Many large metropolitan areas have an umbrella organization for all the LGBT sports organizations within its area and Washington, D.C. has one of the best and most active – Team DC. Billing itself as “Washington’s Gay Sports Connection,” the 501(c)(3) organization was established in 1990 and formally incorporated in 2003 to encourage and support involvement in team and individual sports within the LGBT and ally community by serving as a clearinghouse for information about the associated teams, clubs and their events.
With close to 40 different teams/clubs represented, Team DC has approximately 7,000 LGBT athletes and allies within the greater Washington, D.C. metro area that includes parts of northern Virginia and eastern Maryland. Because it’s the national seat of government, the area attracts a wide variety of athletes from around the globe with a wide variety of interests, many of them government and military personnel in mobile positions who need a way to fit into and be accepted by a new community.
The group’s mission is to strengthen the LGBT community in the metro area through sports, making “recreational sports a welcoming and safe place for all participants by promoting and supporting fun and healthy team activities and competitions.” And a large part of that includes a number of convivial events that support members from different teams and leagues getting to know one another.
One of the most popular is the Night OUT series of events. It began in 2003 with a Night OUT at the Nationals. It was so successful that the baseball event has now grown into the largest LGBT community event in professional sports in the U.S. Anticipated to draw over 4,000 people, this year’s event against the Chicago Cubs on June 14 will mark its 12th anniversary.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Team DC expanded the Night OUT concept to include other professional sports in the area beginning in 2011. This year’s slate of Nights OUT includes:
- *Women’s Football – the Washington Prodigy
- *Pro soccer, hosted by the Federal Triangles Soccer Club
- *The NFL, hosted by the DC Gay Flag Football League
- *College basketball – BB&T Classic, two college basketball games for one price
- *Professional hockey – the Washington Capitals
- *Pro world team tennis doubles, the Washington Kastles, hosted by the Capital Tennis Association
- *Pro basketball – the Washington Wizards
- *Pro women’s basketball – the Washington Mystics
But the organization also offers casino nights during the spring, fall and winter seasons. The Spring Casino Night this year is scheduled for Saturday, April 23 at Buffalo Billiards. The evening, which features blackjack, poker and craps, uses dealers from the Team DC-affiliated sports clubs with proceeds being split evenly among the participating clubs.
The event with the most long-term benefit to LGBT future college-bound athletes (not to mention the best eye-candy!) is Team DC’s annual Fashion Show & Model Search. With hot guys in sexy clothing from some top designers, the evening is filled with excitement. Held the end of February each year at Town Danceboutique, the proceeds from the Fashion Show & Model Search support the Team DC College Scholarship Program. And Compete Magazine joins in by featuring the winning model on one of its monthly covers.
For self-identified LGBT student-athletes graduating from high schools in the Washington, D.C. metro area who will be attending a fully accredited two- or four-year college or university, the Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship will provide up to $2,000 of financial support to offset the cost of educational expenses. In addition to showing a dedication to excellence in both academic and athletic fields, they must also show promise as positive role models for the LGBT community.
Recipients of Team DC’s Champions awards and college scholarships are then honored in November at the organization’s Night of Champions, a three-course seated dinner and awards program that also includes a cocktail reception and silent auction. Congratulations go to Team DC; its board of directors, sports council members and of course, Brent Minor, its executive director for a job well done.
Pictured: Josh Zimmerman, 2015 Team DC Model Search Winner
Photo by Robert Mercer of Ripped Genes, LLC
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