Compete Sept/Oct 2022

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Gay Bowl XXII Heads to Hawaii 15th Annual Lynn Lewis Invitational Bingham Cup Celebrates Inclusivity

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Gay Bowl XXII is Being Played in Hawaii


15th Annual Lynn Lewis Invitational




KICK OFF Grandstanding • Survey


ONE-ON-ONE Travis Shumake • Openly Gay Drag Racer


FROM THE COMPETENETWORK.COM BLOG 2022 Bingham Cup in Ottawa Celebrates Inclusivity in Rugby










30 FIT N FAB 32 GYM BAG 16







Only 14 Months Until Gay Games: Gotta’ Train! Happy Fall ya’ll! I am very excited for this particular season so I can share (I’m sharing this partly to hold myself accountable as well) that I am training for my first competitive swim season in five years! But wait a minute, why five years? Haven’t I done competitions in the time between 2017 and now? Why yes, I have. I did the 2018 Gay Games, the 2019 Dussel-Cup and the 2021 EuroGames. Here’s the brief back story. I attended the 2015 EuroGames in Stockholm which was a very poorly organized event. Despite having no sports experience, a bunch of generic event planners decided to stage a sporting event in order to lure the almighty pink dollar. Then came the 2017 World Outgames in Miami, better known as the Fyre Games as it was the LGBTQ+ sports version of the infamous Fyre Festival. Again, a blatant scam designed to lure the almighty pink dollar from LGBTQ+ athletes and sponsors without ever having the experience nor the intention of hosting a credible global sporting event. It was a disaster and as an athlete, I was very angry for me … and everyone else … being taken advantage of so blatantly. My passion is LGBTQ+ sports and I truly feel like there are a lot of good things that come from our community, but needless to say, my passion and love for this movement was severely injured. At the same time, I had been wrestling with the reality that one of my original goals for swimming was simply unattainable. It led me to an existential crisis where I reevaluated everything – to the point where I moved across the planet, went back to school and changed everything I was doing. Another crisis hit a low point last year with my mental health on the verge of collapse. Thankfully, once you hit a low point, inevitably you rise back up. For me, it started at the 2021 EuroGames in Copenhagen helped by my SC Janus friends and teammates. But it really hit home at the 2022 Sin City Classic with help from my friends and colleagues here at Compete Sports Diversity as well as my friends at the Pride Cheerleading Association. You may recall my articles on the Sin City Classic; how I hung out with PCA for two days with a video camera that ultimately became an episode of my web show, Sport Psych n’ Stuff. Those experiences helped remind me of why I love this community so much and have chosen to work with it. My teammates, colleagues and PCA friends helped to lift me up when I needed it most. So when I returned to Germany I got back to work. Since then, I’ve started my PhD, I’ve had three research papers published, I’m building my career as a sport psychologist and strength & conditioning coach in professional and elite sport, building DEI education and training with Compete and so much more. Recently I was reminded of my experiences at the 2010 and 2014 Gay Games, of how amazing those events were, and it really made me miss those days, too. Well, the next Gay Games is 14 months away, so it’s time to hit the pool and start training again. Europe has a humongous LGBTQ+ sports community and I still have much to experience. So here we go! •

David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL •






Fall and Football – It Spells My Favorite Time of Year! I absolutely love the change of seasons, especially when it turns fall and the leaves start to change into those glorious reds, yellows, oranges and various shades of green! I also love football. And as those who know me will attest, having come from the Pittsburg area, I happen to spell football – STEELERS! But this issue covers the National Gay Flag Football League’s annual XXII Gay Bowl, held this year in Hawai’i. Their story is incredible; it really started long ago in California as some pickup games and then gay sports icons Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler, co-founders of formalized the idea and had three teams that came to play in the first Gay Bowl. And now the NGFFL has recognition from the NFL. Who ever said gay men can’t play pro football! Or gay women! There’s another wonderful football story on the Lynn Lewis Foundation’s 15th annual invitational tournament. While this is women’s flag football played without quarter, it’s played with a purpose – it’s about helping to educate women AND men about breast cancer and so much more! It’s a small foundation but one with a very important purpose and an even bigger heart! Then there’s the great cover story on openly gay Travis Shumake’s incredible story of landing Grindr as a sponsor for his drag racing career just from a picture. You have to read it – you just can’t make this stuff up! And how wonderful for Travis that he’s embracing a goal of furthering a career in gay racing. If you’re a drag race fan, especially a gay one, and happen to be in Los Angeles in November, come out to the racetrack and rediscover America’s oldest motorsport. And of course, don’t miss the story on gay and inclusive rugby’s Bingham Cup held recently in Ottawa, Canada. For those who don’t know, Compete was originally formed back in 2006 because the founders, two gay rugby players, went to the Bingham Cup in New York and realized there was no one covering it even though it had been named in honor of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who lost his life fighting back against the hijackers on Flight 93 during the 9/11 attack. We love sharing these important stories with you. It’s only when people begin to realize that we are all human, that we all have interesting stories to share that make us, well … just people like everyone else. We operate on our IDEAL Principles of Inclusion, Diversity, Equality/Equity, Acceptance and Leadership as we put the magazine together. So if you know of stories that reflect this, please let us know. We love hearing from you. •

Connie Wardman, M.A., SDLT • SHE | HER



Congratlations to


Eric Carlyle • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Connie Wardman • MANAGING EDITOR

David “Dirk” Smith • ART DIRECTOR

Dara Fowler •

on their 45th Anniversary!


Harry Andrew, Matt Boyles, Lisa Chastain, Ryan O’Connor, Miriam Latto, Joshua Magallanes, Brian Patrick, Maria-Belle Zuniga PROJECT COORDINATOR


Bethany Harvat • To partner with Compete Sports Diversity, please contact our Sales & Partnerships Team

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Eric Carlyle, SDLT Connor Shane, SDLT Angela Smith, SDLT John Deffee, SDLT Joel Horton, SDL All Mail: PO BOX 2756, Scottsdale, AZ 85252 Corporate Office: 6991 E Camelback Rd., D-300, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (800) 489-1274 Copyright ©2022 Media Out Loud, LLC All Rights Reserved. Compete Sports Diversity, Sports Diversity Leadership Council, Sports Diversity Leader and SDL are all trademarks of Media Out Loud, LLC.

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Compete Unites the World Through Sports

KICK OFF SURVEY GRANDSTANDING You Don’t Look A Day Over 21 My husband and I were delighted to see your coverage of NAGAAA’s 45th anniversary. Having been to three Gay Softball World Series tournaments, I can say that the league has changed so many lives for the better. Many years ago my husband and I met playing softball. Happy anniversary, NAGAAA. Lloyd Keith Hershey, Pennsylvania

What is your favorite fall sport? • FOOTBALL 45% • BASKETBALL 30% • HOCKEY 15% • SOCCER 10%

Meeting A Better Barry I really connected to your feature story where Jonah Barry shared his story. The story itself was insightful and Jonah’s bright personality shined through the pages of the magazine. This is the type of story I always look for when reading a magazine and I really appreciate it. Linda Robel Las Cruces, New Mexico

Check out the latest in sports diversity at COMPETENETWORK.COM

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… for being the first drag queen to compete on the U.S. edition of Dancing With the Stars. Paired with pro dancer Gleb Savchenko, the couple will compete as a same-sex pairing, like JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson in season 30. It airs September 19 on Disney+ instead of ABC.



… for being named WNBA Coach of the Year in her first season with the Aces; she’s also the first WNBA head coach to win a title in her debut season. She drew attention as a San Antonio Stars player, as a San Antonio coach and more. Her thoughts on it all? “I’m used to people not picking me — I don’t know if you’re aware. I just do me.” PLATON SHILIKOV VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

… for allowing nonbinary runners to compete in their own nonbinary division. Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and San Francisco Marathons have all committed to having a nonbinary division this year.


THOSE COMING OUT • E llia Green, Australian Rugby Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist … came out in a video that opened the Bingham Cup International Summit on ending transphobia and homophobia in sport. A former player for the New Zealand Warriors, Green won an Olympic gold medal in 2016 as a member of Australia’s rugby sevens team.

• J ack Jablonski, digital media content specialist for NHL’s LA Kings … who was paralyzed after being hit in a high school hockey game over 10 years ago. He credits NHL prospect Luke Prokop who came out as gay in 2019 for helping him come out.

• Z ander Murray, Scottish Soccer Player … has become the first current professional soccer player in Scotland to come out as gay.

TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL TEAM … for being a Platinum Sponsor of NAGAAA’s recent Gay Softball World Series that was held this year in Dallas, Texas. Some Rangers officials appeared at the opening ceremonies although the club doesn’t officially recognize the LGBTQ+ community with an in-stadium Pride Night. Peter Haughton, vice commissioner of the West End Softball Association from Vancouver, Canada, said “It’s all about progress.”

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Deserving athletes, teams, leagues, organizations, and corporations as well as high profile celebrities receive High Fives for their contributions to promoting diversity, inclusion, equality-equity and acceptance for all.

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Meet Openly Gay Drag Racer, Travis Shumake Dirk Smith: I appreciate you taking the time. I know you’ve been quite busy and you’re becoming so popular! Travis Shumake: It’s been a crazy month. I’m reading my emails this morning and still processing everything. It’s all because of the Grindr suit. I had been working on this for two years straight then you get one thirst trap photo on the internet and suddenly people are like… *gestures with jaw drop* and my followers doubled. I think that’s what makes me more relevant to other big companies. They’re telling me I am relevant now and I am sitting here thinking it was just one shirtless photo and a Grindr ad. DS: To me, it’s quite a statement you’re making because you’re in probably one of the straightest sports ever. Then you hit the scene with a giant Grindr sponsorship on your chest and car. There’s nothing that can establish you quicker, as a gay racer than Grindr. How did you convince Grindr to sponsor you? TS: It started with a conversation on LinkedIn. I was posting a lot regarding my background in business development. In racing, for most drivers, the driver is in charge of raising the money. Once you become an established driver, then you get an agent and all those things, but I don’t have four grand a month for an agent. So, I’m constantly networking on LinkedIn. Well, someone I know also knows the Chief Marketing Officer at Grindr, a guy named Alex and we set

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up a meeting over Zoom. Well, Grindr is based in Los Angeles and I was actually headed to a race in Pomona, California, so I say “let me take you to the racetrack.” They always say, “if you can get a sponsor to the racetrack, they’ll lose their mind over the drag race.” It’s like a visceral experience with the smell of the nitro methane. You can’t breathe in the car, when you slam on the gas you vibrate off the ground, and it’s just an experience you can’t replicate until you’re there. I hook him up with all sorts of cool stuff like starting line passes where he’s 10 feet from these cars, they’re taking off and his mind is blown. Well, by sheer happenstance, while we’re at the race, someone steals all of my safety equipment. I had my vintage racecar duffel bag with $8,000 worth of equipment, every strap, whistle, t shirt, sock. Fast forward after the race day, Alex comes back to me and says “we like you, we like your story, and we want to see you succeed. So, the least we can do to start is replace your clothes and equipment.” That’s how the partnership got started with just that. They said, “you can’t drive naked” and I didn’t have the funds to get new safety stuff, so I was on the sidelines until they stepped in. I don’t know where the partnership will go from there, but they are actively involved, and I’ve got plans for next year, so we’ll see how that integrates. But it was such a bold statement with combining the Grindr suit with Pride Kansas/Visit Topeka car, which is also a first. It was like a triple threat. Visit Topeka was promoting a gay pride festival and I’m over here,

“I even got protested by the Westboro Baptist Church. I mean, that’s how you know you’ve made it.”

sponsored by Grindr, in Kansas of all places. I even got protested by the Westboro Baptist Church. I mean, that’s how you know you’ve made it. People asked me “are those protesters outside for you?” Which I proudly respond that they sure are. DS: If you can p*ss off the Westboro Baptist Church, then clearly, you’re doing something right. TS: Grindr even sent out a press release. That’s how you let the world know “We are purchasing Travis.” I mean, they had to engage someone to write that for them and they are really bending over backwards to make a statement. DS: A real powerful statement you’re making is that drag racing isn’t just a sport for one kind of person, you’re making it more open and accessible to new fans and future drag racers. If there’s somebody like you that can drive a rainbow car sponsored by Grindr, another gay person will see that they can be in that sport as well. TS: It’s also helped in this last nine months that we’ve created a network called Racing Pride. It’s based in Europe but has been expanding. Now there are eight North American ambassadors in every discipline, except Monster Trucks, and it’s to create that visibility. So, you can see someone like me and then you look online and realize there’s one in another category. I’m in charge of shipping orders of a racing pride bumper sticker and in the last four or five weeks I’ve shipped out a lot of stickers to all over middle America. Which is exciting for me because I can see how and where that visibility is expanding. DS: I feel like you’re going to see a lot more people wanting stickers now too. TS: Last week I signed a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign, I’ll be their first athlete for equality in the motorsports realm and I am continuing to elevate that voice right now at the HRC Gala. I am expecting to go and be introduced to someone with people expecting me to be a drag queen, but no, I am a drag racer. DS: Like, actual drag racing, not Drag Race. TS: Exactly, and I am expecting a room full of chief marketing officers who wanted to be part of that. There have already been a bunch of

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openly gay racecar drivers, I’m by no means the first. Maybe the first openly gay driver in my discipline, but this been going on for a long time. The problem is no one has ever made it all the way. There was one openly gay driver in NASCAR, but he only did one race, and it wasn’t a top-level race. He could’ve gone further but it was hard to find the funding. So, I am trying to take it further, almost 15 years after him. I’m going for that big cash, I’m not going to piecemeal it together and I’m not going to give up until we have corporate support of LGBTQ drivers, year-round too, not just during Pride month. DS: A lot of people are familiar with your general story and your background growing up with one of the sport’s biggest legends who sadly passed away when you were young. But your career as a professional racer is relatively recent, what inspired that? TS: I thought my time in racing was done when my dad passed away. Shortly after that, my sister wrote a book about my dad and I always left racing as my dad’s and sister’s thing because she’s seven years older, so she grew up living in a semi-truck driving around the country. When my dad passed, I figured I didn’t really know anything about racing. But when Covid hit, I realized during quarantine, that’s not true at all. Having that conversation over dinner I realized I can make a difference. I have this platform and this privilege. Some of the biggest drivers in the sport community attended my dad’s funeral, they certainly can’t talk shit about me, because they’re friends. They understand that as my dad’s kid, they can help me out. I’m also a professional fundraiser who worked for the Clintons, I’m a white man of privilege, so I feel like there’s a little bit of an obligation to break this down and take it farther. I want to pick up where others have left off and make this happen. Now that it’s actually happening, I love when I’m at the track, not thinking about money and sponsors. I just flip the switch when I get to the track. I’m dirty, gross and I smell, I drive race car and that’s where it becomes really fun.

Travis with his dad in 1988

DS: It’s great you mentioned that too, it shows that your identity as a gay man and your identity as a racer are not mutually exclusive either. TS: My team owner often says that, and again, I think change takes time. I wrote a book called Brotherhood; it’s about being gay in a straight fraternity. When I pledged Sigma Chi, I didn’t get in because one guy voted against me over me being gay. Three years later, I was in his wedding. Watching my team owner, Randy evolves with me. At first, he’d ask, “why can’t you just drive a black car” and now he’s asking for more rainbows. We’re all growing together, and he once said, “if you’re going to make me wear a giant rainbow t shirt, (which is what the crew shirts were), just a little warning this time. I don’t mind wearing it, but I need a heads up!” DS: Awesome! I am happy to hear that! What is next for Travis Shumake? TS: I have three races left this year. One in Redding, Pennsylvania, and another in Charlotte at the end of September, then the World Finals, which I’m super excited about as it’ll be my last race of the year in November in LA. LA has a lot of gay fans and there’s a plenty of gay fans in Charlotte, but we need to get the gays out to the racetrack. I think it would be great to have LGBTQ+ representation in the grandstands at the race in LA in November, so I just want people to come rediscover America’s oldest motorsport! •



CODY GALLOWAY-BRAMAN • HE | HIM | HIS • AGE 29 HOMETOWN: Merrifield, Minnesota. CURRENT RESIDENCE: White Bear Lake, Minnesota CURRENT SPORT(S) PLAYED: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married FAVORITE ATHLETE: Max Holloway FAVORITE TEAM: Team Alpha Male 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.

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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.

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 7E Part of the Pack. Greatest Personal Achievement: Marrying my best friend. 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 same ever since. A fire was lit in me that day and I haven’t stopped grinding ever since. What’s your personal story? The interaction I’ve had in the sports community with MMA and boxing has been amazing, honestly — greatest group of people in the world. Prior, my life in the LGBTQ+ community hadn’t been good. I don’t like the Pride events, bars, drag or other stereotypical gathering places. 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 an 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 and become involved? 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. 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? 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. What are your future goals? I have so many! Just to start: I would like for my MMA team and my athletes to be successful in their careers; I want to see Seven Even Clothing be in every mainstream store globally; and 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 understand the limitations of that philosophy but I also see the benefits of it. •

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In the shadow of Honolulu’s majestic Diamond Head, some 800 members of the National Gay Flag Football League will be playing in Gay Bowl XXII on the beautiful fields of the Kapiolani Park from October 6-9. The NGFFL draws teams not only from the U.S. but also from Canada. And this year 51 of those many teams managed to make the cut to play in this huge annual event, creating 37 open divisions (open to all genders) and 14 female+ (all those identifying as female) divisions. Playing host for this year’s Gay Bowl is the Hawaiian League, the HIGFFL or the Hawaiian Gay Flag Football League. With 160 open acres, Kapiolani Park has picnic areas around the park perimeter, a duck pond, and a bandstand. During the tournament they’ve arranged for local entertainment and food stalls as well as cultural activities to take place in the tents around the bandstand. Within the same complex are the Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, the Host Hotel and Queen’s Beach. The Gay Bowl XXII Host Hotel is the beautiful ’Alohilani Resort. In Hawaiian, ’Alohilani means “heavenly brightness,” and the resort, which lives up to its name, is only 60 steps away from the gorgeous Waikiki beach, within walking distance to the playing fields. The 5th Floor Pool Deck will also be the site of the Opening Party. Members of the HIGFFL are making sure there’s also a welcoming cultural component to everyone’s stay on the island of Oahu. As one of the most beautiful travel destinations, the Hawaiian Islands contain many plant and animal species that can only be found there. Their distinct history and culture is very important to local inhabitants so there is always an emphasis on educating visitors so they become respectful of all they take and all they give back – economically but also socially, environmentally and even spiritually.

Members of the HIGFFL are making sure there’s also a welcoming cultural component to everyone’s stay on the island of Oahu.

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An important part of every Gay Bowl is giving back to some area of the community in which the tournament is being played. But this year, rather than money donated to a charity of some kind, members of the NGFFL will provide volunteer hours to the Hawaiian Loko l’a, fishponds that played a key role in feeding the Hawaiian People prior to Western contact. Now, however, they have fallen into disrepair and remain choked with invasive species. The time spent restoring these food production centers will be wet, muddy and physical but they’ll also be deeply rewarding. Getting the Gay Bowl to Hawaii really is the culmination of a long-held dream! I have no doubt that this year’s Gay Bowl will be a huge success, not simply because it’s such an incredibly beautiful place to play, but because so many NGFFL members have worked so hard for so long to make it happen. Originally scheduled to take place in Hawaii in 2020, the Gay Bowl was canceled due to the pandemic and was rescheduled for 2022. For the October 2015 issue of Compete Magazine, I had a wide-ranging interview with former NGFFL Commissioner Jared Garduno about that year’s upcoming Gay Bowl in San Diego. We talked about how the continuing growth of the league was forcing it to reuse some of the larger cities that had fields and sports complexes big enough to keep everyone at the same place to avoid using multiple venues. “We need to be creative as we get bigger,” he said, “so other cities that haven’t hosted can still have the opportunity to showcase their planning abilities. I think everyone wants to go to Hawaii (a ‘wink’ definitely intended).” A Dream to be Recognized by the NFL Using COMPETE. CONNECT. UNITE. as its watchwords, the NGFFL has since continued to build itself under the following Strategic Pillars: Develop National Partnerships; Drive Membership Growth & Leagues; Give


Back More Than We Take; and Elevate the Gay Bowl Experience. For any of you who were part of the three teams that took part in the original 2002 Gay Bowl held at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles as the dream child of gay sports icons and founders of Outsports. com, Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler, this must seem like an impossible dream come true. While the phobias constraining the U.S. and beyond haven’t gone away – homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny and many others, they have loosened enough that the NGFFL is now gaining the open support of the NFL itself. The NFL and some of its teams have 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. The Compete Sports Diversity Council (CSDC) also awarded the NFL a two-year membership in the Compete Sports Diversity Council, now a group of 150+ organizations reaching 250,000 leaders, athletes and fans dedicated to furthering sports diversity. The Cardinals also 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).

mutual regard and affection; it’s a warm embrace with no obligation in return. It is the essence that each person is important to every other person for collective existence.

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The NGFFL’s relationship with the NFL is a solid partnership that has continued to grow. It represents a strong commitment to their mission to advance conversations on diversity and inclusivity within sports in many ways. For June Pride month in 2021 the league came out with a Pride-colored logo. They also created a joint effort with the National Junior College Athletic Association and Reigning Champs Experiences, announcing that women’s flag football was an emerging sport that included a $150,000 grant from the NFL that was distributed among 15 NJCAA member colleges. But for the NGFFL, perhaps the pinnacle so far to its relationship with the NFL was being invited to the 2022 NFL Draft to announce one of the draft picks on live TV. On stage with NFL Commissioner Goodell were NGFFL Commissioner Shigeo Iwamiya; Gay Bowl Liaison, Joel Horton; and Director of Corporate Partnerships, Jodie Turner. Horton, who is a long-time player for the Phoenix Gay Flag Football League: Arizona Arsenal Travel Team, was chosen to announce the No. 87 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals – Cameron Thomas, defensive end from San Diego State. Can acknowledgement from the NFL get much better than this? Maybe, but for now I have shivers just writing about it! So perhaps it’s time for the larger world to adopt some of the important cultural norms and customs of the Hawaiians, starting with their famous word of greeting and parting – aloha. To use the explanation of the Gay Bowl hosts, aloha’s deeper meaning is a “mutual regard and affection; it’s a warm embrace with no obligation in return. It is the essence that each person is important to every other person for collective existence.” Hopefully, this is another long-held dream that will come true! Aloha. •

Clockwise from top left: With its gentle and varied climate covering environments from the mountains to the sea, Hawai’i is an abundant garden of brilliant flowers, tropical fruit, flowering trees, and exotic greenery; Celebrate Lei Day in Hawaii on May 1st; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell & NGFFL Commissioner Shigeo Iwamiya; Aloha from the Hawaiian Gay Flag Football League


On October 15-16, over 70 women’s flag football teams will converge in Washington, D.C. to play in the 15th Annual Lynn Lewis Invitational being played on the fields at RFK Campus. Hosted by the Lynn Lewis Foundation, the all-women’s and young girls’ events are being played across multiple formats with teams, supporters and fans from across the nation eager to honor the “Never Give Up” personality of Lynn Lewis. For Mashonda Paschal Gilmore, the annual tournament is always deeply personal. Why? Because Lynn Lewis, who founded a women’s football program that encouraged women to dare to be more than who they thought they were, or even thought they could be, was Mashonda’s mentor. And when Lynn was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, Mashonda founded the Lynn Lewis Foundation in 2007, with the original mission to increase breast cancer awareness within the women’s football community across the nation. Now, as a 501c3 charitable organization created to support women, men and children whose lives have been upended by the effects of breast cancer, the LLF has grown. The foundation now recognizes individuals from all walks of life who suffer from breast cancer and other cancer diagnoses in which family and/or friends are affected. As the founder of the Lynn Lewis Foundation with its mission of supporting the ripple effect of breast cancer diagnoses not only for the survivor but also for the extended family, Mashonda knows this tournament provides another avenue of promoting breast cancer awareness, educating both women and men nationwide on the fight against breast cancer. Having seen the toll caring for a loved one with a terminal illness can take on a caregiver, the LLF’s ultimate goal is to be a rechargeable source of strength in allowing relief from an exhaustive experience of being a caregiver. All the foundation’s programs are designed to give back to the community. The Lynn Lewis Foundation is a small nonprofit with a big heart and a mission to help as many people as possible suffering from breast cancer. The LLF is also one of the biggest and longest running ALL girls and women’s flag football organizations. As Mashonda likes to say, “Ladies live to play football and if we can provide this stage, we will continue to grow the sport.”•




2022 Bingham Cup in Ottawa Celebrates Inclusivity in Rugby This years’ Bingham Cup, the biennial LGBTQ+ Rugby Championships named after 9/11 hero and openly gay rugby player, Mark Bingham, recently wrapped. This year’s event, hosted in Ottawa, Canada, was originally slated to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. As a result, it’s four years since the last Bingham Cup, that one held in 2018 in Amsterdam, and making it the 10th Bingham Cup since the tournament began in 2002. The 2022 Bingham Cup was hosted by the Ottawa Wolves Rugby Club, one of five LGBTQ+ rugby clubs in Canada who also fielded several teams within the tournament. The event brought out 1,700 athletes from 58 different teams, representing eight countries. Rugby Canada welcomed the athletes with a special message from CEO Nathan Bombrys at the opening ceremony. “With over 1,700 registered participants, the Bingham Cup has now grown into the largest international rugby tournament in the world and we are so proud to be hosting that tournament here in Canada,” said Bombrys, in the address. “I know from my own, perhaps not so distinguished rugby career, having had the opportunity to play against inclusive teams just how important inclusive rugby is to the lives of players from the 2S LGBTQ+ community.” Rugby Canada also hosted clinics for coaches and officials to help build continuing education development for coaches, officials and players who

are looking to expand their participation in the sport. In addition, Rugby Canada also organized exhibition matches for Wheelchair Rugby which included several players from the Canadian National Team. This years’ Bingham Cup included workshops, tournaments, and events on top of the initial playing schedule, and plenty of parties, drag shows and events befitting a fabulous time. A highlighted event was the summit “Tackling Transphobia and Homophobia in Sport” which is especially timely in International Gay Rugby (IGR)’s and the LGBTQ+ rugby community’s response to International Rugby League and other national and international rugby leagues instituting blanket bans on transgender participants, specifically targeting trans women. In the end, the Ottawa Wolves took home the gold in the Women’s tournament, finishing the group phase 2-1 and avenging their loss against the New York Village Lions, coming out on top 14-10. The London Kings Cross Steelers took home gold in the Men’s tournament with a perfect 6-0 record during group play and playoffs. The final results for the entire event can be found at Overall, this years’ Bingham Cup was a resounding success and an important statement on building LGBTQ+ inclusive sport spaces, especially for transgender/intersex/ non-binary people to show how participation in sport is beneficial toward empowering our community and taking action to continue our fight for diversity, equality/equity and inclusion. •

“... the Bingham Cup has now grown into the largest international rugby tournament in the world and we are so proud to be hosting that tournament here in Canada.” COURTESY OF OTTAWA WOLVES RFC

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Your LGBTQ Cruise Travel Specialist Adam Martindale

“I offer a wealth of knowledge to personalize your onboard and land experience and know most ports of call throughout the world!” CONTACT ME AT:

This is an LGBTQ group cruise. Not a full-ship charter.

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The “S” Word Shame is the ugliest emotion. It makes us feel unwanted and unworthy. I don’t want to say all of us suffer from it, but a large swathe of LGBTQ+ people internalize a lot of shame about who we are, learned (and taught) often from an early age. It’s no wonder we question if we’re worthy, if we do deserve to be happy, healthy, strong, fit and confident. So please allow me to write this for you in bold black text: YOU DESERVE EVERY HAPPINESS AND OPPORTUNITY TO FEEL AMAZING. Finding a fitness and wellbeing routine that suits you is one of the best things you can do to remind yourself of this. I speak from firsthand experience; in finding fitness I found myself. I wouldn’t have started Fitter Confident You had I not found fitness. This inspiring activity was purely for me. Discovering that yes, it changed my body but more than that, it changed deeply how I felt was truly mind-blowing! And its impact on EVERY part of my life, spreading outwards with a positive ripple effect, boosting my self-esteem and confidence, and enjoying it all – what a gift! Having grown to understand my own power, my own mind and body and the voice and confidence that came with it, I’m grateful I’ve thrown off that shame of not being good enough. However, I speak with new clients every week who feel ashamed of themselves, usually about their body in some way. And that’s their starting point for wanting to do some fitness – the same motivation for change I once thought I needed for some mythical form of acceptance. Getting into fitness and doing regular workouts isn’t about changing so you can be accepted by society. It’s about allowing you to grow into the you-est you that ever you’ed! With each step, you’ll not only accept yourself that bit more, you’ll also worry less about who you thought you had to be.

Here are ways to deal with shame if it’s keeping you from making progress with your fitness and wellbeing: 1| Bring it into the light. Shame withers under scrutiny because we realize we’ve all suffered from it at some point. Talking about it, even just quietly with one close friend can help it to dissolve. 2 | The flip-side of that: find your tribe and drown it out with the best cheerleaders going! Whether it’s an online group, colleagues, family or a real life workout class, use that volume to silence feelings of shame. 3 | Keep track of what you’re doing; it’s usually more than you’ve be giving yourself credit for. This helps you see the progress you’ve made and give you that little dopamine hit of motivation to keep going. 4| Do it on your terms. If you’re working out because you think you need to look a certain way or to fit in, you’ll never be satisfied. The rules will always be changing; there will always be someone ahead of you and you’ll constantly be on the backfoot, so find your groove with fitness for you. 5 | Focus on all the amazing things you have to GAIN as opposed to lose. This makes it a more joyful pursuit by getting stronger, fitter, having “you” time at the gym, sleeping better, a higher sex drive, more energy, more mental focus, more PBs, better posture, higher self-esteem! I could continue but look at that list already! Working out isn’t about changing your body to fit in or to look a certain way. I promise; that route isn’t a kind, sustainable path to body happiness. It’s really about building you from the inside out and just letting you do more of what makes you, You. And you can get there, too; it’s closer than you think. •

Matt Boyles runs Fitter Confident You (, online Personal Training tailored for GBTQ+ guys, all around the world, helping them get started and enjoy sticking to personalized workout plans.

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Looking to keep that fab beach body now that fall is on its way? Maybe it’s time to carve out a small space in your home or dorm room for a personal gym with some exercise and fitness equipment designed to fit the space while also helping you stay beach body ready. And don’t forget your body also needs robust fuel so try your hand at growing your own healthy produce while you’re at it. After all, you never know when a tropical vaca may have your name on it! All items available on



If your home/dorm gym is too small for a full size power rack, this one more than delivers. Supporting up to 400 pounds, this compact version enables you to do pullups, chin-ups and any other strength and training exercises you can do from a hanging position.


• $400

For lots of lower body resistance, this sturdy exercise bike provides a smooth, quiet ride with a maintenance free belt drive system that gives an experience of a realistic “real-road” feeling. With front-mounted transportation wheels, it can easily be moved around to fit your space.



This planter box on legs means no bending over to pick your home-grown vegetables, herbs or flowers. Wheels also make it portable while a shelf below holds tools and accessories. Made of galvanized steel, it can be used indoor or outdoor for longtime use.


• $26

Protect both your floor and your footing with these half-inch EVA foam easy-fitting interlocking tiles that provide a non-skid and waterproof barrier for your “home” gym, wherever you choose to create it.

HEALTHY THINGS TO PLANT, HARVEST AND EAT! • $46 all 3 items Not sure what to plant? Here’s a selection of herb seeds, melon fruit seeds and heirloom vegetable seeds in individual packages: • Home Grown 10 Culinary Herb Seed Vault – Heirloom & non-GMO, $18. • Gardener’s Basics Melon Fruit Seeds for Planting in Home Garden – 5 Variety Packs all Heirloom & non-GMO, $11. • Home Grown 10 Heirloom & non GMO Vegetable Seeds — 2000+ Survival Bugout Seeds & Essential Emergency Prepper Gear, $17.

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August 11-September 11 NCAA FOOTBALL 2022 Season Start – Various Cities

September 3


September 5 RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS Cape Town, South Africa

September 9-11 UFC 279 Las Vegas, Nevada


September 15-17 QUEEN CITY KICKBALL TOURNAMENT Sheridan Park, Buffalo, New York

September 17-18 PRESIDENTS CUP GOLF Charlotte, North Carolina

September 19-25

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OCTOBER YELLAWOOD 500 Talladega Superspeedway Lincoln, Alabama

October 2 NFL LONDON GAMES Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | Wembley Stadium London, United Kingdom

October 2-30 NATIONAL GAY FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE GAY BOWL XXII Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, Hawaii

October 6-9 AUTUMN CLASSIC FOOTBALL San Diego, California

October 7-9 EXTREME RULES (WWE) Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 8 PRIDE RUN OF ST. PETE St. Petersburg, Florida


October 14-16 SOUTH POINT 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada

October 16 XFINITY 500 Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia

October 30


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The “Golden Girls Rule” My best friend (I’ll call him Kyle) is finally off the market. I must say I’ve always taken great comfort in knowing that if neither of us found love by the time we turned forty, we agreed to move in together, ala Golden Girls style, and trade witty verbal jabs with each other until we died. We called our pact the “Golden Girls Rule.” Well, now I have to make other plans. Kyle met his fiancée during a ZOOM meeting a few months after the pandemic started. He would never have met Nate (yes, his real name) without his office transitioning to working from home. Kyle is an accountant and Nate works for a Hollywood PR firm. I don’t know who asked who out, but I do know that things moved pretty quickly. Kyle lived in Tampa at the time, so taking a chance and flying to California to meet Nate for the first time was a bit risky. But he risked it; he took the chance. They’ve told me it was love at first sight. Upon meeting, Kyle stayed in Los Angeles for nearly three weeks. He was pretty smitten as he only made time to see me once during that trip. After that initial meeting their relationship consisted of text messages, phone calls and video chats – plus the occasional cross country flight. They hung in there for nearly a year until Kyle moved to California to be closer to Nate. They didn’t live together – but they did live nearby.

Then It happened. And on Sunset Boulevard of all places. Nate got down on his hands and knees and asked me if he could marry Kyle. That’s right, Kyle had told Nate that he was promised to me, his best friend. He told him that we had planned to live in Boca Raton as white-haired besties sharing cheesecake in our golden years. I will tell you, I was shocked, stunned and mostly honored that Nate included me in his plans to ask Kyle to marry him! I mean, fate was on their side. A horrible pandemic, a chance meeting by ZOOM, a coast-to-coast move and Nate cared enough about my friendship with Kyle to ask my permission to marry him. Of course I said “no” with a laugh and hugged Nate for what seemed like an hour. I can’t wait to be Kyle’s best man and to have Nate as part of my chosen family. And by the way, I am very much looking forward to my next chapter. Cheesecake anyone? •

He told him that we had planned to live in Boca Raton as white-haired besties sharing cheesecake in our golden years.

Ryan O’Conner 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

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