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More than 7,000 active in D.C. LGBT sports leagues

Kickball, softball, football among 36 sports that draw players



Super Bowl, gay news, Washington Blade
DCGFFL, LGBT sports, D.C. Gay Flag Football League, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

The DC Gay Flag Football League is one of many outlets for LGBT athletes in the city. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In what some consider a little-known development, more than 7,000 LGBT people in the D.C. metropolitan area are actively involved in hundreds of teams and dozens of leagues that play in at least 36 sports ranging from softball, tennis, and kickball to bowling, soccer, and scuba diving.

Steve Frable, president of Team D.C., a nonprofit association that represents and promotes at least 36 LGBT sports clubs, said it’s hard to keep track of the exact number of people involved in the LGBT sports groups because many play more than one sport.

“A lot of people who are into these sports play multiple sports,” he said. “I’m a softballer and a bowler. My partner is a tennis player and a volleyball player and a bowler,” Frable said.

“So we don’t maintain any type of individual database that says this person is a bowler or softballer,” he said. “We just rely on the teams themselves and the clubs to tell us how many people they have.”

Regardless of the exact number, Team D.C.’s official list of LGBT sports clubs and the specific sport they play includes a wide variety of sports that Les Johnson, the immediate past president of Team D.C., said clearly dispels the stereotype that LGBT people shun sports.

“We have a very active legitimate LGBT sports community here in D.C.,” Johnson said.

Frable said one of the largest of the clubs is Stonewall Kickball, which has about 1,000 players competing in numerous leagues and dozens of teams.

The names of some of the clubs, which usually include the sport in which they are involved, include: Lambda Links Golf; Stonewall Dodgeball; Capital Splats Racquetball; D.C. Strokes Rowing Club; Washington Renegades Rugby; D.C. Pride Volleyball League; Eastern Women’s Baseball Club; D.C. Sentinels Basketball; and D.C. Gay Flag Football League.

Some of the sports groups, including the Quantico Orienteering Club, involve lesser known sports.

“Orienteering is an outdoor sport in which participants use a topographic map and compass to navigate to a series of checkpoints,” a write-up on the club’s website says. The write-up says the sport can involve “challenging yourself, racing against the clock, trying to maintain mental focus while pushing hard physically through demanding terrain.”

It adds, “If you love exploring the great outdoors, while being challenged physically and mentally, try orienteering. You’ll be hooked for life!”

One of the newer clubs to join Team D.C. is Stonewall Climbing, a rock climbing league that its founder Brian Yamasaki said is initially carrying out its climbing competition at a unique gym in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Va., that has created indoor rock-like walls for climbing.

“Essentially the league monitors everyone’s personal progress and then you get ranked amongst your teammates and then the teams get ranked among each other,” Yamasaki said. “We welcome anybody from seasoned climbers to completely new beginners.”

A number of the clubs involve swimming and sailing, including Washington Wetskins Water Polo; D.C. Aquatics Club, which involves swimming competition; Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing; and D.C. Strokes Rowing Club. The latter group competes on the Anacostia River.

“DCSRC holds fast to the conviction that LGBT rowers can be formidable athletes and competitors,” the group says on its website. “Our goal is for the DCSRC to be a platform for competitive success and to increase the profile of LGBT rowers in the rowing community while promoting a spirit of camaraderie amongst our members.”

Lambda Divers, which organizes scuba diving trips, says on its website that it has grown significantly since it was founded in 1989.

“Since then it has grown to be one of the most successful LGBTQ scuba clubs in the world,” the group’s website says. “We provide a unique forum through which LGBTQ divers can meet, learn more about diving, make friends and dive buddies, and enjoy great camaraderie on dive trips and social events.”

Johnson said he stepped down as president of Team D.C. after he was named vice president of external affairs for the Federation of Gay Games, the group that organizes the international LGBT sports competition known as the Gay Games.

D.C. is one of three cities competing to host the 2022 Gay Games. The FGG is scheduled to announce its decision on the host city at its annual meeting in Paris in October.

Johnson, an avid bowler, also serves as president of Capital Area Rainbowlers Association, an LGBT bowling club affiliated with Team D.C. that has about 400 members involved in its fall, winter and summer leagues.

“We have some really good bowlers,” he said. “My league last year had three perfect games,” he added, referring to a bowling score of 300, the highest possible score. “We probably have a dozen or more bowlers that have a 200 or more average.”

Brent Minor, one of the founders of Team D.C. who currently serves as chair of the committee promoting D.C.’s bid to become the host city for the 2022 Gay Games, said he has taken a leave of absence from his role as executive director of Team D.C. during the Gay Games bidding process.

He noted that Team D.C. was established in 1990 and incorporated in 2003 as a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

“Team D.C. works within the broader community to dispel discrimination against LGBT people participating in sports; awards scholarships to LGBT student-athletes; provides a network of sporting outlets for the LGBT community in the Washington Metropolitan area; and promotes participation in local, regional, national, and international amateur sports competitions,” according to the group’s website.

Other LGBT sports leagues and clubs affiliated with Team D.C. include Stonewall Darts; Rogue Darts; Lambda Squares Square Dancing; Ultimate Out Frisbee League; D.C. Roller Girls; Washington Furies Women’s Rugby; D.C. Front Runners; D.C. Sentinels Basketball; Chesapeake & Potomac Softball; TriOuts Triathlon Club; Stonewall Billiards; Stonewall Bocce; and Stonewall Darts.

A complete list of all of the clubs and leagues can be accessed at



Los Angeles Dodgers apologize, reverse decision on disinviting drag group

Pride Night to take place June 16



Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Facebook photo)

In a tweet Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball franchise reversed last Wednesday’s decision to disinvite the LA Chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from a scheduled “Community Hero Award” presentation for the team’s annual Pride Night on June 16.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath announced on Twitter Monday afternoon after the Dodgers apology, and its accompanying public acceptance by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, that she had been pleased to have assisted in facilitating a meeting between the team, the Sisters and stakeholders in the LGBTQ community’s leadership both non-profit and political to come to an understanding.

In a Monday afternoon phone call with the Los Angeles Blade, Horvath explained that important dialogue between the Dodgers and other parties had commenced. She said that earlier on Monday, in a meeting at Dodger Stadium, the stakeholders met to work out a solution.

“I was honestly moved and grateful by the commitment in the room by all the parties, especially Dodgers president and part-owner Stan Kasten,” Horvath said.

In addition to the representatives from the Sisters drag group, the meeting was also attended by Los Angeles LGBT Center Chief Executive Officer Joe Hollendoner, LA Pride President Gerald GarthBoard, West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne, state Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, and state Sen. Caroline Menjivar. Zbur and Menjivar attending on behalf of the California Legislative LGBTQ caucus.

Horvath indicated that she felt it was a critically important meeting with all stakeholders as they worked through the anger, sense of betrayal, and misgivings over the Dodgers actions. She pointed out that she was convinced that the Dodgers president was genuinely remorseful and apologetic.

In an email Monday night, Zbur told the Blade: “It was clear that today’s meeting followed meaningful internal dialogue among Dodgers management, with whom I had numerous frank conversations during the week and weekend. I’m pleased that the Dodgers came to understand the genuine hurt and injury caused by the decision to exclude the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — one that did not reflect our Los Angeles or California values.

As the only LGBTQ members of the Legislature representing Los Angeles, Senator Menjivar and I participated in the meeting at the request of the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus to express the serious and uniform concern of Democratic members of the California Legislature.

After hearing the perspectives of the Sisters, L.A. Pride and the LGBTQ+ leaders in the room, the Dodger management apologized unequivocally for their mistake, re-invited the Sisters to participate in the event, and engaged in a discussion about the steps that they could take to reconcile with LGBTQ+ community.

I was proud of the Sisters, who demonstrated  resilience, strength and a commitment to the LGBTQ+ community during the discussion, and I was impressed with the sincerity of the apology by the Dodger management.”

The Los Angeles LGBT Center had called on the team to cancel Pride Night altogether. After the Dodgers had made their public apology, Hollendoner issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Dodgers to publicly apologize to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and roll back their exclusion from next month’s Pride Night is a step in the right direction, and we support the Sisters’ vote to accept their much-deserved Community Hero Award.

Last week’s debacle underscores the dangerous impact of political tactics by those who seek to stoke the flames of anti-LGBTQ bias at a time when our rights are under attack. We must continue to stand together as a community in defense of the rights and recognition of LGBTQ+ people in Los Angeles and beyond.

The Center is filled with gratitude to our Los Angeles community, who mobilized to support the Sisters, all of which compelled the Dodgers to ultimately do right by LGBTQ+ people everywhere. We are proud to stand with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and will join them at Pride Night to honor their many important contributions to our movement.

The Dodgers’ course correction and the conversations we have had with the organization’s leadership since last week demonstrates the version of allyship we have come to expect from the team over the years. The Center will always strive to hold our corporate partners accountable — which means so much more than waving a rainbow flag.” 

The team announced last week it would drop the drag group from its celebration of LGBTQ+
fans, the day after a letter-writing campaign was launched by the anti-LGBTQ Catholic League. Catholic League President Bill Donohue accused the team of “rewarding anti-Catholicism” by honoring the group.

“The Catholic League has been the leading critic of this bigoted organization for many decades,” Donohue wrote on the organization’s website. “… These homosexual bigots are known for simulating sodomy while dressed as nuns.”

He added, “Just last month, they held an event mocking our Blessed Mother and Jesus on Easter Sunday.”

One of those writing, was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who also sent a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, stating that he was questioning whether the League is “inclusive and welcoming” to Christians. 

At the time, the Dodgers said they removed the group from their Pride Night celebration “given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the Sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits … of Pride Night.”

On Saturday, Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken invited the drag group to Angels Pride Night in a tweet, as reported by the Blade: “I’m inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to join me for @Angels Pride Night at Anaheim Stadium on June 7. Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers’ decision,” tweeted the Mayor .

Neither the Angels nor the mayor’s office confirmed that invitation as of press time, and also did not comment on the Dodgers’ reversal.

However, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange took aim at Aitken for extending the invitation to the drag group:

“The decision to openly embrace a group whose demeaning behavior is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian is misguided and disrespectful to the sisters of the Catholic Church who minister in Orange County and selflessly dedicate their lives to God’s underserved people,” said Jarryd Gonzales, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange on Monday.

“We cannot condone any actions that have historically shown such high levels of disregard for the sincerely held beliefs of the faithful,” he added.

“Our June 7th Pride Night is part of Major League Baseball’s league-wide effort to raise awareness and promote acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. As in the past, OC Pride has assisted our Organization in the planning of this event as well as outreach to all fans throughout Southern California,” an Angels spokesperson said on the mayor’s invitation.

The Sisters have not indicated publicly if they plan to attend the Angels Pride Night as of yet.

Sources tell the Blade out gay Dodgers Vice President Erik Braverman was being advised on this crisis by Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler. When contacted by the Blade, Zeigler declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the Dodgers did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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Vice president meets Brittney Griner before first game back

Russia released WNBA star from penal colony late last year



Brittney Griner and her wife, Cherelle Griner, with Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, on May 19, 2023, before Brittney Griner's first professional basketball game back since being released from a Russian penal camp. (White House photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Vice President Kamala Harris accompanied by her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, greeted WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury star center Brittney Griner and her wife Cherelle Friday night before Griner’s first professional basketball game back since being released from a Russian penal camp last December.

According to the White House Press Pool reporter traveling with Harris, she and Emhoff arrived at Arena in downtown Los Angeles and met with the Griners prior to the game between the LA Sparks and Phoenix Mercury.

After conversations between the four, the vice president met with the rest of the Mercury in their dressing rooms before meeting with host team the LA Sparks in theirs.

According to the Advocate’s reporter Christopher Wiggins, in her meeting with the Mercury, the vice president said:

“I came here to talk to the team to congratulate you on exhibiting excellence in every way. You are some of the finest athletes in the world, and to do what you do every day shows that it is right to have ambition,” she said.

“It is right to have aspirations. It is right to work hard. It is right to compete when you know you have put everything into it; when you have trained, when you have discipline, when you have intelligence and when you have brilliance.”

She added, “It makes me so proud as vice president of the United States to go around the world talking to folks about a variety of issues, and one of the subjects that does come up is the WNBA. [The world] is watching what you guys are doing, lifting up the excellence of the finest athletes in the world.”

After meeting both teams Harris then showed up at center court to cheers from about 10,000 people and received an honorary jersey from the Sparks.

The Sparks beat the Mercury 94-71, although the Advocate pointed out: “Griner’s return to the floor and doing what she loves was more important than the result. Six rebounds, four blocks, and 18 points rounded out her performance.”

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West Virginia University basketball coach apologizes for gay slurs

Bob Huggins used the “F word” in a radio interview discussing a rival team when he was coaching men’s basketball at University of Cincinnati



Bill Huggins (Photo Credit: West Virginia University)

The coach of the West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team said he’s sorry for homophobic slurs he used to described fans of a rival team during a radio interview on Monday. Administrators said they are reviewing the incident and Coach Bob Huggins said he is prepared to face the consequences. 

“All those fags, those Catholic fags,” Huggins said, when he was asked about Xavier University on Cincinnati station 700WLW’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Huggins was discussing his 16-season tenure with the University of Cincinnati and the school’s intracity rivalry with Xavier.

The host asked the former coach of the Bearcats about a moment during a Crosstown Shootout game against the Musketeers. Huggins said Xavier fans threw sex toys onto the court.

“It was transgender night, wasn’t it?” asked Cunningham, making a wisecrack since there was no such thing. “It was the Crosstown Shootout,” Huggins replied. “What it was, was all those fags, those Catholic fags, I think, threw them.”

Huggins added that the fans would “throw rubber penises on the floor and then say they didn’t do it.”

“They were envious they didn’t have one.”

The Mountaineers coach issued a statement of apology within hours of those comments:

“Earlier today on a Cincinnati radio program, I was asked about the rivalry between my former employer, the University of Cincinnati, and its crosstown rival, Xavier University.

“During the conversation, I used a completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase that there is simply no excuse for — and I won’t try to make one here.

“I deeply apologize to the individuals I have offended, as well as to the Xavier community, the University of Cincinnati and West Virginia University.

“As I have shared with my players over my 40 years coaching, there are consequences for our words and actions, and I will fully accept any coming my way. I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will.”

The university condemned Huggins’ comments and said in a statement, “The situation is under review and will be addressed by the university and its athletics department.” 

Former Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach, the city’s first openly gay councilmember, told WKRC-TV he’s neither surprised by the comments nor by the fact that they were celebrated on Cunningham’s show.

“I feel sorry for him, he holds that kind of hatred for people that are different in his heart, because that’s clearly where it’s coming from,” said Seelbach. “I get angry because I’m a Catholic man, I am a graduate of Xavier, and I’m gay.”

Seelbach says he believes most Catholics don’t have the same views as Huggins and Cunningham.

“I want him to say that to my face, because there’s a lot of us who are taxpaying regular citizens who happen to be Catholic and gay who don’t appreciate it, and I don’t know if he would have the courage to say it to our face,” said Seelbach.

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