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Road to the Gay Games

Out athlete was late bloomer in swimming

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Lindsey Warren-Shriner, DCAC, District of Columbia Aquatics Club, gay news, Washington Blade, gay games
Lindsey Warren-Shriner, DCAC, District of Columbia Aquatics Club, gay news, Washington Blade, gay games

Lindsey Warren-Shriner says the daily routine of swimming has been a good discipline for her. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

This week in the continuing series on the LGBT athletes of Washington who will be competing at the 2014 Cleveland/Akron Gay Games, we visit with swimmer Lindsey Warren-Shriner of the District of Columbia Aquatics Club.

Warren-Shriner was recently awarded the Rick Meier Windes Memorial Award in recognition of excellence in distance swimming for her performance at the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics Championships in Seattle in 2013.

 

WASHINGTON BLADE:  What is your swimming background?

LINDSEY WARREN-SHRINER:  I took an introduction to competitive swimming class during the fall of my (high school) freshman year to fulfill my P.E. requirement and tried out for the varsity swim team that winter and didn’t make it. I took the class again during the fall of my sophomore year and made the team that winter.

That first year, I was one of the slowest swimmers and didn’t even compete with the team at championships. By my senior year, I had started to focus on distance events and dropped more than 30 seconds from my 500-yard freestyle time in one season. That led to me talking to swim coaches as I visited colleges, which was not something I would have expected even a year earlier.

I went on to swim for Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania for two years and then transferred to Bowdoin College in Maine, in part because they had a phenomenal swim program.   I have been swimming with DCAC since I graduated and moved to D.C. almost four years ago, and I have also done several triathlons and open water races.

 

BLADE:  Did you play any other sports growing up?

WARREN-SHRINER:  I did a lot — soccer, basketball, softball and tennis — and was really bad at all of them. I definitely wasn’t great when I started swimming either, but I liked it from the beginning and was more motivated to get better than I had been with any other sport.

 

BLADE: What events will you compete in at the Gay Games?

WARREN-SHRINER:  I’ll be doing all of the distance events — the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events and the 400-meter individual medley.

 

BLADE:  What will your training regimen consist of leading up to the Gay Games?

WARREN-SHRINER:  I usually go to six or seven DCAC practices a week. I don’t really like going to the gym so I stick with swimming. We practice for an hour and a half and I usually end up swimming almost 4,000 yards a day. We also have one night a week where we have a distance-oriented workout which is good preparation for the events I swim.

 

BLADE:  What is it about swimming that keeps you in the sport?

WARREN-SHRINER: Since I started swimming competitively much later than most of my college teammates, I wasn’t ready to stop swimming when I graduated. I found a great team in DCAC that has motivated me to keep swimming in the almost four years that I have been living here. All of my closest friends in D.C. are swimmers and I love to still have the routine of going to practice every day. While I was fortunate to have had incredibly supportive teammates and coaches as an out athlete in college, being on an LGBT team and a part of that community here has definitely kept me in the sport of swimming as well.

 

BLADE: Any embarrassing swimming stories to share?

WARREN-SHRINER: At the conference championships in my junior year of college, each team had a few high-tech racing suits that got passed around for each of the swimmer’s best events. The suits were extremely tight and impossible to put on without help.

When it was time for me to put the suit on before I swam the 1,650-yard freestyle, my teammates put plastic bags around my feet to get the suit over my ankles, and four of my teammates literally pulled the suit up my legs half an inch at a time while I stood, not helping at all, in the locker room. It was completely ridiculous but I ended up having a great race!

 

BLADE: Have you been to the Gay Games? What are you most looking forward to at the Gay Games?

WARREN-SHRINER: I have never been to the Gay Games, but I have gone to two IGLA championships with DCAC. I love traveling and competing with the team and I am particularly excited for the Gay Games since it is so much bigger than IGLA. I am very excited to be competing at such a big event for LGBT athletes and representing one of the largest LGBT swim teams in the world.

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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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