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DC Aquatics win world title

Swimmers take 11th championship in Seattle competition

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DC Aquatics Club, gay news, sports, swimming, Washington Blade
DC Aquatics Club, gay news, sports, swimming, Washington Blade

Members of the DC Aquatics Club recently returned home from a competition in Seattle. (Blade photo by Kevin Majoros)

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club (DCAC) recently returned home to DC after competing in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships (IGLA) in Seattle.  Since winning their first IGLA world title in 1995, DCAC has been hard to beat, racking up a total of 10 IGLA titles. The championships are held each year with every fourth year off during the year of the Gay Games. The only teams that have managed to defeat DCAC since 1995 are New York Aquatics, Paris Aquatique and Team Florida.

“We were happy to see New York Aquatics step up and take the title in 2012,” said swimmer Neill Williams after DCAC came in second in Iceland. “But we will do what we can to win it back in 2013.”

The DCAC team showed up in Seattle with 69 swimmers in tow on Aug. 12 for five days of racing in 51 events. There were 38 teams from around the world competing at this year’s championships.

FIND MORE OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE SPORTS ISSUE HERE.

Over the past two decades, DC Aquatics has had a large core of strong swimmers who have continued to swim fast into their 40s, 50s and 60s. This year’s meet in Seattle saw the emergence of a new crew of 20 and 30-year-olds, to compliment the older swimmers, including some strong female swimmers. Points are scored by age groups in five-year increments. Each age group competes in all 51 events and each person is limited to five individual events and four relays.

After two days of racing, DCAC held a small lead over New York Aquatics. On day three, the records started to fall and the strength of DCAC’s relays proved too much for the New York team. The DC swimmers pulled away in commanding fashion to win their 11th IGLA championship in the large team category.  The Long Beach Grunions won the medium team category and the Philadelphia Fins won the small team category.

Also on hand from DC for the championships were 12 players from the Washington Wetskins water polo team. After several matches during the week, the Wetskins captured 5th place in the water polo competition. The championship match was won by San Francisco Tsumadre.

Other sports contested during the week were synchronized swimming, open water swimming and diving. The diving events included a judging appearance by Olympic diver, Kent Ferguson.

After all the pool events are concluded, IGLA always wraps up with the ever popular Pink Flamingo Follies.  The event is a judged pool deck and water performance set to music and is generally filled with camp and drama. The DC Aquatics performance was set in the Emerald City Starbucks and told the story of Dorothy and Glinda falling in love despite the attempt by the evil dominatrix Wicked Witch of the West to take Dorothy for herself. After getting married, the happy couple rode off into the sunset on blow up Orcas accompanied by their Speedo-clad entourage. DCAC was awarded second place for the performance.

Next year there will be no IGLA, but DCAC will be in Cleveland for the Gay Games.

My DCAC teammates showed determination, endurance and camaraderie during the week of IGLA. Each race was a fight for the wall especially seen during the relays when most everyone posts times faster than their individual swims. Also, a big thank you goes out to the Washington Wetskins for joining us in the swimming events to make our presence even more formidable.

I would also like to share a couple things about my teammates who are among the people that are breaking down stereotypes about the LGBT community.  I am referring to the stereotypes that still exist about our athletic abilities and the things that define us as human beings.  Jeff Dutton and his partner, Kei Koizumi came to compete in Seattle directly from competing at the Out Games in Antwerp, Belgium in swimming and track & field.  Brady Phillips and his partner Matthew Hoffman came to compete in Seattle after five days of hiking in the Cascades Mountains. And Dana Connors wrapped up his week of swimming by heading off to compete in a full Ironman Triathlon.

And finally, Michael Parisi, who brought hundreds of people to their feet during his swim in the grueling 200-meter butterfly. There is a special bond that happens between people when the human spirit triumphs over the limits of the human body.  The moment Parisi hit the touch pads at the end of his swim; he was a hero to everyone in the natatorium.

Congratulations DC Aquatics.  See you in Cleveland.

Results of IGLA are at www.igla2013.org.  Videos can be found under the CCE Sports Network tab.

DCAC can be found at www.swimdcac.org.

The full list of medal winners can be found at the online version of this story.

DCAC Medal Winners:

Missi Duprey  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Garret Garborcauskas  5 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Noura Hemady  6 Gold, 3 Silver

Sara Hewitt  4 Gold, 3 Silver

Alison LaBonte  2 Gold, 2 Silver

Katie Lancos  1 Gold, 4 Silver, 3 Bronze

Elizabeth Lester  3 Gold, 3 Silver

Molly Lincoln  9 Gold

Erin Maehr  7 Gold, 2 Silver

Janna McDougall  3 Gold, 3 Silver

Sarah Quincy  6 Gold, 2 Silver

Charlotte Schou  3 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Meridith Stakem  7 Gold, 2 Silver

Ellyn Vail  3 Gold, 3 Silver

Lindsey Warren-Shriner  9 Gold

Lucas Amodio  9 Gold

Peter Beard  1 Silver

Ted Bockius  3 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Jason Bricker  2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Justin Burkhardt  6 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Dana Connors  1 Gold, 1 Bronze

David Crane  4 Silver, 1 Bronze

John Crowe  1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze

Jose Cunningham  6 Gold, 3 Silver

Nicholas Davidson  3 Gold, 1 Bronze

Fred Dever  2 Gold, 6 Silver, 1 Bronze

Steven Dickens  1 Silver

Andrew Frampton  3 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze

Craig Franz  2 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze

Brendan Garvin  3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Greg Gentry  1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Eric Grasha  4 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze

Todd Harvey  4 Gold, 1 Silver, 4 Bronze

Geoff Heuchling  7 Gold, 2 Bronze

Jonathon Horsford  2 Gold, 1 Bronze

Robert Jeter  2 Gold, 2 Bronze

Matthew Kinney  2 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze

Erich Klothen  1 Gold, 2 Silver

Kei Koizumi  1 Bronze

Joseph LaBriola  6 Gold, 3 Silver

Ross Linderman  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze

Kevin Majoros  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Jeff Mead  5 Gold, 4 Silver

WonKee Moon  6 Gold, 1 Silver

Dawson Nash  1 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze

Sedric Nesbitt  4 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Michael Parisi  3 Bronze

Kris Pritchard  2 Gold

Paul Quincy  5 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Matthew Quinn  1 Gold, 3 Bronze

Brendan Roddy  1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze

Michael Saxvik  1 Gold, 2 Bronze

Evan Schlank  2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze

Dustin Sigward  6 Gold

Sam Smedinghoff  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Fraser Smith  1 Silver

John Tustin  1 Gold, 2 Bronze

John Vail  1 Gold, 6 Silver 2 Bronze

Peter Volosin  7 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Neill Williams  9 Gold

Stanford Young  4 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

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Sports

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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Federal judge temporarily blocks anti-trans youth sports law in Indiana

The injunction requires that A.M., a 10 -year-old trans girl, must be allowed to rejoin her school’s all-girls softball team

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On Tuesday Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued an preliminary injunction that blocked an Indiana law that prevents trans youth from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

The injunction requires that A.M., a 10 -year-old trans girl, must be allowed to rejoin her school’s all-girls softball team while litigation continues.  

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit in April, on behalf of A.M., challenging House Enrolled Act 1041, which bans transgender girls from participating in school sports. 

Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana, issued the following statement: 

“When misinformation about biology and gender is used to bar transgender girls from school sports it amounts to the same form of sex discrimination that has long been prohibited under Title IX, a law that protects all students – including trans people – on the basis of sex.  

“We are pleased that Judge Magnus-Stinson has recognized this and required that A.M. be allowed to play on her school’s softball team.  

“If other students are being denied the right to join a sports team at their school due to their transgender status, we encourage them to contact the ACLU of Indiana immediately.” 

This past May, the Indiana Legislature had voted to overturn Republican Governor Eric Holcomb’s March veto of HB 1041, a measure that bans transgender girls from competing on girls’ K-12 sports teams in the state.

The vote to override the veto means that this law makes Indiana the 8th state to ban trans youth from playing sports in 2022 by legislative action — and the 16th in the country.

In his veto message sent to House Speaker Todd Huston’s office, Holcomb said the bill presumed a problem already existed that required the state to intervene and it implied the goals of consistency and fairness in girls’ sports were not being met.

“After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal,” Holcomb wrote.

“Governor Holcomb was the second governor this year to uphold the dignity of transgender and nonbinary youth, and veto an attempt by lawmakers to write them out of existence. While those young people continue to face unrelenting political attacks, the Indiana legislature voted to override his act of courage and compassion, pushing these marginalized youth even further to the sidelines,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project.

“This bill claimed to solve a problem of ‘fairness’ in school sports in Indiana that didn’t exist, but its negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of trans and nonbinary youth — young people who already face disproportionate rates of bullying, depression, and suicide — are very real. To the young people in Indiana watching tonight: you are stronger than they know. We are here for you, we will fight for you, and we are not going anywhere.”

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