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2020 FACES NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2020 $3.95 • COMPETESPORTSDIVERSITY.COM


#BLM


Diversity makes for a better cocktail party.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 COMPETESPORTSDIVERSITY.COM FACES OF SPORTS 6 Michael Gunning 10

Dan Palmer

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 ustice Martin J. Jenkins, Kim Ng, San Diego J Loyal Soccer Club Players, Emily Harrington, Sharice Davids, Jim Buzinski, Cyd Zeigler Jr. and Outsports

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The NFL Comes Out in Support

ONE-ON-ONE 16  Seattle Seahawks’ Keli Imus, Community Engagement Manager 18

 olin Kaepernick: A Catalyst For C Social Change

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 ew National Gay Flag Football League N Commissioner: Shigeo Iwamiya

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 uth Bader Ginsburg: Lessons on R Becoming Notorious

MVP 26 Cody Galloway-Braman 28

 orena Benitez: A Picture is Worth a L Thousand Words

30

MSNBC’S LGBTQ+ Voice: Rachel Maddow

32  Dennis Phillipse: His Day Job and His Gay Job 34  Jason Wright: First Black NFL Team President Leads a Cultural Shift NUTRITION 36 Talty Bar: Meet Tim Talty & Michael Marchena

Compete Online Do you love to Compete? Get with the game and shop our online store, subscribe to Compete Magazine, read the hottest news blogs and check out the latest videos online at CompeteSportsDiversity.com Cover Photo: Cody Galloway-Braman Sport: MMA Photo Credit: Molly Pierce

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Patricio Manuel: Simply Amazing

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Allysa Seely: A National Treasure

HEALTH 42 Maca: The New Wonder Food? 44

Holiday Gym Bag

FIT N FAB 46 Struggling With Motivation? You’re Not Alone BEDROOM SPORTS 48 Tom Ford or an End to COVID-19?

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MILLENNIAL ON SPORTS

FACES OF SPORTSMY CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL GUNNING

J

ust as the Black Lives Matter demonstrations were

personality, has been causing people all over the world to

taking place this summer, I was chatting about it

swoon. My friend and I chatted with him via Zoom as a

with a friend of mine here in Germany.

result of COVID-19 and it offered a much-needed breath

He and I were discussing writing an article about the

of enthusiasm and joy. Gunning’s spirit is unshakeable and

topic but we both needed to learn more from people who

his excitement for his sport while living his authentic self is

were better able to teach us, one of whom is 2020 (2021) Olympic hopeful, Michael Gunning. Gunning is swimmer from Great Britain who represents both Team GB and Team Jamaica. He’s quickly making a name for himself on the world stage in a sport with an historically low representation of black athletes. Growing up in Kent, England Gunning wasn’t accustomed to seeing other black people within his

inspiring. Despite the difficulties that swimmers (including yours, truly) are facing due to pool closures from the pandemic, that hasn’t slowed Gunning down from training in any way he can to get him closer to his Olympic goals. Over the summer Gunning has been doing interviews, appearing in videos and being interviewed from people all over the world who want to know just who Michael Gunning

community let alone in the swimming pool. Despite

is (they probably want his phone number, too!). So for my

this, Gunning never felt he was treated differently by his

friend and me, a sport scientist and a sport psychology

teammates, coaches or friends. When he approached his

expert, one of the biggest questions we wanted to ask was,

teen years though, Gunning became more cognizant of the

“Do you feel like your performance in the pool changed

stereotypes and assumptions that others held about him.

after you came out?” Gunning undoubtedly believes so. He

In an interview with Swimming World he describes that

feels less of the pressure and stress from hiding his sexual

experience;

orientation. Being able to express himself both in and out

“It was mainly at school where I would come in

of the pool, being his authentic self, he believes has helped

smelling of chlorine and people were like, ‘Why are you

him build confidence, strength and resilience in the pursuit

swimming? Black people don’t swim,’” Gunning said. “I think it was from all those school people and my school friends that kind of made me question whether what I was doing was right and should I pick another sport and was I going to be good enough, was I going to make it? When I

of his Olympic goals. With that, we concluded our conversation, and my friend and I are eagerly following Gunning’s journey as he continues to train and prepare for Tokyo next summer.

was representing Team GB, I never really questioned it.” However, this never dissuaded Gunning and it only challenged his resolve. Having taken part in the 2017 and 2019 World Aquatics Championships; Gunning now has his sights set firmly on the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo. Gunning recently came out as gay following his

Dirk Smith (He, Him, His), SDL Sports Editor

appearance on the TV show, “The Bi Life” in late 2018

dirk@competesportsdiversity.com

and, with his charming smile, handsome face and bubbly

@competedirk

6 COMPETE november - december 2020


CATBIRD SEAT

The Needle is Moving Forward Our Faces of Sports issue is always a reader favorite. It’s a look at LGBTQ+ and ally athletes, teams, organizations, even non-athletes who, in their own way have contributed to the sports diversity movement’s ideals of inclusion, diversity, equality, acceptance and leadership. It can be like the proverbial box of chocolates – you don’t know who to expect. Quite unintentionally, football plays a big part in this issue. The NFL has continued its support for the LGBTQ+ community and hired a chief diversity officer. We had a great interview with Keli Imus, community engagement manager for the Seattle Seahawks, and there’s a story on Jason Wright, the first Black NFL team president in the league’s 100-year history. Colin Kaepernick, still an NFL free agent, is truly a change agent for Black, Brown and underserved communities, and Justice Martin Jenkins, an openly gay man and former NFL player was just unanimously confirmed to California’s Supreme Court. We’ve also got MMA covered by Cody GallowayBraman, our MVP and open lesbian Sharice Davids, the Native American former pro MMA fighter who was reelected to a second term in Congress. Then there’s the San Diego Loyal Soccer team players walking off the pitch and forfeiting a game they were winning, AND losing a spot in the playoffs when an opposing player directed a gay slur at openly gay player Collin Martin. That’s pretty courageous! And there’s so much more. We’re also pleased to give a shout out to our colleagues Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler. Outsports, their “baby” turned 21 this year and both men were honored for their wonderful writing by being named to the LGBTQ+ Journalists Hall of Fame. Well done, fellas! Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG knew that societies change slowly. But things are changing for the better – the needle is moving forward. Our Faces of Sports issue enables us to see progress being made in the sports diversity movement on multiple fronts and that’s always encouraging!

THE GLOBAL LEADER IN SPORTS DIVERSITYTM PUBLISHER/CEO Eric Carlyle eric@competesportsdiversity.com COMPETE SPORTS DIVERSITY Editor-in-Chief Connie Wardman connie@competesportsdiversity.com Sports Editor Dirk Smith dirk@competesportsdiversity.com Community Editor at Large Ty Nolan ty@competesportsdiversity.com Art Director Heather Brown heather@competesportsdiversity.com Contributors Ryan Adams, Harry Andrew, Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, Matt Boyles, Ian Colgate, Ryan Evans, Jared Garduno, Heron Gonzales, Catherine (CJ) Kelly, Miriam Latto, Kevin Majoros, Ryan O'Connor, Brian Patrick, Jerry Del Priore, K.C. Wang-Daniels, Naomi "Bez" Zebro Staff Photographer Ariel Stevens ariel@competesportsdiversity.com Vice President Jared Garduno jared@competesportsdiversity.com Administration Bethany Harvat bethany@competesportsdiversity.com Senior Account Manager/Sales Trayer Martinez trayer@competesportsdiversity.com Copyright © 2020 MEDIA OUT LOUD, LLC All Rights Reserved. Compete Unites the World Though SportsTM All Mail PO Box 2756, Scottsdale, AZ 85252 • (800) 489-1274 Corporate Office 6991 East Camelback Road, Suite D-300, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 Compete is a trademark of Media Out Loud, LLC

Sports Diversity Leadership Council, Sports Diversity Leader and SDL are trademarks of Media Out Loud, LLC.

Connie Wardman (she, her, hers), M.A., SDLT connie@competesportsdiversity.com @CompeteConnie

8 COMPETE november - december 2020

Subscribe to Compete Magazine online at CompeteSportsDiversity.com


WITH YOU

Professional Rugby Union Prop Inspires Others, Including Me When I first discovered rugby in 2004, I was immediately hooked on the sport and wished I had found the sport in high school! Just two years after this revelation I participated in my first Bingham Cup, International Gay Rugby’s biennial rugby championship, and as a direct result of that experience, Compete Magazine was launched to finally provide magazine coverage for LGBTQ+ athletes. I guess you could say Compete has rugby in its roots. Last month Dan Palmer, a former Australian rugby union player came out. Palmer played tighthead prop, the companion position to the position I played, loosehead prop. In coming out Palmer talked about the suicidal thoughts that plagued him during his rugby career. His story sounded very similar to Ryan O’Callaghan’s journey while playing in the National Football League. Palmer is only the second professional rugby union player to come out, second to Gareth Thomas. Ian Roberts and Keegan Hirst also came out but both were both rugby league players, the difference being union or league. I applaud Dan Palmer for his bravery for coming out and for surviving the torment of being a closeted professional athlete. In coming out he described a journey filled with drug problems and mental health issues. His decision to come out was partially fueled by Israel Folau’s anti-gay statements which ended with Folau being fired by Rugby Australia in 2017. Folau now plays for Catalans Dragons, a French rugby league team. On a worldwide basis professional athletes are still coming out at a very slow place. And when professional athletes like Palmer, O’Callaghan and so many others have talked about how they saw their only other option as suicide, it’s no wonder. In 1990 English footballer Justin Fashanu became the first professional active soccer player to come out during his career. But once his playing days were over, he committed suicide in 1998. The NBA’s Jason Collins and MLS’s Robbie Rogers both continued to play professional sports after coming out in 2013. It wasn’t until 2018 that MLS player Collin Martin came out, at the time making him the only openly gay professional U.S. athlete in any of the five major team sports – MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. But maybe that is starting to change. The fact that Martin’s current team, the San Diego Loyal SC chose to walk off the pitch and forfeit the game while winning to protest an opposing player who was using homophobic slurs against Martin hopefully served as a wakeup call that winning is not more important than respect. I am so grateful to the professional athletes who serve as role models by coming out. Their commitment to living an authentic life inspires everyone. Dan Palmer, thank you. I appreciate your courage. And from one rugby player to another, I am with you.

With You,

Eric Carlyle (He, Him, His), SDLT Publisher/CEO eric@competesportsdiversity.com

@CompeteEric

10 COMPETE november - december 2020


HIGH FIVE

5 HIGH

As an early leader in the sports diversity movement, Compete Magazine normally gives out High Fives to deserving athletes, teams, leagues, organizations and corporations as well as high profile celebrities for their contributions to promote diversity, inclusion, equality and acceptance for all. JUSTICE MARTIN J. JENKINS, FORMER NFL PLAYER … for his unanimous confirmation to California’s Supreme Court, making him the state’s first openly gay justice and the fifth Black justice in the court’s history. With over 30 years of service as a state and federal judge, the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation said Jenkins is “exceptionally well qualified,” and that “he is praised for his brilliant intellect, first-class temperament, and boundless humanity.” Jenkins played briefly with the Seattle Seahawks prior to attending law school. KIM NG … for being hired as general manager of the MLB Miami Marlins, making her the first woman to become an MLB general manager, the second Asian American to lead an MLB team and also believed the first woman hired as a GM by any major professional men's team in North American sports. SAN DIEGO LOYAL SOCCER CLUB PLAYERS … for all walking off the pitch when an opposing player directed a gay slur at openly gay player Collin Martin. They knowingly forfeited the game they were winning and lost a spot in the playoffs. EMILY HARRINGTON … for being the first woman and only the fourth person ever to free climb the 3,000-foot granite face of El Capitan in less than

SHARICE DAVIDS … for being reelected to a second term as Democratic

a day. Following her completion in 21 hours and 13 minutes, the 34-year-old said she hadn’t believed she had the “skills, fitness, or risk profile to move so quickly over such a large piece of stone. But

Congresswoman from the Kansas 3rd Congressional

I chose it exactly for that reason. Impossible dreams challenge us to

District. The former professional mixed martial

rise above who we are now to see if we can become better versions

artist became both the first openly LGBTQ+ and first

of ourselves.”

Native American elected to Congress from Kansas.

And for an extra bonus: JIM BUZINSKI AND CYD ZEIGLER JR., COFOUNDERS OF OUTSPORTS.COM … for being named to the LGBTQ+ Journalists Hall of Fame for their “fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ communities and issues.” And additional congratulations for their iconic site, Outsports turning 21. It’s the many stories they’ve shared of

Photo Credit: Kristie Boyd; U.S. House Office of Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

12 COMPETE november - december 2020

LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches, even sports professionals that have resulted in their Hall of Fame honor.


UNITED STATES GAY SPORTS NETWORK AMERICA’S ONLY ONLINE LGBTQ+ SPORTS LEAGUE DIRECTORY

35 STATES 60 CITIES 450 LEAGUES 39 SPORTS MORE LEAGUES AND CITIES ADDED DAILY! WWW.USGSN.COM FOLLOW US ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS FOR THE LATEST UPDATES!

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COMPETE READER SURVEY & GRANDSTANDING

LETTERS to COMPETE GRANDSTANDING

25% CITY

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35% BEACH

The Main Event (Sept-Oct 2020) It was great to see boxing gaining a following in the LGBTQ+ community. Martin Stark seems like he has a purpose and his love for sport shows. While I haven’t been a big boxing fan in the past, this may be the perfect time to get interested in the sport. Carrie Douglas West Hollywood, California Lendale Johnson is a Grand Slam (Sept-Oct 2020) As a man of color it was good to see a story about Lendale Johnson in a magazine [Compete]. Lendale seems to have a lot going on and when I searched online I found out even more. He seems to be a lot more than just a handsome face. I hope to meet Mr. Johnson someday as this would be a highlight for me. William Miller Buffalo, New York Please submit all Letters to Compete via email to: letters@competesportsdiversity.com

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FACES OF SPORTS

T H E

N F L

COMES OUT I N

S U P P O R T

BY JARED GARDUNO (HE, HIM, HIS) AND SHIGEO IWAMIYA (HE, HIM, HIS)

It was great to see the NFL replace its usual logo on social media with a more colorful rainbow version this past June as many of us were celebrating Pride Month. It was even more amazing to see how the NFL supported LGBTQ+ History Month, the latest in its growing support for the LGBTQ+ community. The NFL has been making strides in diversity for several years. In 2017 the New England Patriots partnered with the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) to produce Gay Bowl XVII in Boston. That partnership fostered a strong relationship between the NFL and the NGFFL. In 2018 the Denver Broncos stepped up to support Gay Bowl XVIII in Denver. It was because of the NFL’s support of organizations like Gay Bowl that Compete Sports Diversity awarded the NFL the National Sports Organization Award at its 2018 Compete Sports Diversity Awards in Tempe, Arizona. Compete Sports Diversity also awarded the NFL a two-year membership in the Compete Sports Diversity Council, a group of 120+ organizations dedicated to further sports diversity. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are also members. The Cardinals accepted the Professional Sports Pioneer Award at the event and former Kansas City Chiefs player Ryan O’Callaghan was also honored that year. In 2019 the NFL continued its relationship with the NGFFL by sponsoring Gay Bowl XIX in partnership with the New York Jets Foundation and the New York Giants. The NFL also produced a short documentary about Gay Bowl XIX that aired on the NFL Network (the short also included video of the Gay Bowl XIX official guide produced by Compete Sports Diversity). The NGFFL’s relationship with NFL is a solid partnership that continues to grow in many ways. The partnership represents a strong commitment to their mission to advance conversations on inclusivity within sports. The NGFFL continues to build an on-going relationship with Marcos Perez and NFL Pride that looks to provide consultancy not only within the NFL but also by

partnering with the leagues related to LGBTQ+ activities and initiatives. The group continues to foster dialogue that builds an inclusive and safe NFL. Just this year the NFL hired a Chief Diversity Officer and through this exclusive quote he confirms their stance. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion expands across many communities, including the LGBTQ+ community,” said Jonathan Beane, NFL Chief Diversity Officer. “We’ve only scratched the surface, but we aim to enhance Pride at the League and to further support the LGBTQ+ community through comprehensive initiatives, partnerships and programming.” Given the many positive steps the NFL has already taken, we weren’t surprised when the league launched new initiatives to further engage the LGBTQ+ community and support sports diversity during LGBTQ+ History Month. The NFL showcased their dedicated website (NFL.com/PRIDE), created a PSA celebrating Out NFL Legends voicing support and allyship; expanded partnerships with GLAAD and The Trevor Partnership, created a PRIDE-themed NFL shield and an assortment of LGBTQ+ content airing on the NFL Network throughout October. Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations even penned an op-ed on NFL.com in support of active NFL players who are contemplating coming out. The PSA, produced with the support of The Trevor Project and launched on National Coming Out Day, featured NFL Legends Wade Davis (2015 Compete Sports Diversity Honoree), Ryan O’Callaghan, Ryan Russell and Jeff Rohrer alongside current NFL players Anthony Barr, Calais Campbell, Robb Gronkowski, Anthony Harris, Marlon Humphrey, Deandre Hopkins, Jarvis Landry and Dalton Risner. Clearly, the NFL’s commitment to diversity goes beyond the month of October. It is dedicated to fostering an inclusive sports environment on a fulltime basis and we are excited to be a partner in this important effort.

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ONE ON ONE

Photo courtesy of Keli Imus

S E A T T L E

C O M M U N I T Y

S E A H A W K S ’

E N G A G E M E N T

M A N A G E R

Compete: We were lucky to meet Keli Imus recently who

KI: To me, leveraging our brand to give back to the

works for the Seattle Seahawks. Keli, please share with

community and meeting new people every day is the

our readers what your role is with the Seahawks and how

best part. I see myself as the conduit between our brand

long you’ve been with them.

and the community. I find meaningful and effective

Keli Imus: I’ve been with the Seahawks for almost 10 years but I’m currently their community engagement manager. I’ve been in that role for four years.

ways to give back, foster growth and inspire people from disenfranchised communities. C: For someone in high school interested in a career

C: What’s the best part of your job? How do you see

in professional sports as a community engagement

yourself serving both the team and the community?

manager or similar role, what would you tell them, Keli?

16 COMPETE november - december 2020


ONE ON ONE KI: Get involved in your community now, volunteer for non-profits, start to build your network now, it’s never too early. C: Is your community confined to Seattle or to the Washington state area? KI: No. I manage community outreach programs that impact communities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. I focus on building diverse and inclusive programs that make the greatest impact while leveraging the unique assets and relationships present in the professional sports industry while nurturing relationships with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, corporations, athletes and employees. C: Did you play sports in high school and college? KI: Yes, softball, basketball and volleyball in high school. I played women’s rugby at Washington State University and National University of Ireland, Galway in a study abroad program. There were a ton of differences between the U.S. and Ireland (and Scotland where I’ve played a few matches as well). In Ireland rugby is already Photo by Sarah Kuszelewicz established so my team had equal access to fields, a club house and equipment as did the men’s team. The university did a great job keeping players engaged through activities off the pitch as well. Playing in the U.S. was a lot different for two reasons- one, rugby is a fairly new sport, especially on the west coast, meaning less access to resources like training equipment and field time. Second, we didn’t have a dedicated head coach. My team was lucky to have two amazing women lead the team as captains and coaches but there was no one to oversee the team. However, since I graduated they now have a coach and equitable access to the fields and equipment they need to be successful. It makes all of those carwashes and practices at 10 p.m. worth it

C: Are you still playing sports and what do you think you’ve learned from them? KI: Yes, dodgeball (shout out to Rainbow League Seattle!), volleyball and softball when we are not in a pandemic. I learned the usual things, like building leadership skills and teamwork. But it was through playing rugby in college that I learned how important inclusion is. Most of my team identified as part of the LGBTQIA+ community so I learned how important it is to lift each other up, especially off the field. C: Given your job, what does sports diversity mean to you now, Keli? KI: On a more transactional and basic level, sports diversity means a larger pool of talent to pull from to ensure teams are the absolute best. On a more profound level, sports diversity is extremely important to me because I see it as a microcosm of American society. More diversity in sports means more diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities off the field. C: So where do you see sports diversity in five years? KI: For the NFL, I believe we will continue to see an increase in hiring women to fill coaching and scouting roles. I hope one day we might see women on the field. I also believe the stigmas around the LGBTQIA+ community will dissipate and professional athletes, especially in male-prevalent leagues will be able to work in the league as their true selves. C: OK, Keli – I think I know the answer to this but can’t not ask you. What’s your proudest sports moment? KI: When we won Super Bowl 48! C: Bingo! Thanks so much for your time, Keli and keep up your great inclusion and diversity work with the Seahawks and your community engagement!

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FACES OF SPORTS

COLIN KAEPERNICK

A CATALYST FOR SOCIAL CHANGE BY CONNIE WARDMAN (SHE, HER, HERS)

18 COMPETE november - december 2020


FACES OF SPORTS

“I AM NOT LOOKING FOR APPROVAL. I HAVE TO STAND UP FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE OPPRESSED. IF THEY TAKE FOOTBALL AWAY, MY ENDORSEMENTS FROM ME, I KNOW THAT I STOOD UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.” When you mention Colin Kaepernick, many people think of him only as the star NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback who, in 2016 ruined his career by kneeling during the national anthem. Rather than listen to why he was protesting, a large group of Americans, including President Trump who continually fanned the flames for political advantage, accused him of disrespecting the flag and those who fought to defend it. It became a huge national controversy with Kaepernick becoming its unintentional poster child. Kaepernick was taking a knee to protest police brutality and racial oppression and injustice but his reasons to protest got lost in the noise of that NFL season. Through that small act of kneeling, however, he has reenergized the civil rights movement of the 60s and become a civil rights icon for this time in history. He is the catalyst for the social justice movement supported by the many Black professional athletes we see today. They’re speaking out on Black Lives Matter (BLM), on the systemic racism and police brutality that still oppresses Black and Brown people today; they’re sharing their personal stories of police harassment, talking about their fear for the safety of their children and using their platform to battle voter suppression. It’s even included WNBA members as a group working to defeat Atlanta Dream owner, Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler’s reelection after she wrote that "The Black Lives Matter political organization advocates things like defunding and abolishing the police, abolishing our military, emptying our prisons, destroying the nuclear family. It promotes violence and antisemitism.” Colin Kaepernick seems like an unlikely catalyst at first glance, though. He’s still a free agent with the NFL but hasn’t been signed to a team since 2016 even though he still wants to play and works out five days a week. He’s the rare professional athlete-turned-fulltime social activist who has managed to stay out of the limelight as he continues to better the lives of Black, Brown and other underserved people. Having pledged $1 million at the end

of 2016 to support the issues that caused him to kneel, by December 2017 here’s where the money had gone: According to Sports Illustrated, of the $1 million he pledged – his donations to date had gone to: • Anti-police brutality $150,000 – 16.7% • Youth initiatives $209,000 – 23.2% • Community reform and minority empowerment $233,000 – 25.8% • Health reform and nourishment $283,000 – 31.4% • Climate change awareness - $25,000 – 2.8% Kaepernick sees his philanthropic work as an investment in his community rather than just charity work. He spends computer time personally searching for grassroots organizations in cities and towns large and small that are serving their Black, Brown and underserved communities, all without drawing attention to himself. Few of these recipients have ever met him. But others have noticed what he’s been doing. In 2017 he received Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to honor him for his courage to give up what he loved for what he believed in, and the ACLU presented him with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award. The next year the global human rights organization Amnesty International awarded Kaepernick its highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award. Augusta Quiney, director of art for Amnesty has likened him to U.S. track stars John Carlos and Tommy Smith who raised a fist on the medals stand at the 1968 Mexico Olympics to protest civil rights abuses in America and to Muhammad Ali who spoke out against the war in Vietnam and went to jail for refusing to serve in the military. All three of these athletes were vilified as a consequence of their actions. Yet people’s opinions changed over time and eventually they were honored for their courage. So it’s been for Kaepernick. With the 2020 killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and especially the horrific public execution of Floyd George – where white Americans had to watch the eight minutes and forty-six

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19


FACES OF SPORTS seconds it took for him to die while three policemen stood by watching as policeman Derek Chauvin kept unrelenting pressure on his neck – Americans in 2020 can no longer in good conscience deny the police brutality and racial injustice that caused Kaepernick to kneel in 2016. According to a recent Monmouth University poll, a majority of Americans believe police officers are more likely to treat Black people more unfairly than white people. And over three-fourths of the U.S. (including 71 percent of white Americans) believe “racial and ethnic discrimination is a big problem in the United States.” This is a 26-percentage-point spike from four years ago when Kaepernick was largely dismissed by the public as a troublemaker. So by 2018 the NFL approved kneeling as a protest during the national anthem. And in 2020 NFL commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to Kaepernick, saying he wished the league had listened to his reason for kneeling sooner. But people still want to know why Kaepernick knelt. Didn’t he know he know he could lose his job? His actions are a direct result of how he was raised. The Kaepernicks are a very close family of faith and have always been extremely supportive of Colin. Kaepernick knew from the beginning that it could damage his football career. Responding to the criticism he received, he said, “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.” White couple Teresa and Rick Kaepernick adopted biracial Colin when he was just five weeks old and lovingly raised him in a white home with white siblings. Colin’s birth father was a black man, his birth mother a single 19-year-old white girl who put him up for adoption. The public that originally dismissed him as nothing more than a troublemaker has failed to understand him as a bright, introspective biracial man growing up in a white family who, since high school has been on a serious quest to find his place as a Black man in a white world. One of Kaepernick’s important global initiatives is his Know Your Rights Camps with a mission “to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.” The purpose of these free closed day-long sessions is to talk directly with young Black, Brown and economically disadvantaged students who have been invited through local community organizations about history, education, nutrition, financial literacy and legal rights. Their T-shirts list their 10 rights: to be free, healthy, brilliant, safe, loved, courageous, alive, trusted, educated and “to know your rights.” Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation covered a 2017 camp in Chicago where Kaepernick shared this with the students: “I love my family to death. They’re the most

20 COMPETE november - december 2020

amazing people I know. But when I looked in the mirror, I knew I was different. Learning what it meant to be an African man in America, not a black man but an African man, was critical for me. Through this knowledge, I was able to identify myself and my community differently… “I thought I was from Milwaukee. I thought my ancestry started at slavery and I was taught in school that we were all supposed to be grateful just because we aren’t slaves. But what I was able to do was trace my ancestry and DNA lineage back to Ghana, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, and saw my existence was more than just being a slave. It was as an African man. We had our own civilizations, and I want you to know how high the ceiling is for our people. I want you to know that our existence now is not normal. It’s oppressive. For me, identifying with Africa gave me a higher sense of who I was, knowing that we have a proud history and are all in this together.” He went on tell the students that they were all getting backpacks and Ancestry DNA kits inside so they could trace their own ancestry and connect with any potential lost relatives. For those who still wonder why Kaepernick really decided to knowingly jeopardize a lucrative dream NFL career, who want to hear it directly from the source, it’s time. Kaepernick recently announced that he’s writing his memoir to be released this year through Kaepernick Publishing, his new company in partnership with Audible. Additionally he’s working on a six-episode Netflix series with Ava DuVernay, the filmmaker behind “Selma” and “13th.” Entitled “Colin in Black & White,” it focuses on his early years as a Black child growing up in a white adoptive family and his formative years in high school. “Colin’s story,” said DuVernay “has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience.” Most stories are told from a white perspective but Kaepernick, who will narrate the series says that "We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years." Several people have compared Kaepernick to Muhammad Ali as the next important civil rights icon for this time. Although we must wait a bit for his own explanations as to why he’s done what he’s done in life, I agree with the comparison to Ali and suspect that Kaepernick's vision of stewardsip will be a close match to Ali's:

“SERVICE TO OTHERS IS THE RENT YOU PAY FOR YOUR ROOM HERE ON EARTH.” MUHAMMAD ALI


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A Variety of Venues with Off the Field Fun

100 HRC RA TING

Whatever the game, we’ve got a place for you to play. From preseason Major League Soccer to aquatics and cycling events, Tucson’s sporting venues can tackle it all. Take your play off the field and explore Tucson’s vibrant nightlife or indulge your culinary curiosity in a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. With over 300 days of sunshine, Tucson makes it easy to keep the game going.

Contact Luchie Javelosa LJavelosa@VisitTucson.org

www.Competesportsdiversity.com520.770.2129 COMPETE 21


FACES OF SPORTS NEW NATIONAL GAY FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE COMMISSIONER:

SHIGEO IWAMIYA, SDL BY CONNIE WARDMAN (SHE, HER, HERS)

"I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MORE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEADERS BE STRAIGHT ALLIES TO OUR COMMUNITY OR POTENTIALLY BE PART OF THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY AND BE A ROLE MODEL FOR OTHER LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY MEMBERS. "

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FACES OF SPORTS Connie Wardman: The National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) recently had its election of officers and I am happy to introduce you to its new commissioner, my friend, Shigeo Iwamiya. Congratulations, Shigeo! How long have you been in your new role? Shigeo Iwamiya: Approximately three weeks. I am still brand new to the role! CW: I know how much you love this organization. What’s the best part of being involved with NGFFL from your perspective? SI: Being able to hear the stories of our community. Everyone has a different path to finding NGFFL, but once our members are involved, they’re brought together with the common thread of Compete, Connect and Unite. I am thrilled to be part of this amazing organization that brings our community together through LGBTQ+ Flag Football. CW: What has playing sports taught you? SI: Sports has taught me the value of teamwork and also taught me to stay humble. I have never had a goal of becoming a professional athlete. In fact I am the furthest away from that. Instead I have always approached sports as a means to bring people together and build community. Those communities can all look different based on the types of sports people play. But there is no denying that sports bring people closer together. CW: If someone is interested in becoming a member of the NGFFL, what would you want to share with that person, Shigeo?

SI: Being on the NGFFL board has taught me about leadership and the responsibility that comes with it. It was very profound for me to learn about the various perspectives that we have had as a board. And on many occasions I was humbled by the decisions we made as a group. I learned that leadership isn’t defined by the work you do, it’s defined by the opportunities you create for others. CW: For those who may not know, can you please explain why sports are so important to the LGBTQ+ community? SI: Because it creates a community in one of the most powerful ways. Many LGBTQ+ people self-select out of sports during their earlier years because they don’t feel safe due to things like bullying and homophobic language in locker rooms and on the fields. So when LGBTQ+ individuals see others involved in LGBTQ+ sports, it gives them hope and a chance to be involved in something that is now safe. It provides them an opportunity to build lifelong friendships, meet future partners and be able to build their self-confidence through belonging to a community of local LGBTQ+ sports teams, national leagues and international multi-sport competitions. CW: What does sports diversity really mean to you, Shigeo? SI: Sports diversity means a couple things for me. First, it speaks to the element of many different types of LGBTQ+ sports that can come together to build within our common interests and find ways to help each other through creating

SI: If someone is looking to play in a local league involved with the NGFFL, I would tell them to keep an open heart to the experience of being part of the community. The NGFFL may use flag football as a vehicle to bring the community together but people stay because of the friendships and bonds that people form. When you allow yourself to jump in, everything else falls into place. NGFFL-affiliated leagues include players that never have played flag football to former NCAA and professional athletes. No matter your skill level, there will be a place for you. I was someone who had never played football or flag football before joining so if I can do it, anyone can!

partnerships and stronger communities. It also means that

CW: I know you’ve spent time on the NGFFL board prior to being elected commissioner. What have you learned as a board member?

for your time. I speak for all of us at Compete in wishing

our representation matters in the larger scope of sports as well. LGBTQ+ players, both in and out of the closet in the larger world of sports are everywhere. We need to make it safe for the sports worlds to accept that our difference makes us stronger and not let it continue to divide our communities. I would love to see more professional sports leaders be straight allies to our community or potentially be part of the LGBTQ+ community and be a role model for other LGBTQ+ community members. CW: Again, congratulations Shigeo and thanks so much you and all the members of the NGFFL a successful term to come!

www.Competesportsdiversity.com

COMPETE

23


RUTH BADER

GINSBURG: LESSONS ON BECOMING NOTORIOUS BY CONNIE WARDMAN (SHE, HER, HERS)

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FACES OF SPORTS

"SOME OF MY FAVORITE OPINIONS ARE DISSENTING OPINIONS. I WILL NOT LIVE TO SEE WHAT BECOMES OF THEM, BUT I REMAIN HOPEFUL." On September 18 we lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate justice of the U. S. Supreme Court for 27 years, following a long battle with cancer. A remarkable human being in every way, she was an indefatigable champion of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, in particular. Even after five bouts with multiple cancers (colon cancer in 1999, pancreatic cancer 10 years later, lung cancer in 2018, pancreatic cancer again in 2019 and liver lesions in 2020) she endured radiation, chemotherapy and toward the end of her life the terrible pain of chronic shingles, she never missed a beat when it came to her job. She was the embodiment of true grit in every area of her life, Extremely close to her mother who died the day before she graduated from high school, Ginsburg lived by the two pieces of advice her beloved mother gave her. The first was to always be a lady, and by that she meant to not let herself be overcome “by useless emotions like anger.” The other was to always be independent. She described that as it being alright to meet Prince Charming and live happily ever after … but to still be able to take care of herself. The daughter of Jewish working parents, one a furrier, the other a garment worker, Ginsburg grew up in New York’s Brooklyn area and loved doing things the boys did, including climbing garage roofs and jumping from one roof to another – easy to get away with as a girl but she learned that women weren’t permitted to do all the things men did. Her rise to the highest court of the land is a story of facing religious, cultural and gender prejudice that many women in the U.S. and beyond have faced for millennia. In her case she was Jewish, she was a woman and finally, she was a wife and mother – the trifecta of barriers to having a career suited to her brilliance and education. Yet she persisted, becoming the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School, the founder of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and prime mover behind the legal fight for women’s rights and gender equality. She never complained about the prejudices she faced. In an NPR interview Ginsburg said, "I do think that I was born under a very bright star. Because if you think about my life, I get out of law school. I have top grades.

No law firm in the city of New York will hire me. I end up teaching; it gave me time to devote to the movement for evening out the rights of women and men." And it was her steady persistence that led to her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Learning about her celebrity status as the fierce and fabulous Notorious RBG tickled her; she even bought a number of Notorious RBG T-shirts and gave them out. In addition to a sense of humor, she was best friends with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative justice who was as diametrically opposed to her liberal views and she was to his conservative views. While I could write pages about RBG’s amazing accomplishments, I think there are a couple of important lessons for all of us in today’s chaotic environment. First is the way she and Justice Scalia were able to have a wonderful friendship while knowing how to disagree and argue vehemently for their constitutional points of view without the anger and incitement to violence we see happening today. RBG followed her mother’s advice to not be overtaken by anger; she always maintained a sense of dignity and perspective, focusing on the legal issues rather than personally attacking her opponent. That leads to lesson number two. RGB was a strategist who knew how to play the long game. She understood that societies change and evolve slowly, but old customs and beliefs that once prevented a more equal life experience for everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community would eventually give way with enough sound legal arguments available for future courts to consider. It was RBG’s dissenting opinions that contained her full passion because she believed them to be a chance to persuade future courts to change rulings to ones more in line with the equality she lived and worked for. In an NPR interview she said, "Some of my favorite opinions are dissenting opinions. I will not live to see what becomes of them, but I remain hopeful." I remain hopeful as well; hopeful that we employ the civility, decency, dedication, passion, humor and long-term thinking in our approach to growing the sports diversity movement. May we all become as wonderfully notorious as RBG!

www.Competesportsdiversity.com

COMPETE

25


TEAM COMPETE MVP POWRED BY SEVEN EVEN

TEAM COMPETE MVP POWERED BY SEVEN EVEN CLOTHING

Age: 29. Hometown: Merrifield, Minnesota. Current Residence: White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

GALLOWAY

CODY

First and Last Name: Cody Galloway-Braman.

Current Sport(s) Played: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Relationship Status: Married. Favorite Athlete: Max Holloway. Favorite Team: Team Alpha Male. Interests/Hobbies: Living in the gym and always working. Anything and everything outdoors. My husband and I love 4-wheeling, dirt-biking, fly fishing, snowmobiling and snowboarding in the winter. Anything active and we are there! Best Physical Feature: My husband says it’s my smile. Why You Love Sports: I love to compete, I love striving to be the best. How Did You First Get Involved in Sports: I was raised in sports; I was raised to compete. Other Sports Played: I grew up playing soccer, basketball and baseball. I still focus on wrestling, boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). I play softball for fun. What’s Your Day Job: I manage MMA fighters and own an MMA team. I also help out as a brand agent for Seven Even Clothing and manage keep the 7E with the Part of the Pack Greatest Personal Achievement: Marrying my best friend. Photo Credit: Molly Pierce.

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TEAM COMPETE MVP POWRED BY SEVEN EVEN

Photo Credit: Molly Pierce.

"SEVEN EVEN CLOTHING HAS MADE ME FEEL OK WITH THE FACT THAT I DON’T HAVE TO FIT INTO ANY MOLD OR SPECIFIC STEREOTYPE TO BE CONFIDENT IN WHO I AM, AND THAT I AM NOT ALONE IN FEELING THAT WAY."

Greatest Athletic Achievements: I think most people would probably say a state title or a competition they won. For me, it was the day I was physically and mentally broken at an MMA camp. That day something happened that changed me from the inside out and I haven’t been the same ever since. A fire was lit in me that day and I haven’t stopped grinding ever since. What’s your personal story? Tell us something about you, what interactions you have had with the sports community, LGBTQ+ community, etc. The interaction I’ve had in the sports community with MMA and boxing has been amazing, honestly; greatest group of people in the world. My life in the LGBTQ+ community hasn’t been good. I couldn’t ever fit in. I don’t like the Pride events, bars, drag or other stereotypical gathering places for the community. I don’t think there is anything wrong with those things, I just never liked that those were really my only primary options to build or find a community. And that by not liking those things, I was somehow not being part of the community. It wasn’t until I found Seven Even Clothing and had a outlet through a company that seemed to understand me and why I was feeling that way, that I finally felt like I had a place in the LGBTQ+ community where I could be myself. How did you meet Gina Pecoraro, CEO-Owner of Seven Even Clothing? I met Gina through Seven Even Clothing. I was scrolling through IG and I didn’t even know a company like 7E existed. Her message and mission hit me right away. How did you become involved in Seven Even? I bought a lot of their clothes. Then one day I reached out and explained to them what they had done for me. I fell in love with Gina and I’ve been grinding ever since.

What makes Seven Even so special? For me as a gay male, I never felt accepted into my own community. Seven Even Clothing has made me feel OK with the fact that I don’t have to fit into any mold or specific stereotype to be confident in who I am, and that I am not alone in feeling that way. 7E is about creating community for people who don’t think they fit neatly into someone else’s image of what they should be. If given the chance, what would you share with the younger generation that may be looking up to you? Be the hardest working person in the room. Drop your pride and be eager to learn. What are your future goals? I still have so much ahead of me, I have so many. For a start: • I would like for my MMA team and my athletes to be successful in their careers. • I want to see Seven Even Clothing and the activewear line to be in every mainstream store globally. • I want to continue to find ways to join people on their journey as they chase their own dreams. What are your thoughts about the LGBTQ+ community’s inclusion in sports diversity? That’s a tough question. It really depends on the sport and the person, but overall, I’m disappointed. I think it’s wild that people care if you’re gay or straight in sports. In my head there is only one objective and that’s either to win or be the best – that’s it! I was raised with the mentality that when you are competing, there is no mental capacity for anything other than a focus on performance. I understand the limitations of that philosophy but I also see the benefits of it.

www.Competesportsdiversity.com

COMPETE

27


FACES OF SPORTS

THOUSAND WORDS BY K.C. WANG-DANIELS (SHE, HER, HERS)

When the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) recently announced its partnership with Los Dogos and the Argentine Football Association (AFA) I got really excited. As a huge soccer fan I was excited to learn that the AFA backed an LGBTQ+ friendly futbol (soccer) club. I got even more excited when I found out that IGLFA was planning on holding its outdoor World Championship in Argentina in 2024. That excitement drove me to learn more about the AFA and Argentine players. Of course, I knew all about my favorite Argentina national footballer, Lionel Messi, but I wanted to check out some women players. In my research I found Lorena Benitez. When I checked out her Instagram page I discovered much more than an athlete. I also discovered a partner and a mother. Her social media stats are impressive. With nearly 100,000 Instagram followers, Benitez is certainly a social media influencer. But what impressed me the most were the stories her photos told. They tell a story of an out athlete with power, strength and agility. A strong woman. Also, a sensitive, caring mother. A loving wife. What drew me to Benitez was the fact that she is an openly gay female player. Being out in women’s sports can be complicated, especially in countries like Argentina. But it is becoming easier, thanks to athletes like Benitez. She is currently a midfielder for Boca Juniors and the Argentina women’s national foot team. She also plays on the Argentina women’s national futsal team—an indoor

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"BEING OUT IN WOMEN’S SPORTS CAN BE COMPLICATED, ESPECIALLY IN COUNTRIES LIKE ARGENTINA" sport similar to soccer. Before doing my research on Benitez I had not heard of futsal before. Benitez’s timing is perfect. The AFA is investing in women’s sports. Last year the Argentina women’s national football team played at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. And just this year the AFA announced a plan to develop a women’s professional premier league. Even during the pandemic the AFA wants to be sure to continue its bold plan to enhance women’s football. I highly recommend you visit Benitez’s Instagram page (@benitz.lorena4) and get a glimpse into her life. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In Benitez’s case a picture is worth a lot more.

Leandro Ulloa, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

A PICTURE IS WORTH A


FACES OF SPORTS

M S N B C ’ S

L G B T Q +

VOICE BY IAN COLGATE (HE,HIM,HIS)

Which prominent MSNBC news personality was offered a college sport scholarship while a top athlete in high school? If you answered the star of The Rachel Maddow Show then you are, of course, correct. Maddow is famous for her news and opinion show that takes to the air starting at 9 p.m. ET during the week. But she was originally known as a really solid three-sport athlete during her high school years as a swimmer and a basketball and volleyball player. In fact, she was scouted by a number of schools for an athletic scholarship but a shoulder injury she sustained while playing volleyball in her senior year put an end to that. While shoulder surgery could have fixed the problem, the recovery time would have delayed her college entrance a year. Since Maddow was just beginning to come to terms with being a lesbian, she was eager to escape her strongly Catholic household. Like her or not, Maddow has many fans. Her show launched on MSNBC in 2008 to more than 1.5 million viewers. At times the show has reached over 3 million. Over the years she has covered and commented on a number of news and social issues. Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage Maddow had a widely publicized on-air debate with 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Santorum argued that the Court did not have the authority to grant such unions. Santorum now serves as a political commentator for CNN. Maddow has often been a critic of President Trump. Throughout his presidency Maddow has challenged Trump’s policies on everything from LGBTQ+ rights to the military. In 2017 she teased that she had a copy of the president’s 2005 taxes. The story fizzled when she aired the story on her show and also disclosed that the president had paid $38 million in taxes. This past July Maddow interviewed Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and niece of the president. The interview

made history as MSNBC’s top-rated show ever. Maddow has won a number of awards, including multiple Emmy Awards and GLAAD Media Awards. So you may be wondering why Maddow is included as one of our Faces of Sports this year. Well, she was indeed an athlete. And Maddow wasn’t just a good athlete, she was a really good athlete. Good enough, like I mentioned above, to earn a college athletic scholarship had she not injured her shoulder. Like many of you, I wasn’t filled with confidence as a child. Knowing I was different yet not knowing what to do about it, I looked for role models to help me navigate my early life until I had the knowledge and courage to come out. While Maddow isn’t a role model for me, I think she is a stellar role model for many young girls who describe themselves like she did while in high school – “a cross between the jock and the antisocial girl.” Maddow didn’t let a sports injury ruin her college plans. Although Stanford was her second choice and wasn’t offering her a scholarship, she wound up graduating in 1994 with a degree in public policy and was awarded the John Gardner Fellowship. If you’ve ever heard her program, you know Maddow is intelligent. Following her graduation from Stanford she also was awarded both a Rhodes and a Marshall Scholarship. She chose the Rhodes Scholarship, becoming its first openly lesbian winner, and went on to earn a Doctorate of Political Science from Oxford University. Her thesis is titled “HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons.” Today, with her growing fan base and dedication to LGBTQ+ equality, she is certainly influencing American culture and public policy. I hope she also influences younger LGBTQ+ individuals in her growing audience to participate in individual and team sports because she’s certainly knowledgeable, she has something to say worth considering, she has America’s ear and people are listening to her.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

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FACES OF SPORTS

Photo credit: Gay Games Hong Hong

DENNIS PHILLIPSE:

HIS DAY JOB & HIS GAY JOB BY DIRK SMITH (HE, HIM, HIS)

I met Dennis Phillipse when he and the Hong Kong contingent came to the Paris Gay Games representing Hong Kong as one of three finalist cities bidding for the 2022 Gay Games. He’s the founder and now co-chair of Gay Games XI Hong Kong (GGHK) and I was pleased to catch up with him just prior to the pandemic hitting. Dirk Smith – It’s great to see you again, Dennis. Please share a little about yourself for our readers and how long you’ve been involved with Out in HK and in organizing Gay Games XI. Dennis Phillipse – I am originally from a small town in Holland and like so many, I was always the last kid picked in gym class. As an adult, jobs took me first to Shanghai in 2010 and then to Hong Kong where I have been living for over nine years. I love to spend my freetime outdoors and love the ultra-trail running races. Hong Kong has beautiful trails for running and hiking. I had been involved in leading LGBTQ+ sporting events in Hong Kong and realized the potential for even larger events. So I became the founder of Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022. I now have a fulltime job with a technology company in Hong Kong and a fulltime job as co-chair of the GGHK, so I tell people I have a day job and a gay job! DS – I love that! Why did you think of the Gay Games and how do you plan to be involved? DP – I remembered the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam as a great inclusive event. When we started Out in HK five years ago, I realised that the Gay Games had never been held in Asia, that it would be a great opportunity to bring this festival of diversity of sports, arts and culture to Asia. I reached out to the Federation of Gay Games to learn more about the bid process. Since then life has

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become like a roller coaster, working with an amazing team of volunteers working on the bid book proposal and winning the hosting rights in 2017 in Paris. As co-chair my focus is on government relations and supporting other members on the team and the LGBTQ+ sports organizations to make sure we host a game that's both professional on the sports level and inclusive to the Gay Games community. DS – How has the LGBTQ+ sports community in Hong Kong evolved over the last 5-10 years? DP – Out in HK started five years ago and since we have organised more than 600 events like running, hiking, camping, waterfall hikes, outdoor events and beach clean-ups. The closed Facebook group has grown to 6,000+ members and is a great alternative for people to connect and it has become a platform for LGBTQ+ groups in Hong Kong. It’s really empowering to see people joining an LGBTQ+ event for the first time in their lives, making friendships and helping each other on a hike. Several members even have found the love of their lives at an Out in HK event! In the last couple of years more groups in Hong Kong have been formed to support the LGBTQ+ sports community: OutRunnersHK, OutswimmersHK, Dragon boat team, OIHK Tennis Open and Diversity Games for organising regular sports events. In the lead up to GGHK in 2022 we expect more sports events will be held to connect the community as a warmup for GGHK. Unity is the key message of GGHK! Note: The GGHK has aggressively addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in Hong Kong as it plans for the November 2022 event. For updates from the GGHK team, visit gghk2022.com.


FACES OF SPORTS

J A S O N W R I G H T: FIRST BLACK NFL TEAM PRESIDENT LEADS A CULTURAL SHIFT BY HERON GONZALES (THEY, THEM, THEIR) Sports diversity still has many glass ceilings to shatter signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent in April but former NFL player Jason Wright shattered a big one 2004, he was cut so the team could reach its 53-player earlier this year to become the NFL’s first Black team regular season limit. Following his time with the 49ers president in the league’s 100-year history. Wright was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to their active The Washington Team has been mired in chaos roster. He made his official NFL debut in December 2004 and controversy for years. Not only is Wright’s hiring but was waived the following September. an historic moment for the Black community’s upward mobility but for the Native American community, the Less than two weeks after leaving the Falcons, Wright long-contested offensive team logo and nickname are found his way to the Cleveland Browns. Wright played now gone, and for women employees past and present, with the Browns through the 2008 NFL season and then allegations of workplace sexual signed a two-year deal with the harassment are now being taken Arizona Cardinals. At the end seriously. of that contract he refused a Only 38 years old, Wright multi-million-dollar extension is not only the youngest NFL and officially retired as an NFL team president, he’s also just player. He knew it was time to one of four former players develop some of his other gifts. to hold this position. He has After leaving the NFL made it clear that a cultural Wright enrolled at the transformation of the entire University of Chicago’s team is underway, one that will Booth School of Business. He enhance and expand the value of graduated in 2013 with an the franchise. He truly believes MBA focusing in operations in transparency and inclusion and finance and joined the as well as accountability and international consulting firm realizes he’s an agent of change All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/ McKinsey & Company as a licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons for Washington. partner in Operations Practice Wright is in charge of the where he served as a diversity team’s business operations and inclusion consultant. He has been considered a and that enables coach Ron Rivera to concentrate on “business whiz.” decisions made on the field. The two men are expected to In his personal life Wright and his wife, Tiffany are have a strong working relationship based on their positive considered to be very generous. They have four children: longtime relationship that goes back to Wright’s NFL two biological children and two women now in their playing days. mid-twenties (they joined the Wright family as struggling Wright was an athlete from early on and played football and track at his California high school. His family teenagers and each have a child) and they also have two grandchildren. Wright says the family works to make the was working class and Wright has often talked about the world a better place. work ethic his family instilled in him. Following high The Washington Football Team made sports diversity school Wright attended Northwestern University where history twice in 2020 —once by renaming its team and his athletic performance was strong enough to earn him once by hiring Wright as president. Good choices all the Bobby Bowden Award presented by the University’s around. Now that the ceiling is officially shattered for the chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the first time in the NFL’s 100-year history, we are excited to Second-team All-Big Ten Awards in 2003. see the next Black president take his, her or their place Although Wright was not drafted by the NFL after college, he would go on to play seven NFL seasons. Initially alongside Wright in NFL history.

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Photo Courtesy of Talty Bar

NUTRITION: FACES OF SPORTS

L: TIM TALTY, R: MICHAEL MARCHENA

TALTY BAR: ELEVATING THE LGBTQ+ COMPETITIVE SPIRIT THROUGH ALLYSHIP It was in 2015 that Tim Talty, creator of the Talty Bar, met his future business partner, Michael Marchena. Tim was caked in the afterglow of his first Tough Mudder and Michael was in attendance at the post-race gourmet snack station while also acting as ultimate cheerleader for his boyfriend (now husband!) who was also a race participant. At that moment the two may have looked like a mismatched pair but Michael and Tim make a perfectly balanced team in business and friendship. Talty has a lighthearted, trickster energy but exhibits serious talent and creativity in the kitchen. Marchena is gifted with huge business acumen and a no-nonsense edge. While Marchena appreciated Talty's good time, dreamer spirit and supported him in expanding production of his protein bar, he was concerned that his friend was venturing into an already flooded market … right up until the moment he tasted it. With that first bite, Michael realized that his friend was doing something innovative with the Talty Bar and he wanted in on the business. Once Michael was on-board, the duo made a commitment to bringing the Talty Bar to the LGBTQ+ community. Marchena had this to say about their decision: "Of course we want everyone to enjoy the health benefits of our product. But showing support to the LGBTQ+ community is a specific goal for us.” “Representation is critical,” Marchena continued to say, “and we want to elevate the competitive spirit that's present among LGBTQ+ athletes. They deserve recognition and support. That’s why we've chosen to make diversity the foundation for our marketing and outreach.

36 COMPETE november - december 2020

We are thrilled to be sponsoring the Pride Run Series next year and are looking forward to supporting other LGBTQ+ events as we grow.” The idea of creating an energy bar is personal to Tim Talty. Tim has always been a passionate chef. By the age of 10 he was already cooking and baking delicious food from scratch. And by his twenties Tim's professional culinary career was flourishing. But there was something wrong. Tim had struggled with his weight since childhood, and as an adult he found that his successful career in bustling kitchens was compounding this issue. Carrying 80 extra pounds and zapped of energy, Tim knew something needed to change. He committed to taking control of his health and transformed his body with diet and exercise. But something still wasn't right. The hours spent at the gym left even less time for him to cook nutritious meals for himself. So he was reaching for protein bars out of convenience. These protein bars provided fuel, but they never fully satisfied him. And the long list of ingredients, for a chef who loves food, was (quite literally) hard to swallow. After trying dozens of different brands, Tim noticed a pattern. The protein bars on the market were delivering on two of the following factors, but never all three: great taste, great texture and great ingredients. Tim wanted all three and knew his experience as a chef was the answer to checking all the boxes. While Tim’s recipes have changed over the years, his basic rules have not – offer the best tasting products on the market utilizing Simple But Honest™ ingredients. Find out more about Tim, Michael, and Talty Bars online at taltybar.com and share your health journey with them.


belcorva.com


FACES OF SPORTS

PATRICIO MANUEL: S I M P L Y

PATRICIO MANUEL Photo Crredit: Aswadhin, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

A M A Z I N G

BY IAN COLGATE (HE, HIM, HIS) We first heard about Patricio “Pat” Manuel from the Olympic Channel in 2017 when they contacted us to write about their mini-series entitled “Identity.” The miniseries chronicled the journey of six transgender athletes, including Manuel. Each segment of “Identity” lets the athletes do the talking by sharing their personal insights and journeys. You also hear from family, friends, coaches and teammates who share intimate views of how each athlete has grown and prospered as an individual as well as the impact that athlete has made on them, helping them to learn, understand and grow. The focus for all the athletes featured in “Identity” is about their love for sport and how it impacts their personal identities. The one constant in each athlete’s life has been sport. No matter what else they might have faced day-in and day-out they could always count on the love for their sport to carry them through even the hardest of times. This, in fact is a struggle most athletes can relate to. Sport is just as much an integral part of an athlete as is being straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Facing an even greater struggle to become whole than most, asking a trans athlete to give up one part of the self to pursue another, essentially sabotages the quest for wholeness. But Manuel’s story started long before his appearance in “Identity.” Pat was born Patricia Manuel in 1985. Patricia was a natural fighter and by 2012 she was ready to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic boxing team — it was the first time the sport had been open to female boxers. Shortly before the match Manuel injured a shoulder but decided to fight in the bout anyway. Immediately the injured fighter knew she would not be able to win the match due to the injury. Manuel knew that his Olympic dreams were over, but in that moment his new dream began to take shape! He found the courage to begin his transition. The transition initially took four years to complete and by 2016 he was ready to fight. This time he was fighting as his authentic self, a man. That year he became U.S. Boxing’s first transgender male to compete in a boxing match and Manuel won that match. Fresh from his win, Manuel took on another opponent but lost this time around. In fact, he lost big; Manuel sustained a serious injury. To make matters worse, some of the other boxers refused to fight Manuel because he was a transgender athlete. But two years later Manuel competed in his first professional bout in 2018. After two years negotiating with the California Boxing Commission, the state finally authorized him to fight as a man and Manuel took the ring against Hugo Aguilar. Manual won the match in a unanimous decision at the end of the fourth round. He set another first—the first transgender man to win a professional boxing match. Following that win Manuel was tapped by Everlast, the leading manufacturer and licensor of boxing, mixed martial arts and fitness equipment to be a company spokesperson. The company had created an inclusion campaign and Manuel was a perfect fit. The iconic boxing brand had previously used the faces of such distinguished boxers as Jack Dempsey and Sugar Ray Robinson and now Pat Manuel’s face joins theirs as part of what Everlast calls a part of its “new crop of trailblazers.” In May 2019 the San Francisco 49ers launched their first official fan club for the LGBTQ+ community and supporters to talk about the importance of LGBTQ+ activism in sport. As one of the speakers, Manuel said that the advocacy of LGBTQ+ athletes must come from everyone. "I ask each of you to fight with us to make sure that we have a place, not only in sports but in the world," Manuel said. "Don't deny others the chance to change their lives, because I wouldn't know who I am without sports." Manuel describes himself on Facebook as a fighter, consultant and speaker, consciously constructed Being and old school with a new twist. I’d describe him as a trailblazer and as simply amazing.

38 COMPETE november - december 2020


FACES OF SPORTS

ALLYSA SEELY: A NATIONAL TREASURE BY ERIC CARLYLE (HE, HIM, HIS)

The fact that 31-year-old Allysa Seely was born in Phoenix had no bearing on our decision to honor her in this special issue of Compete. And while she attended college at Arizona State University just a few miles from Compete’s office, Seely is much more to us than a fellow Phoenician. To me, her desire and drive to continue competing in spite of her medical condition that continues to worsen with age really makes her a national treasure. Seely was one of 20 athletes featured in ESPN The Magazine’s 2106 Body Issue. In 2018 she and Mark Barr won the USA Triathlon’s 2018 Elite Paratriathletes of the Year award. She matched that last year when ESPN presented her with an ESPY as Best Female Athlete with a Disability. She also took a seat on USA Triathlon’s board of directors in 2019. But I think I am getting a little ahead of myself. Seely completed her first triathlon in 2008 as an able-bodied athlete while still in college and became a nationally ranked triathlete. In 2010, after experiencing numbness and tingling in her limbs for two years she was diagnosed with Chiari II Malformation, basilar invagination and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. In a 2016 espnW article, she shared with Morty Ain that “the Chiari malformation means my brain is herniated into my spinal column, so a significant amount of my cerebellum and brain stem is outside of my skull and inside my spinal column. The basilar invagination means the part that is from my skull to my spine is bent at a weird angle; it has like a kink in it. And Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a connective tissue disorder. And then the complications from those three diagnoses and the surgeries I've had led to complications that eventually led to the amputation of my left leg below my knee.” In spite of what would seem like insurmountable odds, she remained a competitive college athlete while continuing to treat her condition, becoming the first collegiate athlete with a physical disability to compete at the national championships. As her condition progressed, Seely continued participating in sports as an elite paratriathlete. In 2012 at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships she earned a bronze medal. But the following year Seely suffered a setback, the year when her left leg was amputated below the knee. Doctors questioned if she’d ever walk again. But Seely is a fighter and she was back training just weeks after surgery, much to the hesitation of her doctors, nurses and physical therapists who were urging her to be “realistic” about her future outcome. She decided to prove them wrong and just eight months later she competed in the triathlon collegiate nationals! By 2014 Seely was Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil, CC BY 3.0 BR <https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

40 COMPETE november - december 2020

back competing and between 2014-2019 she continued to score a number of medals and championships leading up to her ESPY. In 2019 Seely relocated to Colorado Springs to utilize the Olympic Training Center. She was featured in The Denver Post alongside her service dog Mowgli, a golden retriever. The pair train together, running up to 40 miles each week. Seely says Mowgli can sense medical emergencies before they happen even though he hasn’t been trained to do that. When Seely experiences a seizure or loses consciousness her canine friend is there to protect her. I am inspired by Seely’s honest posts like this one from her Facebook page on October 14: “As an athlete I have always found my stride in the form of ‘Get up, Dress up, Show up and NEVER give up’ to me showing up everyday is not about being your best everyday, but doing what you can everyday. Some days that is, FRUSTRATINGLY, resting and healing. Today it took of the form of squats, wall sits, some bed sit ups and planks. Everyday I aim to show up in the way that I can and by doing so I’ve defied odds, gone places I could have never imagined and accomplished things no one else has. No matter how irritated I get by my medical conditions and the ways in which they hold me back I want to focus on the ways—no matter how small—I can move forward…” As she ages, the disease continues to progress and presents more challenges. But Seely continues to be upbeat and to face each challenge one day at time. Seely is a true winner (and so is Mowgli)!


HEALTH

THE NEW WONDER FOOD? Maca is a root vegetable that’s part of the mustard family. Native to Peru, it’s a medicinal root that’s grown in the high, rugged elevations of the Central Andes where little else grows. While archaeological evidence suggests that the domestication of Maca began about 2,000 years ago, there are written references from Spanish explorers and conquerors dating to the 1,500s noting that Maca had been used as both tribute and to improve the fertility of their cattle imported from Spain. Even today, natives of Peru eat up to 20 grams of dried Maca daily to improve their health.

Photo Credit: The MACA Team

HOW TO USE MACA The most effective way to take Maca powder is to mix it into water or a simple fruit juice and take it on an empty stomach 10-15 minutes before you eat breakfast. Taking Maca on an empty stomach allows it to absorb a bit faster and more thoroughly. For most people it's also fine to mix maca powder in smoothies and other drinks as well as in some kinds of food.

WHY TO INSIST ON PERUVIAN MACA

Maca is a nutritional powerhouse that is dense in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It’s also an adaptogen, meaning that it supports overall health and strength. Research has shown that Maca works to boost the overall physical functioning of the body as well as lifting the mood.

If you’ve done a little bit of research, you probably already know that Maca root originates in the high Andes mountains and is today primarily grown in Peru and Bolivia. What you probably don’t know is that over the past several years, China has also started growing and exporting Maca root products. Peruvian Maca is organic, fair trade, non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free. And it comes in three different varieties.

MACA AND HORMONES

MACA HEALTH BENEFITS

HOW MACA WORKS

Maca is considered to be very beneficial for hormone balancing, endocrine and thyroid function enhancement, even immune system enhancement. These benefits are most likely related to its high content of amino acids. Hormones are constructed of amino acids and cholesterol.

MACA AS AN ADAPTOGEN Maca root, like ginseng, is also an adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that raise the physical body’s state of resistance to diseases through physiological health and emotional health improvements. These effects make Maca a broad-based superfood that in many cases is able to balance and rejuvenate overwhelmed, tired adrenal glands and other aspects of the hormonal system, unlike coffee which stresses the adrenal glands. Over time, use of maca can lead to several benefits including greater energy, stamina, improved mood and the ability to handle stress.

42 COMPETE november - december 2020

In the Maca team experience, continued and persistent use of high quality Maca promotes improvement in the hormonal, physical and emotional states of regular people everyday. That said, we've also noticed a significant amount of misleading or hyperbolic information out there in regard to the benefits of taking Maca. That's why we've put together a collection of all of our articles that deal with the benefits of Maca. We provide scientific documentation and examples from our experience and claims whenever possible.

MACA STUDIES AND RESEARCH Many research studies provide evidence of the benefits provided by Maca. Over 400 studies of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) are indexed on PubMed, the National Library of Medicine alone. Other Maca research has also been published; in particular in Peru where Maca is from. Visit themacateam.com for more information.


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COMPETE

45


FIT & FAB

MOTIVATION? You’re Not Alone! BY MATT BOYLES, (HE, HIM, HIS)

If you’re struggling with motivation (aka, what to do to get out of a slump), you’re not alone. I get asked about this pretty regularly so I have collated for you the six best approaches you may want to try. 1. Stop comparing your entire life to just a snapshot of someone else's. We have a tendency to see just a glimpse of other people's lives (in real life and even more so on social media) and compare it to our ENTIRE life. We see the “perfectly” put together body, life, holiday, boyfriend, everything and then look at ours. And it's raining. And it's Tuesday afternoon. And you've got a cold. And you start thinking, "I'll never be like them." But they've only shown you a very carefully edited and curated snapshot of their life. You're doing brilliantly AND in currently extremely trying circumstances. You don't have to have it all together. Remember that what you're seeing online is 99.9 percent NOT REAL. If this is happening to you, try a social media detox AND start removing toxic influences from your feed. Again, remember you're only seeing them because you chose to see them in the first place. Therefore, you can unchoose (that should be a word) to see them and instead, curate a feed that lifts you up, however that looks. 2. Remember everyone has energy ebbs and flows, ups and down. Yes, even me. I know I sometimes seem like the indefatigable Labrador of Fitness, and more times than not, I am pretty upbeat. But sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I want to skip working out for a few days or even longer because I want to focus on other things or just because I want to have some downtime. There's nothing wrong with this. In fact, there's lots right with it. Just know that however long you rest, you haven't fallen off any kind of wagon – there ISN'T a wagon. There's just you looking after yourself. Sometimes we can give it more attention; sometimes we can give it less and that's fine, too.

3. Baby steps are the best steps. Baby steps will always get you to where you want to go but they're never off-putting. So often we've been told that if we're not giving it 110 percent then there's no point in doing it. What. A load. Of old. CRAP! Anything, ANYTHING positive you do for yourself is, guess what? Something positive you've done for yourself that can't be undone! If that looks like going for a 10-minute walk, when yesterday you didn't leave the house, that's wonderful! In fact, that's 100 percent more walk than you did the day before! Maybe the next day you’ll do an 11-minute walk. Good for you! But if you don't, that's OK too, which leads me to Point 4. 4. Compassion starts at home. You don't need to be Superman (or Wonderwoman) (is Wonder Woman two words?!). The best you can do is the best you can do. And any small gift of self-compassion and understanding will help you feel better day-to-day about who you are and what you do. To quote wobbly-voiced singer of pop, Jess Glynne, "Don't be so hard on yourself." 5. Try something different. I don't believe people are lazy, not really. Remember that thing you love doing? Maybe it’s climbing, macrame, ballroom dancing with shadow puppets, but whatever it is, you love that. You never miss it and you always have great energy when you do it. So, too with everything else in your life. Find what you actually enjoy and your laziness will evaporate since you'll always be doing something you WANT to do. 6. You haven't done anything wrong. Therefore, no need for any guilt. Disapproving of what you've done or not done has only held you back … so far. So try approving of yourself and see what unlocks. I believe in you. Have a good month, Matt

MATT BOYLES is a regular columnist for Compete and an online Personal Trainer who specializes in working with Gay, Bi and Trans males. In addition to the more regular fitness and nutrition components he has layered in elements to support mental health, boost confidence and provide bucketloads of empathy. Find out more about Matt's sensible and holistic approach to health and fitness: www.fitterconfidentyou.net/onlinetraining.

46 COMPETE november - december 2020


WHO WILL BE OUR 2021 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR? SELECTION COMMITTEE

SELECTION CRITERIA > Commitment to personal achievement. > Active participation in an individual or team sport.

Ryan O'Callaghan Former NFL Athlete

Lendale Johnson Professional Tennis Player

> Commitment to supporting/encouraging others in sports. > Commitment to the LGBTQ+ sporting community and/or the LGBTQ+ community.

Keli Imus Community Engagement Manager Seattle Seahawks

Nikol PiĂąon-Salvador 2020 Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year

To nominate yourself or a deserving amateur athlete online go to CompeteSportsDiversity.com

Eric Carlyle Compete Sports Diversity CEO

www.Competesportsdiversity.com

COMPETE

47


BEDROOM SPORTS

TOM FORD OR AN END TO COVID-19? BY RYAN O'CONNOR (HE, HIM, HIS), GUEST COLUMNIST

All I want for Christmas is an end to COVID-19. Soon it will be a year since we first quarantined inside our

Tom Ford or Tom Ellis. Or almost any other hot Tom. And I’d want my Tom without any social distancing!

houses and in many places, especially in Los Angeles, not much has changed. I’ve had little interaction with

Without COVID-19 my Christmas wishes would

my friends and what I have had has always been at a safe

certainly be a little different. First, I’d be wishing for

distance. And dating? There’s been no real dating life to

a bright red Gucci suit to wear when I ring in the New

write about. As far as bedroom sports goes, I’ve been a

Year. Then I’d be waiting for my white-on-white BMW

“on deck” for over six months but haven’t gotten up to bat.

540i. But my main Christmas wish would for my knight in shining armor to show up, preferably in soccer shorts or a speedo, to sweep me up and take me off to a tropical

But really, giving up my dating life is not that hard a thing to do when I hear of people who have gotten sick and even died from COVID-19. And that’s not to mention families and friends who have lost loved ones to the disease.

island somewhere for a life filled with true love and romance. Oh, and of course I’d want to take my Gucci suit and BMW with me. But as compelling as those material things are, and how appealing the idea of a lifetime of love on a sunny

While I have been lucky enough not to have lost anyone to this horrible disease, I have friends who

island seems, I think this year I am going to stick with my original Christmas wish.

haven’t been as lucky as I have. They’ve seen spouses,

And no matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope

children, parents and grandparents suffer through the

you will continue to join me by wearing a face covering,

illness. Some recovered and some didn’t. Many buried

socially distancing and washing your hands. Because if

their family member or friend far too young.

we all work together, we can save lives-and that would be the best Christmas gift ever! So here is hoping for an

In past years I’ve wished for Christmas with my family back home in Minnesota, or an exciting ski vacation, or

end to COVID-19 around the world and peace for all those people who have lost someone special.

RYAN O’CONNOR is just a regular guy who is dating in this great big world. His advice comes from personal experience and his advice is for entertainment purposes only. We recommend you consult a physician, counselor or therapist in your area for specific advice about your personal situation. Otherwise, questions can be submitted to bedroom@competesportsdiversity.com

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