Sporting Life
GLBT Athletics
and Cultural Change
from the 1960s to Today

Reviews, Articles, Media

The Golden Era of Gay Sports
Short article/slideshow on

Hear my interview on Out in the Bay
with KALX's Eric Jansen

A Must-See Exhibit
Gene Dermody's article for

San Jose Mercury News
Sean Webby's article

San Francisco Chronicle
Sports Columnist Dwight Chapin's article

March 29 Radio interview on Sirius Out Q
with host John McMullen

April 1 interview on KPFA Radio
with host Andrea Lewis

Foundation Center
Spotlight on the Historical Society

Golden Gate Business Association
announces exhibit; donates

Gay Guide Toronto's Andrew Vail
on Sporting Life and ideas for a Canadian exhibit

Great Blog Essay
by Team Tsunami's Tim Cosgrove

Renegades Softball Team
announces our signed softball drive

Team San Francisco

The Global Game
Nice mention in a soccer context


Past Events

Opening Day Reception
April 2, 2005

Gays and Lesbians in Planning (GALIP) reception
March 19

SF Pool Association Call for Items

United Nations 60th Anniversary
Cultural Visit to the GLBT Historical Society, April 14, 6pm

San Francisco Spikes
IGLFA '04 Volunteer Appreciation Party, April 15, 6-8pm

Julia Kehew Lecture
'The Name of the Games'
Controversies over the use of
the word 'Olympics,' May 21, 3:30pm

Gay & Lesbian Tennis Federation's
United States Gay Open Draw Party, May 26, 6-8pm

Memorial Day Weekend
Martial Arts & Wrestling Tournament
Athletes visit Sporting Life May 28, 6-8pm

Sara Waddell Lewinstein
talks about the creation of
the first two Gay Games and forming early
women's softball leagues. June 4, 3:30pm

Sheila Cavanagh and Heather Sykes, coauthors of
"Transsexual Bodies at the Olympics: The International Olympic Committee's Policy on Transsexual Athletes at the 2004 Athens Summer Games,"
June 21, 6pm

Chris Morgan, British Powerlifter
and Gay Games VII Ambassador
reception, June 22, 6pm

International FrontRunners
Reception, June 23, 6pm

Cheer SF
hosts a reception for
cheerleaders from around the nation, June 25, 6pm

Jocks Author Dan Woog
Guest Speaker, July 20, 6:30pm

Helen Carroll discusses the National Center for Lesbian Rights
Homophobia in Sports Project
at the Historical Society
July 27, 6:00-8:00pm

Women in Athletics
at the Historical Society August 10, 6:00-8:00pm
with Oakland Banshees football players
and other athletes and coaches

Home Team: The Growth of Gay Games and GLBT Sports
at the San Francisco Public Library
August 25, 6:00pm at the Koret Auditorium
with Sara Waddell Lewinstein, Paul Mart,
Gene Dermody, Rick Thoman, Tony Jasinski
Jim Provenzano, panel moderator
More Info

Fire & Ice Figure Skaters Reception
Aug. 27, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Meet acclaimed figure skater Rudy Galindo
and many of the up to 60 figure skaters
performing that night (at nearby Yerba Buena Ice Rink) in
Fire & Ice, a special figure skating show
with live cabaret music. More Info

Tsunami Swim Club
Reception Sept. 17, 6-8pm

GLBT Historical Society 20th Anniversary Party
Benefit fundraiser at Yerba Buena Arts Center, Sept. 29, 6pm

Friday, December 9, 5:30-7:30:
Morrison & Foerster Law Firm

Saturday, December 10, 2:00-5:00:
Dyke March reception

Thursday, December 15, 7:00-9:00:
University of San Francisco
Sports Management graduates reception

2006 Events

San Francisco Sailing Club
April 13

GLBT Politics open house
Aug. 17

Cocktail hour/fundraiser
at the Stray Bar
in Bernal Heights
Aug. 18

Cool Down, Warm Up
post-Gay Games/Outgames Athletes Reception
Unveiling of new display case
Sept. 7, 6:00-8:00pm

A Home for Our History: Gala 2006
Billie Jean King and Esera Tuaolo
Food, drink, live entertainment, silent auction
Thursday, Sept 28
Terra, 511 Harrison St.
San Francisco

Rick Gerharter tour of his exhibit
"Capturing The Moment"
Wednesday, October 11, 6:00-7:30pm

Book talk for Bitchfest
10 Years of Cultural Criticism from Bitch Magazine
Tuesday, October 24, 6:00-8:00pm

American Association of
Housing & Services for the Aging
Saturday, November 4, 6:00pm

Photojournalist panel
Wednesday, November 15, 6:00-7:30pm

Wednesday, December 6, 6:00-7:30pm
Roundtable: Is there a need for a gay press?
Hosted by Randy Alfred and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Northern California Chapter

Tue. Nov. 28, 6:00-7:30pm
Gay Neighborhoods
GLBT Historical Society will host “Are Gay Neighborhoods Worth Saving?” This roundtable with community leaders kicks off a new series, “Queer in the City: GLBT Neighborhoods and Urban Planning."

Thursday, December 7th, 6 to 7:30PM
Author Reading and Discussion
Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Birth of the Lesbian Rights Movement
GLBT Historical Society hosts historian Marcia M. Gallo in conversation about her groundbreaking new book on the San Francisco founding on the Daughters of Bilitis and the emergence of a modern lesbian rights movement.

Sporting Life Closing Party
Dec. 13 6pm-9pm at exhibit
657 Mission St. #300

More Info

YouTube low-res. version

Sporting Life Timeline
(1 minute; 10mg, mpg file)

Sporting Life Timeline
Long Version
(2 minutes; 7MG mpeg file)

Photo Gallery

"It is the emotional impact of actually seeing the physical evidence, the personal sports memorabilia of our community so proudly displayed, which will connect with a much wider audience and secure this exhibit�s place in GLBT history. - Gene Dermody, for

* * *

"The rich and colorful exhibit... documents the thriving gay athletic scene that includes such organizations as the San Francisco Gay Softball League, the Frontrunners running club, the Spikes soccer club and the San Francisco Track and Field Club.

The exhibit is filled with rare items, gleaming under lights and organized by sport from track and field to bowling. In one case are original medals from the first Gay Games that had to have the word "Olympics" removed because of an injunction filed by the United States Olympic Committee." - Sean Webby, San Jose Mercury News

* * *

"Provenzano, the guest curator and designer of the exhibit, and (Don) Romesburg, the exhibit director, have done a first-rate job in helping capture the underappreciated role gays and lesbians have had in helping shape sports." - Dwight Chapin, Chronicle Senior Writer, San Francisco Chronicle

* * *

"Sports columnist Jim Provenzano has fashioned an Emerald City version of a school gym's trophy cabinet, illustrating the community's inclusive reputation, and surpassing straight sports culture." - Kevin Davis, Bay Area Reporter

* * *

"What a moving record of the gay movement in sports! Including posters, clippings, video footage and paraphernalia related to Tom Waddell, the Gay Games, and other aspects of sports, this is a display you must see. Guest curator Jim Provenzano received a well-deserved commendation from a bustling crowd, including State Assemblyman Mark Leno and city Supervisor Bevan Dufty. - Donna Sachet, "On the Town" Bay Area Reporter


Sporting Life explores how Bay Area LGBT athletics have challenged homophobia and created community. From early 1970s gay softball games versus the police to the launch of the now-worldwide Gay Games, to the breaking down of barriers in professional sports, the way we play has transformed society. Today, over 4,000 openly LGBT Bay Area athletes participate annually, breaking records, defying stereotypes, and inspiring others.

One of the many evocative items is a rare 1979 Glenn Burke Oakland Athletics baseball card. Burke, credited with inventing the "high five," had been traded to the A's from the Dodgers, largely due to homophobia. Ongoing antigay hostility and a knee injury led him soon after to leave pro ball. Afterwards, he became a celebrated member of San Francisco gay softball teams. In 1982, he became the first pro baseball player to come out.

"Through months of collaboration with the LGBT sports community, collecting uniforms, photos, and artifacts, Guest Curator Jim Provenzano has created a dynamic, entertaining, and moving exhibit," said GLBTHS Executive Director Terence Kissack. "Sporting Life is our most ambitious exhibit yet, incorporating multimedia elements and a coordinated oral history project."

Guest Curator/Designer - Jim Provenzano
Exhibit Director - Don Romesburg
Lighting Designer - Jon Retsky
Installation Specialist - Elizabeth Cornu
Installation Assistants - Paco Echevarria,
Pedro Bernal, Adalberto Castrillon
Installation Consultant - John Mello
Multimedia Director - Don Frazell
Oral Historian - David Lamble
Fundraising - Anne Ludwig, Joy Burrell
Scenic Assistance - Rob Oakley
Publicist - Jason Riggs
Promotional Graphic Design - Creatis Group

Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation
Golden Gate Wrestling Club
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco Spikes Soccer Club
Fastsigns, Inc.

This project is made possible by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities as part of the Council's statewide California Stories Initiative.

Participating Athletic Groups
Association of Gay and Lesbian Martial Artists, Barbary Coast Boating Club, SF Gay Basketball League, Bay Area Distance Runners, Bowling Leagues, Cheer SF, Different Spokes/SF, Gay & Lesbian Tennis Federation, Federation of Gay Games, Golden Gate Wrestling Club, Golden Gate Women's Rugby Club, Healing Waters, Northern California Rainbow Divers, Oakland Banshees Tackle Football Team, San Francisco Bay Blades Rowing Club, San Francisco Quakes Hockey, SAGA North Ski & Snowboard Club, San Francisco Fog Rugby Football Club, San Francisco FrontRunners, San Francisco Gay Softball League, San Francisco Pool Association, San Francisco Sailing Club, San Francisco Shockwaves Flag Football, San Francisco Spikes Soccer Club, San Francisco Track & Field Club, San Francisco Tsunami Polo, San Francisco Tsunami Swim Club, Team San Francisco, Triangle TaeKwon Do Club, San Francisco Women's Flag Football Association

Photographers and Artists
Todd Aghazadeh, Rob Anderson, Stefanie Atkinson, Clifford Baker, Crawford Barton, Tom Bianchi, Joan Bobkoff, Nancy Boutilier, Bill Bowers, Cathy Cade, Darlene Capitelli, Kevin Caudill, Jane Philomen Cleland, Phyllis Christopher, Rink Foto, Judy Francesconi, Paul Fusco, Don Garlow, Rick Gerharter, Mick Hicks, Joan Hilty, JoSon, Henry I. Leleu, Dave Martin, Jack McGowan, Dan Nicoletta, Mark Oberlin, Elena Olzark, Tony Plewick, Jill Posener, Jim Provenzano, Robert Pruzan, Emery Reiff, Steven Savage, Bill Strubbe, Greg Weiner.

Special Thanks, Businesses
Bay Area Reporter, Creatis Group, FullBloom Baking Company, Gold's Gym, The Pilsner Inn, Lefty's Sports Store, Wolfe Video

Sponsoring Organization
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Historical Society and Museum is an enthusiastic host for Sporting Life and views it as an important means of meeting its overall mission in a new, entertaining, and accessible way. The GLBT Historical Society works to increase the public understanding, appreciation and affirmation of the history and culture of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other sexual minority individuals and communities. In order to fulfill that mission the Society operates a museum and maintains extensive archives that document and explore the lives of GLBT people in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. The Society makes these materials available to researchers and community members and displays them in onsite, offsite, and virtual exhibits.

Special events with teams and celebrities will take place throughout the exhibit's run. Please visit the website at

657 Mission St, #300
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 777-5455

The GLBT Historical Society's mission is to increase public understanding, appreciation, and affirmation of the history and culture of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other sexual minority individuals and communities.


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