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United Night OUT soccer match is July 25

D.C. United to play N.Y. Red Bulls in annual LGBT fan event

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United Night Out, gay news, Washington Blade
United Night Out, gay news, Washington Blade

United Night Out (Washington Blade photo by Kevin Majoros)

D.C. United fans are invited to come out for another year of soccer and support for the LGBT community.

The eighth annual United Night OUT is Wednesday, July 25 at 6 p.m. at Audi Field (100 Potomac Ave. S.W.). Hosted by Team DC and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club, D.C. United Soccer Club will play the New York Red Bulls.

The annual game is the second largest in Team D.C.’s Night OUT event series after Night OUT with the Nationals.

“It’s a natural fit for the Night OUT series, and it has continued to grow,” says Jim Ensor, chief organizer of the event and co-captain of the Federal Triangles Soccer Club Unicorns.

A portion of ticket sales, which are $30 each, will go toward a non-profit LGBT organization. Some of the money will be used to support the Federal Triangles’ two teams that will be playing at Gay Games 10 in Paris.

“It’s a good fundraiser, it’s social and it’s to support a local team,” he says.

Ensor said that he “felt compelled” to organize a special gay event with D.C. United.

“It’s been my baby from the start. … I’ve been a D.C. United fan since 1996 and I’m part of the LGBT community,” he says.

Ensor says he wanted to help people from Federal Triangles, an LGBT club, feel comfortable going to professional soccer games.

“It’s about getting people who wouldn’t normally go to soccer games out there,” he says.

D.C. United has been supportive personally and publicly. The Night OUT series has also helped the LGBT community gain visibility, Ensor says. Gaining corporate partners for the event was also helpful.

“D.C. United is a reasonably priced, successful club. I wanted it to be a part of the (LGBT) community, which is underserved in general. (Night OUT) is a way to bridge that gap and bring the two together,” he says.

Although some of the special features of the event are still in the works due to the new facility, there will be pregame festivities and discounted ticket prices. The match will only be the second game D.C. United has played on the new field. There will also be a VIP area for groups of 10 or more people.

The game will also feature giveaways and incentives like rainbow scarves. Group leaders with 10 or more guests will receive a 2018 commemorative D.C. United scarf and group leaders with 20 or more guests will receive a replica jersey. Last year, D.C. United players wore rainbow numbers on their uniforms and the team captain’s rainbow armband was sold to raise money.

The Night OUT event has also received support from D.C. United supporter club the Screaming Eagles.

“Through this event, they found that they’ve had LGBT supporters that they didn’t even know about,” Ensor says.

Last year, the event drew 550 people, and was close to 700 people the previous year. Ensor is hoping the new stadium will generate interest.

Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or Eventbrite.com. The promotional code to purchase tickets via Ticketmaster is “uno.” Ensor says this represents the mantra for the event: one game, one community, united.

“I hope we can all come together, even if it’s for one night, and be uno,” he says.

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Protester with Pride flag disrupts World Cup game

Protest took place during match between Portugal and Uruguay

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(Al Jazeera screenshot)

During a World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay Monday, a lone protester ran across the field waving a Pride flag moments after the second half kickoff.

Video and still images show the man wearing a blue T-shirt emblazoned with the Superman symbol and the phrase “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect for Iranian Woman” on the back.

Screenshot of news coverage at the World Cup 2022 games from Al Jazeera

Qatari security personnel chased him down and then marched him off the playing field. Israeli Public Radio correspondent Amichai Stein tweeted video clips of the incident:

FIFA had no immediate comment on the incident, the Associated Press noted reporting that in the first week of the tournament in Qatar, seven European teams lost the battle to wear multi-colored “One Love” armbands during World Cup matches. Fans also complained they weren’t allowed to bring items with rainbow colors, a symbol of LGBTQ rights, into the stadiums of the conservative Islamic emirate.

Qatar’s laws against homosexuality and treatment of LGBTQ people were flashpoints in the run-up to the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East. Qatar has said everyone was welcome, including LGBTQ fans, but that visitors should respect the nation’s culture.

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Blinken criticizes FIFA threat to fine World Cup team captains with ‘one love’ armbands

Qatar criminalizes homosexuality by death

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday criticized FIFA over its threat to sanction European soccer teams if their captains wore “one love” armbands during the 2022 World Cup.

“It’s always concerning from my perspective when we see any restrictions on freedom of expression. It’s especially so when the expression is for diversity and for inclusion,” Blinken told reporters during a press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Doha, the Qatari capital. “And in my judgment, at least, no one on a football pitch should be forced to choose between supporting these values and playing for their team.”

Seven European soccer teams on Monday announced their captains will not wear LGBTQ and intersex armbands during the 2022 World Cup after FIFA threatened to sanction them.

The captains of Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales had planned to wear the armbands in support of the LGBTQ and intersex community during the World Cup. The teams on Monday in a joint statement said they would not wear the armbands because FIFA had threatened to sanction them if their captains did.

The World Cup began in Qatar on Sunday.

Qatar is among the handful of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death. A report that Human Rights Watch published last month noted several cases of “severe and repeated beatings” and “sexual harassment” of LGBTQ and intersex people while in police custody from 2019 and September 2022. 

A State Department official last week acknowledged to the Washington Blade that the U.S. raised LGBTQ and intersex rights with the Qatari government ahead of the World Cup.

The U.S. men’s soccer team while in Qatar will have a redesigned logo with the Pride flag in its badge. Blinken attended their match against Wales on Monday.

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European soccer teams won’t wear ‘one love’ armbands after FIFA threatens sanctions

World Cup began in Qatar on Sunday

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Iran plays England during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 21, 2022. (Screenshot via FS1)

Seven European soccer teams on Monday announced their captains will not wear LGBTQ and intersex armbands during the 2022 World Cup after FIFA threatened to sanction them.

The captains of Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales planned to wear “one love” armbands during the World Cup. The teams in a joint statement said FIFA threatened to sanction them if their captains wore them.

“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play,” read the statement. “We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision, which we believe is unprecedented.”

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings,” added the statement.

The World Cup began in Qatar on Sunday.

Qatar is among the handful of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death.

Human Rights Watch last month published a report that noted “arbitrary” arrests of LGBTQ and intersex people between 2019 and September 2022 and several cases of “severe and repeated beatings” and “sexual harassment in police custody” during the aforementioned period. World Cup Ambassador Khalid Salman earlier this month described homosexuality as “damage in the mind” during an interview with a German television station.

Peter Tatchell, a British activist, on Oct. 25 protested the country’s LGBTQ and intersex rights record while standing outside the National Museum of Qatar in Doha, the country’s capital. A State Department official on Nov. 18 acknowledged to the Washington Blade that the U.S. raised LGBTQ and intersex rights with the Qatari government ahead of the World Cup.

The U.S. men’s soccer team while in Qatar will have a redesigned logo with the Pride flag in its badge. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend their match against Wales on Monday.

England played Iran on Monday. The Netherlands on Monday will play Senegal.

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