LGBTQ Dodgeball Creates Space for All Bethlehem F. Mariam
(Photo: Apocalypse dodgeball team after game) A dodgeball league in Vancouver is breaking ground as the first LGBTQ focused sports league in the city. The Double Rainbow Dodgeball league founded by Coree Tull and Kathryn Jean is specifically for LGBTQ identifying people. Ayesh Kanani, coordinated her own team in 2015. Kanani says team recruitment happened quickly through social media and word of mouth. The league’s rules are outlined on the comprehensive website. Rules include using gender neutral pronouns such as “they, them,” for people who don’t use gender specific pronouns and absolutely no slurs, or name calling of any kind. The largest and first international study of LGBTQ people in sports found that 81% of participants have experienced or witnessed homophobia in sports.
Judah Kong, a team member since September says “my life has changed rapidly for the better. I’ve met so many people that I feel comfortable around and realize now that I do have a place in the city.” For Kanani, dodgeball bridges the gap between being social and exercising. “It’s improved my life, I get to play team sports once a week which I think improves my mental health” she says. Despite the fact that there are twenty teams in the league that play each other throughout the lower mainland, Kanani’s team is not concerned with winning or losing. Rather, the main goal is accepting one another. “I’m not a very sporty person. I do it because it’s fun” says team member Nigel Koh. The Vancouver School Board rental facilities is a vital resource and safe space for the LGBTQ league. Beth Tirona works at the Vancouver School Board Rental department and says the VSB has over 100 schools that rent out their facilities to any minority groups including LGBTQ dodgeball. Double Rainbow League may have an unconventional name, but the group makes it easier for LGBTQ identifying people to be involved with sports.
Sources: Ayesh Kanani, aPOCalypse team coordinator, 604 782 5587 Judah Kong, Dodgeball team member, 778 895 8656 Beth Tirona, VSB Rental Facilities, 604 713 5847 Nigel Koh, team member, 587 757 8112
The study : http://ww.outonthefields.com/media/#Canada
I found out about this story through a friend whose partner is in one of the teams. My friend put me in touch with Ayesh, one of the team coordinators and I went to one of the games to interview the players. The story is original because no one has actually written about the aPOCalyspse team or the Double Rainbow Dodgeball League. Maybe theyâ€™ll get more press as the league gets bigger.