Last weekend at Town Danceboutique, Team D.C. hosted the eighth annual Team D.C. Fashion Show and Model Search. This year’s show featured fashions from Universal Gear, The Leather Rack, T. Christopher, Fireboy Underwear, Body Aware and Skiviez.
The event rose about $9,000 to fund the Team D.C. College Scholarship and to help bring LGBT sports tournaments to the D.C. area. Aaron Lee Smith was crowned this year’s top model.
Since its inception, Team D.C. has continued to evolve and have become the leading force in the LGBT sports community here and also nationally. It was established in 2003 following the prior year’s Gay Games in Sydney when founder and Executive Director Brent Minor realized the need for leadership in the local LGBT sports community.
“Over the years we have established four pillars which are the current focal points of Team D.C.,” Minor says. “We will establish a fifth pillar in 2013.”
Currently the group runs the Night OUT Series which partners the LGBT community with local professional sports teams for an evening of socializing and watching pro sports games. The original Night OUT began with the Washington Nationals and as of last year has grown to include D.C. United, the Kastles, the Mystics, the Wizards and the Capitals.
In 2008, Team D.C. created the annual Team D.C. Champions Awards. This event honors athletes, supporters and local businesses that have made a significant contribution to the local LGBT sports community. In recent years, the Champions Awards have also served as a showcase for the third tent pole of Team D.C.’s activities.
The Team D.C. College Scholarship was also founded in 2008 and each year awards college scholarships to local openly gay student athletes. Last year, due in part to the fundraising success of the fashion show, Team D.C. was able to award three scholarships to deserving students.
Last year Team D.C. created the fourth pillar by establishing the Team D.C. Sports Council, which consists of representatives of the affiliated sports teams and groups and is involved in the leadership and direction of the LGBT sports community in D.C.
Coming in 2013, Team D.C. along with a new organization, the Equality Sports Association, will bring the Freedom Sports Festival to Washington.
“This will not be a mini Gay Games,” Minor says. “It will be a regional event and an opportunity for sports such as kickball, women’s rugby and track to be showcased.” Along with the sporting events at the festival, the group is planning to tie in with an LGBT sports hall of fame to be headquartered in D.C.
Minor hopes the model established here in D.C. will be replicated in other cities across the country. “We are planning to bring the fashion show to eight other cities with the finals to be held in D.C.,” Minor says. “The event is a great opportunity to strengthen and organize the respective city’s LGBT sports community. By having a vehicle to raise funds, each city will be able to launch their own LGBT sports scholarships and sports activities.”
On April 12 at Room & Board at 7 p.m., Team D.C. will host SportsFest, a recruiting event for all 28 of the local LGBT sports teams. Members of each team will be on hand to market their teams and hopefully gain new members.
Check out all the teams at teamdc.org.