Get Out and Play

The myth that being LGBT precludes one from being an athlete has been refuted over and over, and Get Out and Play further seeks to highlight the important role that LGBT people play in the sports world. Philadelphia has a vibrant LGBT sports community and, in Get Out and Play, PGN artistic director and photographer Scott Drake chronicles the match-ups and meets, tournaments and tryouts that stand out on the local LGBT sports calendar, as well as tackles issues like homophobia in sports and unity among local teams.

Robbie Rogers scored the first goal of the game May 11, but he scored even bigger with the Philadelphia Falcons. Rogers, who plays with the L.A. Galaxy, came out publicly in 2013 with the intent to retire from soccer rather than face the expected onslaught of homophobia and bigotry sometimes associated with professional sports. But fortunately for the soccer world, he was convinced to continue playing and now, three years later, he’s playing first string and he and partner Greg Berlanti have welcomed a baby boy into their family.


Gay Games IV diving and softball participant Dale Dmitrzak. Photo: PGN archives


Gay Paree!

Registration for the 10th quadrennial Gay Games opens May 13, and Philadelphia Liberty Tennis Association ( is teaming up with Boxers to host a registration party 5:30-8 that evening. Expect a 50/50 drawing and a raffle for registrations to 2018 Gay Games Paris, with proceeds going to PLTA and the Philadelphia Open tennis tournament.

Soccer will probably never overtake baseball as America’s favorite pastime, but it is evident that the past decade has seen a massive increase in the number of people interested in the game. World Cup followers aside, there are plenty of people passionate about futbol in Philadelphia. There are those who brought their love of the game with them and many others are finding the action more exciting than football — with its six seconds of action and two minutes of milling about ass-patting.         

As ripples of hate in pockets of the country swell into waves of statewide bigotry, it’s clear the LGBTQI community again has to prepare for another battle with the evil empire rallying under the guise of religion. As mind-boggling as it is, some self-identified “Christians” are still raising their offspring to be intolerant, racist bigots created in their own image and are leading another crusade to eradicate anyone who makes them feel icky.

When you’re a group like City of Brotherly Love Softball League, Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League or Stonewall Sports, with hundreds of participating members, you’re already ahead of the smaller organizations by shear numbers. With officers, a board, event and fundraising people, web and Facebook-savvy updaters, maybe 20 people can keep the organization on track and in the public eye also.

Just less than three months of practice and play remain before members of the Philadelphia Gryphons Rugby Football Club head to Nashville, Tenn., for the biannual Bingham Cup. The international gay rugby league tournament honors and celebrates the life of Mark Bingham, motivator behind the passenger takeover of Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

Victor Miranda was more interested in tennis when he started as a freshman at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., but a friend was trying out for the cheerleading team and he decided to go with her in support. All it took was the coach asking him to help with some of the acts they were doing and he was hooked.

Whether it’s the change in acceptance and openness, what is now being taught in gym classes and after-school sports or just the desire to be a team player versus an individual competitor, sports organizations in Philadelphia are reaching new, and frequently difficult, crossroads.

On Jan. 25, the Philadelphia Flyers will celebrate the NHL collaboration with national LGBTQ youth sports organization You Can Play during a regular-season game against the Boston Bruins. Event organizers hope to bring more awareness to the program and help put some money into the You Can Play coffers.

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