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New Blade sports series launch — Game Changers: John Jack Gallagher

Local photographer found circuitous route to sports glory



John Jack Gallagher, gay news, Washington Blade
John Jack Gallagher says photographing local LGBTQ athletes has given him a perspective many don’t have. (Photo courtesy JJG)

In the first installment of the Washington Blade’s Game Changers series, we meet a photographer who has been capturing LGBT athletes in action for close to a decade.

One thing that comes up in conversation with John Jack Gallagher is the preferred use of his first name. 

Is it John or Jack? 

He says that some people get frustrated and are afraid to ask.

“I get a lot of “Hey … there.” To set the record straight, I was Jack until kindergarten and was too shy to tell the teacher, so I started being called John. Over the years I answered to either name depending on whether it was in a work setting or with friends,” Gallagher says. “When Facebook came along, I started a page called John Jack Photography because I thought it would alleviate the confusion. People started calling me John Jack and it stuck. I am now John Jack.”

Gallagher was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Cherry Hill, N.J., at age 12. He participated in Little League and basketball as a youth and ran cross country and track in high school.

He was 6’4” tall by the eighth grade which drew interest from the high school basketball coaches. He tried out for the team but didn’t make the cut.

“I can’t jump and I am not competitive. I also didn’t care if I played basketball or not,” Gallagher says. “I had grown 13 inches in three years and the agility just wasn’t there. I still don’t understand how people can jump.”

For the social aspects Gallagher did play intramural basketball while attending college at St Joseph’s University. His 22-year career as an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers took him to Chicago and London before he transferred with his then-partner to D.C. in 2003.

Due to changes at his employer’s firm, Gallagher ended his accounting career early. Newly single and looking for something different, he joined the Washington Wetskins water polo team and began taking photography classes at the Smithsonian.

Gallagher had friends who were playing on one of the Stonewall Kickball teams during their inaugural season in 2010. He started showing up on Sundays to take pictures of his friends and began posting them on Facebook. One player asked him to photograph a wedding and his career as a photographer was launched.

Word of mouth and crossover among the LGBT sports teams led to him photographing for Stonewall Kickball, Stonewall Dodgeball, Stonewall Bocce, Federal Triangles Soccer Club, D.C. Gay Flag Football League, Rogue Darts and Rogue Cornhole.

He also traveled with Stonewall Sports this past summer to Raleigh where he photographed the seven sports being played in their annual Stonewall National Tournament.

Being on the sidelines watching the LGBT sports teams evolve has given Gallagher the opportunity to observe the rewards that players are experiencing from being a part of a larger community.

“This isn’t just a group of similar types of LGBT people, it is a diverse group who are forming bonds, experiencing camaraderie and finding second families through sports,” Gallagher says. “After living through decades of people being afraid to be seen with other LGBT people, it has been beautiful to see them all together in a safe space where they can be who they are and dress as they want. Short shorts, Speedos and wigs are now everyday sporting attire.”

As Gallagher’s work spreads over social media, the photos are being shared with his subject’s families and friends worldwide. His work has become a marker for his existence in the community.

“Once I became a photographer, I became more aware of the fact that this line of work would be more impactful than my previous career. I was moving from one accounting project to another and two years later my work didn’t matter anymore,” Gallagher says. “With photography, my work will live on after I am no longer here. This is my legacy and my way of giving back. I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team



Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics



Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels



Tom Daley (Photo by via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

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, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was 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.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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