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Sports: Gearing up for action

Region’s LGBT sports outfits ready to embrace warmer weather

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Team DC Fashion Show, gay news, Washington Blade
Team DC Fashion Show, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s Team DC Fashion Show (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Every spring, the LGBT athletes of the Washington sports community come together to host the Team D.C. Fashion Show and Model Search. This year, it’s on March 9 at Town.

This year’s show features donations of latest fashions from Skiviez, UnderBriefs, Body Aware, Fireboy, Underwear Station, Adam & Eve and Universal Gear. You can purchase the apparel right off the models during the auction.

The event is a fundraiser for the Team D.C. College Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships to local, openly gay student athletes. You can vote for the models before the show online at teamdc.org.

Stonewall Kickball will kick off its spring season on March 17 with games being contested every Sunday through May 19. Registration will close once they reach their max of 480 players. More information is at stonewallsports.org/kickball.

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club will compete in regional tune-up meets leading up to the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatic Championships in Seattle to be held Aug. 12-17.  The swimmers will be looking to take back their world title from Team New York Aquatics. They are online at swimdcac.org.

The Chesapeake & Potomac Softball League (CAPS) will be holding early registration events in March with the spring season beginning on May 5 at Watkins Regional Park. Later in the summer, the CAPS will be looking for volunteers as they host the Gay Softball World Series Aug. 26-31. You can find the CAPS at eteamz.com/caps.

The Federal Triangles Soccer Club will host the annual Women’s Winter Wrapup Indoor Cup on March 24 at the Rockville Sportsplex. Information is forthcoming as the Triangles will once again host the Summer of Freedom League. Details will be available at federaltriangles.org.

Season six of the D.C. Gay Flag Football League began Feb. 24 with play to continue through April 21 at the Carter Barron Fields. Players can still get on the waitlist by going to dcgffl.org.

Lambda Links will begin its weekend golf outings in April with the first golf tournament, the President’s Cup to be held in May. Tee times will be listed at lambdalinks.org.

Registration is now open for the spring season with the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club.  You can sign up for the Learn to Row, Club or Competitive Programs. There is a pre-season camp to be held from March 15-17. Information is at dcstrokes.org.

The spring season for the Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club began last month with practices at Cardozo High School. The Renegades will travel to New York City for the Four Leaf 15s Tournament on March 23. They are online at dcrugby.com.

The Ski Bums hosted a great day trip in February to Seven Springs and are not quite ready to let go of winter as they are currently in Niseko, Japan. This August, they will be traveling to Argentina to check out some South American powder. Trip details are at ski-bums.org.

The Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing Club will ramp up their weekend sails in the Chesapeake Bay in the coming months. Meet up with the sailing enthusiasts for some skipper training or just go along for a relaxing ride. You can join their mailing list at rainbowspinnakers.com.

Charm City Volleyball hosts its social play on Wednesday nights and competitive play on Sunday afternoons. On April 27-28 they will be hosting Charm City Invitational XXVIII.  Information is at volleybaltimore.org.

The Washington Wetskins water polo team is also gearing up for the IGLA Championships in Seattle this August. You can meet up with the players at the Wetskins Mixer at Nellie’s on March 14. They are on Facebook under Washington Weskins.

For all you hockey fans, there will be a Night OUT at the Capitals viewing party on April 6.

The D.C. Icebreakers will host the event and offer a bonus skate from 6-7 p.m. at the Capitals Practice Rink at the Kettler Iceplex in Arlington. Following the skate, the group will head to Baliey’s Pub to watch the Capitals take on the Florida Panthers at 7:30 p.m. The skaters are at dcicebreakers.com.

The Adventuring Outdoors Group has a great list of hikes planned for the spring season. It’s a great time of year to tag along with the hikers to enjoy the flora and fauna of the Washington area. They will also launch their “If It’s Warm Enough” bike ride series this weekend. The trip list is at adventuring.org.

Registration spring tennis is now open for singles and doubles with the Capital Tennis Association. The outdoor leagues will run from March 16 to May 5 and will be held at the Rock Creek Tennis Center. You can register at capital-tennis.org.

George Washington University, a longtime supporter of the LGBT sports community, has invited all volleyball players to their open courts at the Smith Center. This is open to all levels of players for $5. The next dates are March 5 and March 19 from 7-9 p.m.

You can find more information about spring sports outings such as basketball running, ultimate frisbee, rock climbing, racquetball, horseback riding, scuba diving and dancesport at teamdc.org.

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Scottish pro Zander Murray inspires fellow soccer player to come out as gay

Murray, 30, came out during an interview posted on the website of his club, saying “the weight of the world is now off my shoulders”

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Screenshot/YouTube

Two weeks after making headlines as the first-ever senior Scottish pro soccer player to come out as gay, Zander Murray is revealing the impact his courageous decision has had on at least one closeted player. Murray tweeted a message he received that shows the difference an athlete coming out can make. 

“I just wanted to tell you that you’ve been a massive inspiration for me to come out to teammates and family,” the anonymous player told Murray, according to the tweet. 

“As a young footballer I find it difficult to be myself as it is but being gay and keeping it secret was so challenging. It felt amazing when I told my teammates, they were super supportive.” 

Murray shared the message with a heart emoji and the words: “Makes it all worthwhile young man.”

Murray, 30, came out during an interview posted on the website of his club, the Gala Fairydean Rovers, on September 16, explaining “the weight of the world is now off my shoulders.”

Screenshot/YouTube

As the Los Angeles Blade has reported, Jake Daniels of Blackpool came out as gay in May, the first U.K. male pro soccer player to come out in more than 30 years. Justin Fashanu was the first in Britain men’s soccer to come out back in 1990. Homophobic and racist media reports drove Fashanu to suicide eight years later. 

Reaction to Murray’s coming out last month has been “incredible,” he’s told reporters. One of those reaching out to congratulate him was Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley. The U.K. diver sent him a DM, Murray told a British interviewer. 

“He messaged me while I was on my way back from football training in a car with four boys. I had tears in my eyes seeing his direct message, and I messaged him back.

“I said, ‘Look I am in a car on the way back from football with four boys and I’ve got tears in my eyes and I don’t even care.’”

Prior to coming out, Murray had been “living in fear 24/7,” he told Sky Sports. “I can’t explain it. You’re hiding your phone in case you get messages from friends, constantly double-checking if you have a team night out, you’re cautious with what you’re saying.

“It’s very hard, especially for myself, I’m a character in that dressing room. I’m not quiet in that dressing room, I like to have the banter and to get stuck in, so very challenging.”

But Murray said he couldn’t have decided to come out “at a better time, at a better club.” So why now? He posted the answer on Instagram with several bullet points, including:

  • “Gay male footballers in the UK need role models. 
  • Majority are terrified to come out to friends/family/teammates (trust me a few have reached out already!).”

STV Weekend News Sunday, September 18, 2022 Zander Murray

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Gay men challenge Qatar death penalty for homosexuality

Country to host 2022 World Cup

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Dr. Nasser Mohamed (Photo courtesy of Instagram)

Gay men are blowing the whistle now, two months before the World Cup, demanding the host nation of Qatar change its anti-LGBTQ ways.

The Middle Eastern country where Islam is the state religion will welcome soccer players, coaches and fans from all around the planet, beginning Nov. 20, for matches that will pit nation against nation.

Qatar has promised to welcome LGBTQ foreigners, even as its own people are tortured and put to death for being who they are. 

On Monday, Qatar’s ambassador to Germany got an earful from one of those men at a human rights conference in Frankfurt, hosted by the German Football Association, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Fan representative Dario Minden spoke in English directly to Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, about who he is and who he loves, Minden told him to “abolish the death penalty” for homosexuality. 

“I’m a man and I love men. I do — please don’t be shocked — have sex with other men. This is normal,” Minden told Al Thani. “So, please get used to it, or stay out of football. Because the most important rule in football is, football is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re lesbian, if you’re gay. It’s for everyone. For the boys. For the girls. And for everyone in between. 

“So, abolish the death penalty. Abolish all of the penalties regarding sexual and gender identity,” he said. 

Although organizers promised Al Thani an opportunity to respond, the Associated Press reports that portion of the conference was closed to the public and the news media and was not televised. 

Earlier, Al Thani reportedly complained to those assembled that the issue of human rights was a distraction from the World Cup, even though the event was titled, “Sport and Human Rights.” 

“We all care about human rights,” said Al Thani. “But I would have enjoyed (it) more if I saw some concentration not only on just one subject, but the enjoyment of football and the football effect on people around the world.” 

More than 5,000 miles away in San Francisco, a gay Qatari physician has organized a petition to tell the land of his birth: Love Is Not A Crime. 

Doctor Nasser Mohamed decided to come out in 2010 following a visit to the U.S., and spent his residency in Connecticut before moving to California in 2015. 

Mohamed wrote in an op-ed published by Outsports last month that he has spent the last decade caring for the LGBTQ community in outpatient settings and growing as an activist. 

“Being an LGBT person is a criminal offense in the legal system in Qatarm as is sex between two men. There are state-sponsored conversion-therapy practices, and LGBT-affirming psychotherapy is not offered.” He wrote how law enforcement uses media and chat rooms to find, jail and punish people for being LGBTQ. 

“Visibility of the local LGBT community in Qatar, and the exposure of their treatment, are absolutely essential,” Mohamed wrote. “I am doing my part by speaking up.”

Editor’s note: Find out about Mohamed’s petition by clicking here. He is also raising money through a GoFundMe account to provide him with funding for his activism as well as security and protection.

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Sports

Carl Nassib returns to Tampa

Former Las Vegas Raiders defensive end came out as gay in June 2021

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Carl Nassib (Screenshot courtesy of YouTube/KUVV Fox 5 in Las Vegas)

Carl Nassib, who made headlines in June 2021 when he became the NFL’s first out gay active player, reportedly has signed a one-year contract with his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The 29-year-old defensive end was released by the Las Vegas Raiders in March, and became a free agent. NFL sources said that was due to his contracted salary amount — $7.75 million — and not any reflection on his sexual orientation.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news with a tweet

When Nassib came out last summer, he announced he was donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, and for Pride Month this year he made a new pledge to help LGBTQ youth. He promised to match donations to the Trevor Project, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

Will Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady welcome Nassib?

As Outsports reported, he’s never made any comments about playing with someone gay. Brady’s former New England Patriots teammate Ryan O’Callaghan recalled that before he came out in 2017, following his retirement, there was one time that he missed the team bus and Brady gave him a ride in his car to that day’s practice.

O’Callaghan told Outsports he believes Brady would have “absolutely” accepted him if he had come out at that time.

“Being married to a super model I’m sure he’s met a few gay people in his life,” said O’Callaghan.

Brady wed Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bündchen in 2009.

Legendary Boston sports columnist Steve Buckley of the Athletic came out as gay in 2011 while at the Boston Herald. He told Outsports that Brady has always been friendly and cooperative, even after Buckley came out.

This is the second time around at Raymond James Stadium for Nassib. He played for the Buccaneers for two seasons prior to joining the Raiders in 2020. His NFL career began in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns. 

As Jason Owens reported for Yahoo! Sports, Nassib was far more productive in Tampa as a part-time starter, recording 6.5 sacks in 2018 and six sacks in 2019. The NFL’s website shows he played just 242 defensive snaps and earned 1.5 sacks last season. 

In 86 games including 37 starts, Nassib’s recorded 22 career sacks, 164 tackles, 53 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles.

In addition to Brady, Nassib’s new teammates are Akiem Hicks and William Gholston at defensive end and outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Given that the Buccaneers finished seventh in the NFL in sacks last season with 47, Nassib will be expected to improve Tampa Bay’s chances when their season begins on Sept. 11 in Dallas.

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