport has really transformed us,” the couple told the New York Blade.

“Our objective is to give back to that community that has given so much to us.”

Additional information about the foundation or scholarship information can be found here.

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