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Let’s go to the videotape!

From informal local games to triumphs at international tournaments, LGBT sports leagues had banner year

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D.C. Aquatics Club, sports, gay news, Washington Blade
D.C. Strokes, sports, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyle Suib

Kyle Suib of the D.C. Strokes on his way to a gold medal at the World Outgames in Belgium last year. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Freedman).

Washington has long been a leader in the world of LGBT sports and 2013 was another banner year for the clubs and teams in the area.

Stonewall Darts, Arlington Outriders (bicycling), Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club and an LGBT branch of D.C. Triathlon Club emerged as new teams last year along with new leagues that were formed by Stonewall Darts and D.C. Sentinels Basketball.

Sports tournaments were hosted locally in 2013 by the Capital Area Rainbowlers Association, D.C. Sentinels Basketball, D.C. Frontrunners, D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, Federal Triangles Soccer Club, Chesapeake and Potomac Softball, Washington Wetskins Water Polo, Capital Tennis Association, Charm City Volleyball, Lambda Links Golf, Capital Splats Racquetball, Capital City Volleyball and the District of Columbia Aquatics Club.

The international LGBT sports movement saw continued support in 2013 from straight sports allies such as Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Hudson Taylor, Ben Cohen and Patrick Burke. In August, the Washington Blade published its first sports issue with Ayanbadejo as guest editor.

Also gaining momentum in 2013 was the CCE Sports Network, which has focused its attention on covering LGBT sports with a live streaming feed and live commentary. Its video archives of LGBT sports tournaments continues to grow along with its presence on the LGBT sports scene. Look for expanded offerings from the CCE Sports Network this year.

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League, with close to 300 players, just wrapped up season seven of League play with the Maroon Sox defeating the Harvest Mooners in the championship game. They sent two travel teams to Gay Bowl XIII in Phoenix in September where the Washington Generals finished as runner-up in the championship game.

The D.C. Strokes Rowing Club hosted the 20th annual Stonewall Regatta in June along with a multitude of rowing programs. In August, its members returned from the World Outgames in Antwerp, Belgium with multiple medals in the rowing events.

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club hosted the 22nd annual Maryland Swim for Life on the Chester River in July. In August, members won their 11th IGLA World Championships title in Seattle setting multiple IGLA world records in the process. Two months later they hosted the annual Columbus Day Classic which drew 150 swimmers from the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Federal Triangles Soccer Club hosted the fourth season of the Summer of Freedom Soccer League. Players also hosted two competitive tournaments: the Women’s Winter Wrap-Up Indoor Cup and the Rehoboth Beach Classic.

The Capital Tennis Association hosted the Capital Classic XXI in September, which was broadcast live on the CCE Sports Network. Its players also continue to host fall and winter tennis leagues for roughly 300 players.

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League hosted the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series in August, which brought in about 3,000 athletes from across North America. Its Magic Tournament will resume this year. Its members also wrapped up their 31st year of league play with about 500 men and women playing in multiple divisions.

D.C. Sentinels Basketball kicked off the Washington, D.C. Gay Basketball League in January and has just filled all 80 player slots for its second season to begin this month. Its travel teams won two tournaments in 2013: Ballin on the Bayou in New Orleans and the Freedom Festival in D.C.

Charm City Volleyball hosted the Charm City Invitational 28 in April and Capital City Volleyball hosted the President’s Queer Cup Classic in November. In May, Capital City Volleyball and New York’s Gotham Volleyball will co-host the 2014 NAGVA Championships in Washington. The event is expected to draw approximately 1,000 players to the area.

Stonewall Kickball just wrapped up its seventh season in November with 620 players. This month, they will send be sending a travel team to Las Vegas for the Sin City Shootout.

The Washington Wetskins water polo team captured fifth place at the IGLA World Championships in August in Seattle. In October, they hosted the annual Columbus Day Classic and won the team title.

The D.C. Front Runners hosted Pride Run 2013, which was the inaugural running of a chip-timed 5K run and walk coinciding with the festivities of D.C.’s Capital Pride week. They also continue to host an extensive series of runs, walks and running programs.

The D.C. chapter of Ski Bums is hosting its first overnight trip to Snowshoe, W.Va., on Jan. 24-26, with ski-in/ski-out accommodations and a coordinated carpool from D.C. for all participants.

Stonewall Bocce recently completed its fall season with 200 players and Stonewall Darts is just beginning its third season with 108 players.

With all the LGBT sports opportunities in the District, there is truly something for everyone. Besides the teams mentioned above, there are the Adventuring Group, D.C. Velo Cycling, Lambda DanceSport, Lambda Links Golf, D.C. Icebreakers (skating), D.C. Triathlon Club, Capital Splats Racquetball, Rainbow Rock Climbing, Washington Renegades Rugby, Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing, Lambda Divers (scuba), D.C. Lambda Squares (square dancing), Ultimate Out Frisbee and Washington Scandals Rugby.

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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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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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