When it comes to pro sports, we’re still fighting for visibility. Athletes like Jason Collins and Michael Sam were, and always will be, trailblazers. But these days, they are former NBA and NFL players, respectively. And there’s no one on their heels that’s ready to grab the torch. One place the flame isn’t dying out is in gay sports leagues across America.
Joining a gay sports league gives you the opportunity to do something you love while being surrounded by people who understand your story. You can bond with other LGBTQ people in your community, you can get active, and, just maybe, you can meet Mr. Right.
Whether you’re an avid swimmer, a champion bowler, or just someone who likes getting outdoors, gay sports leagues can give you the adventure you seek with a side of camaraderie. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it is the perfect intro to gay sports organizations in the major regions of the country.
New York City
New York is home to several gay sports leagues, with seemingly every specialty you can think of. There’s Team New York Aquatics, Sunday Bowling League, Cheer New York, NYC Gay Hockey League, and Outcycling, to name a few. You can even join Big Apple Dodgeball, an LGBTQ-friendly non-profit group that’ll please your inner sixth grader. To access listings for these groups and several more, visit boxersnyc.com/leagues/. Boxers, the long-running Chelsea watering hole, has pulled together a full guide to gay NYC sports. Whatever you’re into, trust us, it’s here.
Gay Chicagoans should get familiar with the Athletic Alliance of Chicago. The inclusive organization offers memberships during winter, summer, and fall. For just $25, you can gain access to leagues for table tennis, outdoor tennis, pool, indoor volleyball, floor hockey, darts, beach volleyball, badminton, and archery. Additionally, AAC is involved with several LGBTQ events across Chicago, including its periodic Friendship Tournaments.
If you’re down South, fear not. Atlanta is home to its fair share of gay leagues. The Atlanta Rainbow Trout focus on water sports like polo, and they meet 4 times a week on the Georgia Tech campus to practice. If you’re a dry land kind of guy, check out the Atlanta Team Tennis Association, Hotlanta Volleyball Association, Front Runners Atlanta, or the Hotlanta Softball League. And, if you just want to have some fun, Pride Kickball could be the perfect fit.
L.A. has a pretty expansive gay sports scene. You’re likely to find a league suited to your tastes, regardless of what you like. The Los Angeles Flag Football League hosts two 10-week seasons every fall and winter. Through Varsity Gay League, you can find rules, contact info, and signup links for VGL Bowling, Beach Volleyball, Soccer, Kickball, and Tennis (including singles, doubles, teams, and tennis ladders). There are even monthly events like Braingasm, the Beer Olympics, and Trampoline Dodgeball. You can learn to play sports you’ve never even heard of.
Gay Sports League
If you’re not in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, or L.A., there are still ways to find out about happenings in your area. Gay Sports League sponsors events and leagues in cities all over the country. Aside from L.A., the organization hosts California events in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Long Beach. They also have a presence in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Austin, Dallas, Boston, Portland, and Denver. For more info on your area, check out their site.
Like Gay Sports League, Stonewall Sports supports leagues in several cities. From climbing, yoga, and dodgeball to billiards and bocce, they cover a wide range of activities. In each city where Stonewall is based, several leagues are established. For example, Charlotte is home to bowling, dodgeball, kickball, softball, and volleyball leagues as well as a run club. Each league provides access to team shirts, equipment, appropriate facilities, and post-game hangouts. Other cities with Stonewall Sports leagues include Chicago, Cleveland, Greensboro, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington.
If you want to get active with the LGBTQ community, there are so many ways to do it, regardless of where you live. Look into resources in your area for more information. And, if you don’t see any info about your city listed, let us know, and we’ll see what we can dig up.