Connect with us


Apparel companies expand LGBT product lines

Nike, Adidas, others marketing to new generation of out fans



gay sports apparel, gay news, Washington Blade
gay sports apparel, gay news, Washington Blade

The Washington Nationals created an LGBT-themed cap and shirt; both items sold out.

After decades of a misconception that the LGBT community isn’t interested in sports, the secret is finally out.

The LGBT community likes to play sports, talk about sports and watch sports. It also actively supports local professional teams. All over the country, LGBT community nights are popping up at college, minor league and major league sports games. And, similar to other community nights that recognize the military and children’s charities among others, sports apparel is starting to appear in support of the LGBT community.

Obtaining the necessary licensing to produce sports clothing related to teams can be tricky. Everything down to the design has to be checked off before items can be produced by approved apparel companies. ’47 is a company that sees a huge opportunity and market for licensed sports merchandise.

Located in Westwood, Mass., ’47 is a licensed partner with Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and more than 650 colleges.

’47  has a niche market with its Black Fives clothing line that honors the all-black basketball teams and their associated cities. The teams existed in the United States between 1904 and 1950 until they were integrated into the National Basketball Association.

’47 is one year into testing the market for the response on another niche market — LGBT sports apparel.

“We are still in the infancy of our LGBT line of apparel,” said Brian Maurer, a sales rep for ’47. “We started on a small scale and so far have only produced caps and shirts.”

’47 first reached out to Major League Baseball, which first approved apparel for the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees.

“We don’t want to focus on the team’s logo. Instead we want to show off the city, the sport and the pride in the city,” Maurer says. “This is about people representing their city.”

Washington, D.C. is home to the popular Night OUT Series hosted by Team DC with LGBT community nights held annually with professional sports teams such as the Washington Nationals, D.C. United, Washington Mystics, Washington Kastles and the Washington Prodigy.

The 11th Annual Night OUT at the Nationals was held in June and ‘47 was contacted by the Washington Nationals to create an LGBT-themed cap and shirt for the event.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive as evidenced by how quickly we sold out of the items,” says Jennifer Giglio, vice president of communications for the Nationals. “We have heard from fans both in person and via social media who loved the items and asked us to stock more of them in the store.”

Due to popular demand, both of the items have been re-issued for this season. The shirt is available at the main team store at Nats Park. The cap is expected to arrive in the next couple weeks and will be available there as well.

“Beginning on opening day in 2016, fans should expect to see more options arriving at the stadium,” Giglio says.

The annual United Night OUT event with D.C. United will be held on Sept. 19 at RFK Stadium and the idea of LGBT apparel was recently proposed to their front office.

“We don’t have anything at the moment, but we certainly support our LGBT fans,” said Craig Stouffer, director of communications for D.C. United. “We’re always listening to the community and considering new and different ideas.”

Three major sports apparel companies have jumped into the market in a different way.

The #BETRUE collection from Nike offers a variety of shoes and shirts that feature rainbow colors as a reflection of the diversity in sports. At least $300,000 has been donated to groups that are furthering the LGBT sports movement such as GO! Athletes.

In honor of LGBT Pride, Adidas released its Pride Pack, which re-imagined three types of iconic footwear into rainbow-themed styles. Proceeds from the line are being donated to Portland-area LGBT groups, including New Avenues for Youth, an LGBT youth advocacy program.

Converse, which is Nike-owned, released three items in the Proud to Be line of its Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Two designs were dedicated to San Francisco and New York because of their history with the LGBT community.

Perhaps the most interesting show of apparel support is coming in the form of minor league teams wearing LGBT awareness uniforms during a match. In some cases it is just in warm-ups, but others such as the San Francisco Bulls (hockey) and Detroit City FC (soccer) played a complete match in those uniforms.

It’s a little far-fetched to think that a team in major professional sports would outfit themselves in LGBT apparel for games that are part of their regular schedule. However, a soccer team in Madrid has set an inclusive example with the release of its first away kit for next season.

Rayo Vallecano has produced a rainbow-themed kit and will donate roughly $10 from the sale of each jersey to seven causes that represent the colors of the rainbow. The seven charitable causes are environmental protection, the fight against HIV/AIDS, sexual discrimination, child abuse, gender-based violence, discrimination for disabilities, and to ”never lose hope.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Washington Football Team embraces Pride Night Out

‘Football is for everyone’



The first-ever Pride Night OUT at the Washington Football Team is set for Thursday.

Team DC launched its ‘Night OUT’ series in 2005 as an LGBTQ community night with the Washington Nationals. 

Over the years, they added events with other local professional sports teams – DC United, Washington Mystics, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Kastles, Washington Spirit, Old Glory DC, Washington Prodigy and Citi Open.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, Team DC will host the first annual Pride Night OUT at the Washington Football Team marking their first partnership with the National Football League.

“We had tried reaching out in the past but eventually made the decision that we would not engage until the name was changed,” says Brent Minor, founder and executive director of Team DC. “We don’t want these community nights to just be a monetary transaction, we want to build bridges and encourage inclusion.”

This week’s game is the Washington Football Team’s Week 2 matchup against the New York Giants and will be televised on Thursday Night Football. 

Along with Pride Night OUT, it will also be a celebration of Latinx Heritage Month and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, who was a pioneer and trailblazer for equality and civil rights during his years with the team as a player and executive.

Frontline workers from the LGBTQ community including Whitman-Walker Health, Food & Friends and medical providers will be recognized and there will be a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s gospel ensemble of ‘Lift Every Voice.’

The new relationship with the Washington Football Team began when they reached out to Capital Pride and Team DC with a request for a cultural competency training for WFT staffers.

“We spoke with about 75 members of their staff, and it wasn’t just a window dressing exercise — people were engaged,” Minor says. “During the training, Night OUT came up, which led to a discussion on corporate perspective regarding the LGBTQ community.”

Another cultural competency training is expected to occur in the future and the Washington Football Team has pledged to have a yet to be determined role at Capital Pride in 2022.

In August 2020, former NFL player Jason Wright was hired by the Washington Football Team to become their team president, where he leads their business operations, financing, and marketing strategies. 

“We went through a leadership change when Jason Wright was hired and the direction of our outreach will be much broader than it was in the past,” says Joey Colby-Begovich, vice president of guest experience, operations for the Washington Football Team. “We want to be intentional in celebrating our communities beyond the traditional football fans and that includes people of color and marginalized communities. Football is for everyone.”

The DMV region is comprised of a broad spectrum of people who represent the changing demographics of our country. Establishing connections to communities where people from different backgrounds and sexual orientations can find commonality is important for any organization interested in social responsibility.

“We are hoping that we can cultivate a broader fan base that feels safe and comfortable in our space. That includes stronger and deeper relationships with our communities and opportunities in our employee base — we want to be involved in the discussion,” Colby-Begovich says. “The support that we shared for Carl Nassib coming out is an example of our direction. There is change happening.”

The excitement is palpable from the D.C. LGBTQ community as more than 100 tickets have already been sold for the inaugural Pride Night OUT at the Washington Football Team.

“I think back to the beginning when we first established a relationship with the Washington Nationals. Years later after the mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando, they reached out and asked, ‘What can we do,’” says Minor. “Establishing these relationships is important and who knows where this leads when you are embraced in a positive way? When you can break down a barrier between the LGBTQ community and the NFL, that’s rarefied air.”

Tickets for Pride Night OUT at the Washington Football Team can be found at

Continue Reading


If a nation? ‘Team LGBTQ’ ranked 11th in medal tally at Tokyo Olympics

182 publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and nonbinary athletes were in Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games



Los Angeles Blade Graphic

TOKYO – Delayed by the coronavirus pandemic by one year and then held under tight restrictions including no spectators or cheering fans in the stands, the Tokyo Olympics drew to a close Sunday with one group of athletes, LGBTQ+ Olympian competitors, having made historic gains.

Affectionately labeled “Team LGBTQ” by OutSports magazine, at least 182 publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and nonbinary athletes were in Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games, more than triple the number who participated at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, the magazine reported.

“In fact, if the LGBTQ Olympians competed as their own country — affectionately labeled “Team LGBTQ” by Outsports — they would rank 11thin the total medal count (right behind France and before Canada), with 32 team and individual medals: 11 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze,” reflected NBC Out.

30 different countries were represented by at least one publicly out LGBTQ+ athlete covering 34 sports, including the first trans Olympians, Team New Zealand’s weightlifter, Team USA’s Reserve BMX racer Chelsea Wolfe, and Team Canada’s Quinn, the 25-year-old, soccer player who goes by a single name and uses the pronouns “they” and “their.”

The most notable Olympic medal win was that of Canadian Women’s Soccer midfielder Quinn, who became the first openly transgender, non-binary athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in another trailblazing moment at the Tokyo Games for the marginalised LGBTQ+ community.

Photo via Instagram

In another Olympic triumph, 27-year-old British diver Tom Daley secured his first Olympic Gold medal alongside teammate Matty Lee winning the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving narrowly besting the defending champions, China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by just 1.23 points. For Daley it was his fourth career Olympic medal including a Bronze Medal won in the the Men’s 10m platform completion at Tokyo as well.

Outsports and NBC Out published the following list of medalists;

The gold medalists were Brazilian swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha for the 10-kilometer event; French martial artist Amandine Buchard for mixed team judo; Venezuelan track and field athlete Yulimar Rojas for the triple jump; Irish boxer Kellie Harrington; New Zealand rower Emma Twigg; U.S. women’s basketball team members Sue Bird, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi; American 3-on-3 basketball player Stefanie Dolson; Canadian women’s soccer team members Quinn, Kadeisha Buchanan, Erin McLeod, Kailen Sheridan and Stephanie Labbe; French handball players Amandine Leynaud and Alexandra Lacrabère; New Zealand rugby players Gayle Broughton, Ruby Tui, Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman; and, of course, British diver Tom Daley, who finally took home the gold for synchronized diving at his fourth Games.

NBC Out’s Dan Avery noted that after she earned silver for the Philippines, featherweight boxer Nesthy Petecio told reporters, “I am proud to be part of the LGBTQ community,” according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Let’s go, fight!” she added. “This fight is also for the LGBTQ community.”

“The presence and performance of these out athletes has been a huge story at these Games,” Outsports founder Cyd Zeigler told NBC Out in an email. “30% of all the out LGBTQ Olympians in Tokyo won a medal, which means they didn’t just show up, they also performed at a very high level.”

Continue Reading


Out British diver Tom Daley takes Bronze medal in men’s 10m platform

“I owe this medal to so many people. I’m standing on the podium but there are so many people behind the medal.”



British Olympic Diver Tom Daley wins Bronze via Team Great Britain Twitter

KASAI RINKAI PARK, Tokyo- After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, 27-year-old British diver Tom Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25

This is the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

With this Bronze win, it will be his fourth overall career Olympic Games medal win after taking the Gold two weeks ago in the Tokyo games along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee. Daley and Lee winning the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving narrowly besting the defending champions, China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by just 1.23 points.

During a post event press conference Daley said; “I am so happy that this Olympics has gone the way it has. I feel like a different athlete, I feel like I’ve been through so many different things over the years.”

“At the end of May, I didn’t even know if I was going to make it to these Games. I tore my meniscus and had knee surgery, I always dreamed I’d be fit enough to come back and dive at these Olympics,” he continued adding, “If someone had told me I was going to win a gold and a bronze, I probably would have laughed in their face. I owe this medal to so many people. I’m standing on the podium but there are so many people behind the medal.”

Reflecting on his medal win the diver noted, “Once you’re in the final, that’s what I love. I love competition when it counts, there was great competition with the two Chinese divers, they pulled away when I missed it a little bit on the fourth dive,” the apparently thrilled Daley smiled and added, “I’m extremely happy to come away with another Olympic medal.”

Continue Reading

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts