Jock Talk: Trans volleyball
player breaks barriers
by Roger Brigham
Life can be a challenging puzzle at times, but Peachy Tabilos says she's long known two things for certain: in her heart she was born to be a woman, and she was born to play volleyball. These days that means playing volleyball on the City College of San Francisco men's club team.
"I identify as a woman," Tabilos told the Bay Area Reporter recently. "I've always dressed like a girl. My family has been supportive, especially with my mom: she was very supportive. She loves me for who I am. And my friends – they push me to do whatever I want."
And what Tabilos, 21, wants is to play volleyball. Although she identifies as a woman, she has not gone through sex reassignment procedures and therefore is not currently eligible to play on the women's team.
"I really would like to have the chance to play for a women's team someday, but for now I am happy to play with the men," Tabilos said.
Happy because she's found a home on a squad of supportive teammates.
"She came in being very timid," said Terry Dyer, an assistant coach with the club team. "But I think with the support of her teammates and coaches she feels more comfortable now. She keeps everyone together. Things can get tense on the volleyball court and she can sense that and help keep everyone calm."
"I did feel nervous the first time because the men are all wonderful players," Tabilos said. "All of them are great guys. They love me."
Of course, not all campuses they visit are so accepting. Nothing that has made Tabilos or her teammates to file official protests, but minor immature annoyances nonetheless.
"There's been some snickering at some universities," Dyer said. "Folks kind of laughing. We, as a team, pick up on that fairly quickly. We try to nip that behavior in the bud. We remind her the best way to get back at them for their behavior is to beat their team. We try not to stir the pot; we just work to keep a safe environment."
"I'm so happy at City College," Tabilos said.
Dyer said that Tabilos works hard.
"Through bravery and conviction, she comes to practice daily and plays in matches against other men, at times enduring whispers, snickering, and outright ridicule," said Dyer. "Although the team does include some gay men, she is taking this to a whole other level, thus representing our communities incredibly well."
The club team is self-funded, which means the players rely on donations and their own pockets to fund travel, hotels, and tournament fees. The team plays in the Northern California Volleyball League (http://www.nccvl.info) and will play at the end of the year in the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation national championships.
The team's final two home games, at the Wellness center on the CCSF Campus, are 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11; and noon on Wednesday, March 13.
Cops vs. gays for softball opener
A San Francisco tradition will be renewed this year with a progressive twist. The San Francisco Gay Softball League will kick off its season opener with not one, but two, games against the San Francisco Police Department on Sunday, March 10 on Lang Field, located at the corner of Turk and Gough streets.
After a brief ceremony at noon, play will open with a women's game followed by a men's game. It is believed this is the first game between the San Francisco policewomen and members of the local lesbian community, but organizers are hoping this will start a new tradition.
For more information on the SFGSL, visit http://www.sfgsl.org.
LGBT guidelines for colleges offered
The NCAA this week published its first-ever resource guide for college administrators, coaches, and athletes on LGBT issues in sports.
The 82-page guidebook, titled "Champions of Respect – Inclusion of LGBTQ Student-Athletes and Staff in NCAA Programs" and co-authored by It Takes a Team founder Pat Griffin and Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor, is available as a free download online from http://www.ncaapublications.com. It includes best practices, discussions of the challenges facing LGBT athletes, and resource listings.
Miami Beach to host World Outgames
With talks of a single united quadrennial event in deep freeze for the moment, Miami Beach has been picked to host the fourth World Outgames in 2017, and bid books have been published from the five groups vying for the rights to host Gay Games X in 2018.
The Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association announced on February 28 that the World Outgames, a weeklong festival of conferences, multiple sports, cultural events and parties, would return to North America for the first time since the inaugural 2006 event in Montreal, GLISA said it has picked Miami Beach over fellow finalist Reykjav'k. The event is expected to overlap with Memorial Day weekend, a popular tourist weekend. The second World Outgames was held in 2009 in Copenhagen, and the third iteration is scheduled for July 31-August 11 this year in Antwerp, Belgium.
As GLISA was announcing its selection, the Federation of Gay games was publishing the bid books from the five organizations hoping to host Gay Games X: Amsterdam, host of Gay Games V in 1998; Limerick, Iceland; London, coming off its hosting of the 2012 Olympics; Paris, which missed out on its bid to host Gay Games VIII in 2010; and Orlando, Florida. The group is scheduled to be culled to a short list of three in May, with a final vote scheduled by the FGG assembly in October in Cleveland, site of next year's Gay Games. The bid books are available at http://2018.gaygames.org.
Morgan lifts way to another title
Just shy of turning 40, openly gay powerlifter Chris Morgan of Great Britain won his eighth British championship over the weekend at the deadlift championships in Stafford, England, with a personal best of 272.5 kilograms (600 pounds) in his attempt. That not only clinched the title in the 82.5 kilo weight class senior division, it earned him the title as overall Best Male Deadlifter.
"This was my last competition as a senior athlete, as I'm about to become a Masters Category 1 lifter (40+) in only a few days time," Morgan, the reigning world deadlift champion, said. "At this moment I seem to be getting stronger with age, so the plan is to continue lifting in Open Deadlift competitions whilst I'm still enjoying competitive single event lifting."
Full disclosure: Roger Brigham is a member of the Federation of Gay Games board.