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Successful Sentinels forming league

Local gay basketball team triumphs in Florida tourney

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The D.C. Sentinels represented the region well last month in Florida. This photo of its Red Squad was taken in Fort Lauderdale just after players won the Upper B-Division at the Hurricane Classic. (Photo courtesy the Sentinels)

This week’s LGBT sports news features the launch of a new league, the end of a winning season, some national recognition and a chance to hike off that turkey dinner.

The D.C. Sentinels basketball team traveled to Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 12 to compete in the Hurricane Classic basketball tournament. About 225 players competed in the first gay basketball tournament ever held in South Florida organized by the National Gay Basketball Association.

The Sentinels sent two squads with the Washington D.C. Reds winning the Upper B-Division and the Washington D.C. Blues placing second in the Lower B-Division.

This Saturday the D.C. Sentinels will open registration for the inaugural season of the Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League. For the first time in D.C., they have organized a league for local LGBT and ally athletes of all skill levels to play basketball.

The league will be contested on Thursday nights from Jan. 24 through March 14. The group is expecting to have teams with eight-10 players and a cap of 120 athletes. They have secured the George Washington University Charles E. Smith Colonials Center for league play.

Recently, the Sentinels put out feelers on Facebook looking for a response on the formation of the league. They received replies from about 100 potential players. Registration in the league will be on a first-come-first-serve basis and the draft will occur Dec. 8.

Those interested may register for the league on its Facebook page under D.C. Sentinels. The group can be found on the web at teamdcbasketball.org.

The Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club has wrapped up its fall season with both squads having winning records. The Renegades compete in Division III of the Potomac Rugby Union and their Blues squad finished the season with an 8-2 record. The Reds squad finished with a 9-1-1 record and won Hellfest in Dallas for the second year in a row. More info is at dcrugby.com.

Congratulations to Team D.C. for receiving national recognition from Compete Media for being named Best Team, League or Association. The award is a result of Team D.C.’s accomplishments with its College Scholarship Program, the Night OUT Series and its ongoing support of the region’s 26 LGBT sports clubs.

Executive Director Brent Minor traveled to Atlanta last weekend to accept the award and to attend the launch of the new quarterly sports magazine, Stand Up. The magazine is an offshoot of the Stand Up Foundation created by Ben Cohen. More info on Team D.C.’s activities is at teamdc.org.

For those of you looking to walk off some turkey this weekend, the Adventuring Outdoors Group holds its annual Shenandoah National Park hike Saturday. This year’s hike will be on Compton Peak with two outstanding attractions. One is an excellent overlook where the group will lunch facing a northwestward vista. The other is one of Shenandoah’s spectacular examples of a geological feature known as columnar jointing.

Few have ever seen this basalt formation as the trail to its base has long been poorly maintained. Vast improvements have been made this year by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club which should afford some great views. The group will start its approach to Compton Peak from outside the Park via Chester Gap and the Appalachian Trail.

Total length of the round trip hike will be 4.5 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain.  Bring beverages, lunch and $8 for transportation and trip fees. Meet up is at 9 a.m. at the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot. More details are at adventuring.org.

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Out & About

DC Center to host estate planning seminar series

Three sessions presented by Murray Scheel

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The DC Center hosts a series of talks on end-of-life planning next week.

The DC Center for the LGBT Community and the DC Department on Aging and Community Living will host “Estate Planning Tools with Murray Scheel” via Zoom. 

Scheel will walk guests through the process of taking care of the end-of-life planning business that needs to be addressed during the golden years. Scheel is Senior Staff Attorney at Whitman-Walker Health’s Legal Services.

This event series will consist of three 1.5-hour sessions:

Jan. 19, 3 p.m. – “Tools for while you’re living” (overview, general power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, disposition of remains, etc.)

Jan. 26, 3 p.m. – “Tools for after you’re gone” (living wills, last wills, assets, etc.)

Feb. 2, 3 p.m. – “Healthcare insurance & long term care” (Medicare, Medicaid, correcting misinformation, skilled nursing, hospice care, etc.)

To register for this event, visit the DC Center website.

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Out & About

DC Center to host legal seminar for trans people

Attorney Richard Tappan and paralegal Miranda Shipman to give legal advice

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The DC Center for the LGBT Community will host a “Gender and Name Change Legal Seminar” on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. online. 

Attorney Richard Tappan and paralegal Miranda Shipman will give legal advice and speak on the importance of the legal community within the LGBTQ community, the difficulties of the LGBTQ community in the legal field and name and gender changes. 

Guests can find the link at the DC Center website.

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Books

Seeking love and community in Nicaragua

‘High-Risk Homosexual’ explores author’s youth, coming out

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(Book cover image courtesy of Soft Skill Press)

High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir
By Edgar Gomez
c.2022, Soft Skull Press
$16.95/304 pages

Here. Try this.

It fits you, but the color isn’t flattering. It’s too long, too short, too tight, too loose. That’s not your style, so try something else until you find the thing that looks like you. The perfect thing is out there. As in the new book “High-Risk Homosexual” by Edgar Gomez, when something’s right, it’s right.

He was 13 when he figured out that he was a problem to be solved.

Edgar Gomez’ mother had left him in her native Nicaragua with his tíos, just for a while because she had to return to Florida to work. He wasn’t there without her for long, but it took years for him to understand that his time with his uncles was meant to make him more masculine.

In retrospect, he says, nobody wanted him to be a man more than he did. He wanted to be liked by other kids and so he told lies in school to make himself stand out. He wanted his mother to see his love of pretty things and say that it was OK. He wanted his brother to acknowledge that Gomez was gay, and to tell him that he loved him.

Instead, after his brother left for college, Gomez got his first boyfriend, a boy he came out to but who couldn’t come out to himself. He was called names in school. He came out to his mother, who freaked out about it. He befriended a drag queen, but “Princess” used him.

Things he wanted: a real boyfriend. Love. A ban on the stereotype of a macho Latinx man.

Things he still had, while in college: his mother and older brother. A tormentor-turned-mentor. A part-time job. His weirdness. His virginity.

Things he wanted to lose, while in college: his room at his mother’s house. His virginity, but that wouldn’t happen until later, during a painful one-afternoon-stand with a hot man who said he had a girlfriend. That hurt, both physically and emotionally but like so many things at so many times, Gomez tried not to think about it.

If he never considered what he didn’t have, he says, “I wouldn’t miss it.”

In a way, you could say that “High-Risk Homosexual” is a book in search of a point. It’s really quite random and told (mostly) linearly, but not quite. It has its peaks, but also low valleys. And you won’t care about any of this, because you’ll be enjoying every bit of it.

Yeah, this memoir is good: author Edgar Gomez’s literary wandering makes it feel much like an honest conversation with readers. There are wince-worthy moments that allow empathy here, and experiences that are unique but oddly ubiquitous, that leave space for a sense of sympatico. There are passages that are so wistfully uncomfortable that you might squirm, or start “snort-laughing,” or want to stop a moment and just think.

And there’s room for that, too, so take your time. “High-Risk Homosexual” is an affable book with just enough seriousness to make it worth a try.

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