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FLAG (Friends, Lesbians, and Gays) Flag Football is Boston’s premiere flag football league for the LGBTQ community and one of the largest gay sports league in Boston. Founded in 1998, we are a recreational football club playing on Saturday mornings in the spring and fall. All skill levels are encouraged to participate, and we are committed to providing a comfortable and enjoyable setting for those who want to play football and foster community. Since inception, we have grown from just 20 players in our first year to 22 teams of 14 players in the fall of 2016.
Here are some great ways to get involved with our league:
- Sign up for regular email updates from the league.
- Find out about volunteering opportunities.
- Learn more about our annual scholarship!
- Check out our Flickr page!
- Stay current on what we’re up to! Visit our FLAG Flag Football Calendar.
Read more about us and playing flag football with our organization.
News + Events
Snow Bowl 2017
SAVE THE DATE: Join us Sunday, February 5, 2017 for our annual Snow Bowl. Details to follow.
Now accepting applications for the 2017 FLAG Flag Football Scholarship
The FLAG Flag Football scholarship was established to recognize and honor a Massachusetts graduating high school senior who has made high school and/or community sports programs safer for and more inclusive of LGBTQ student-athletes, as either a role model or ally. In line with our mission, students of all athletic skill levels, contributions, and achievement are encouraged to apply.
Applications must be post-marked no later than Friday, March 3, 2017.
Would you like to be involved planning Gay Bowl XVII?
We are in the process of forming several committees to help plan and execute the BEST Gay Bowl ever! Please use the button below if you are interested in joining any of the following committees:
- Operations/Project Management
- Volunteers (Registrations, fields, etc.)
If you would like to contribute in any other way, please let us know that too!
Message from the Commissioner
What a year it’s been! We have just completed our largest spring and fall seasons to date with over 530 players! It’s my last year as commissioner and it’s so empowering to take a moment and reflect upon the pluralistic vibrant and close-knit community we have grown together. Our league is a community, one that fosters love for one another, and for the communities around us. In 2016, we tried more than ever to increase our inclusivity, impact and innovation. Whether making every player a starter on the field, launching a second annual youth scholarship, or shattering our fundraising and volunteer hour totals, we aim to build on our accomplishments together, year after year. To help us do even more in 2017, I hope that you will join me in making a tax-deductible contribution…$10…$25…$50…$100—whatever you can afford—to FLAG Flag Football.
This year, we have a special announcement. For the first time, your donation will be matched! Due to the generosity of former league Commissioner Richard Moore, and his husband Matthew Lafond, FLAG Flag Football is forming its first-ever Moore & Lafond Endowment fund to support LGBTQ advocacy activities. Richard and Matt have pledged to match any and all gifts up to $25,000 made to our league before December 31, 2016. That means, with your support, our annual LGBTQ High School Scholarship, Camp Lightbulb Scholarship, Youth Field Day, and future advocacy efforts will be endowed in perpetuity. Thank you Richard and Matt!
DOUBLE THE POWER OF YOUR DONATION
$50 becomes $100 | $100 becomes $200 | $150 becomes $300
With more interest than ever before, FLAG Flag Football is truly living its organizational vision: tackling stereotypes, building community, and transforming lives through sport for the LGBTQ and ally community.
There is more work to be done in affirming the LGBTQ and ally journeys, showing everyone that all people have a valued place on our team. These include:
- Endowing and expanding our scholarship programs
- Growing our association with LGBTQ youth in Mass. through additional Youth Field Days
- Increasing the quantity of volunteer opportunities and participant involvement
We are so proud of the thousands of lives we have touched, while keeping fees to a minimum in comparison to comparable sports leagues. With your generosity, we can continue to positively impact the lives of our players and members of our extended community. With your support, we will ensure that our organization, and our way of giving back, is here to stay, forever.
Thank you for your support.
PS: As FLAG Flag Football is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations are fully tax deductible.
As the 2016 Fall Season comes to a close, we are asking all participants—players and referees— to provide us with feedback on the past season. The 2017 Board of Directors will rely on your responses and input to shape the decisions we make as a league for the upcoming seasons. In an effort to make this league as best as possible for everyone, please let us know what we do well and where we can improve! Thanks in advance for taking the time.
Congratulation to the Royal Family Jewels – our 2016 Super Fabulous Bowl Champs!
Super Fabulous Bowl Weekend
Walsh Playground and Dorchester Park | Games start at 7:45 am
Join us this weekend for our day-long tournament and find out which team will walk away the championship!
There are only THREE DAYS left to order FLAG Flag Football t-shirts and sweatshirts in this season’s color combinations. Orders must be placed by 6pm on Wednesday, November 2 and will be distributed Super Fabulous Bowl weekend. Visit The Locker and place your order today!
Please note: the heather navy and dark heather t-shirts are now available in XL. If you would like to update an existing order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Online Auction is now closed.
As part of our annual event, our fundraising committee has secured over $13,000 in unique experiences, entertainment and sports tickets, spa and beauty services, and much more! Thank you to everyone who bid on prizes and congratulations to all the winners.
Friday, October 21 at 7:30-10:00pm | Muse Paintbar – Assembly Row
Come join your FLAG Flag Football friends and teammates, meet other players in our league, and unleash your inner artist!
No prior paining experience is needed — even if you can’t sketch a stick figure, for $40, you’ll go home with a masterpiece! Wine, beer, and appetizers will be available for purchase.
Unfortunately, due to space limitations, only the first 50 who register will be able to paint.
Saturday, October 15 | 8:30am-2:00pm
Walsh Playground and Dorchester Park
Have your friends and family members ever said, “I’d love to come to one of your games,” or “I really want to come see you play”? If so — and even if not — this is the IDEAL DAY for them to attend!
The team with the most fans in attendance throughout the day will win a PIZZA PARTY for their team later in the season. To track attendance, friends and family members who come to the games should take a picture of themselves at the fields — ideally with the player they’re there to support — and email it to email@example.com; the subject line should be the name or color of the team to whom their attendance should be credited.
Please note the modified schedule that day:
Thank you everyone who came out last night for FLAG Flag Football’s exDRAGvaganza! The evening was a smashing success and, with your support, we raised well over $2,000 to help cover tournament expenses for the Boston Hancocks, Bulldogs, and Longfellows.
Special thanks to our guests Kris Knevil and Destiny, our host Club Café, and all of our performers and pit crew.
Thursday, September 29 | Doors open at 7pm | Club Café
|You’ve seen them get in formation on the fields, now watch them SLAY on stage! Join us on Thursday, September 29th at Club Café for a one night only Drag Extravaganza event brought to you by our own FLAG Flag Football travel teams — the Hancocks, Bulldogs and Longfellows. All proceeds from this event will benefit the travel teams as they represent Boston at this year’s Gay Bowl!
Their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent will be on full display for your enjoyment. Be electrified as they lip-sync for their lives in a night full of laughs, a Pit Crew that’ll make RuPaul melt, and performances you’ll never forget.
We are also thrilled to announce that there will be special guest performances by Boston’s beloved Kris Knievil and Destiny! You aren’t going to want to miss this!
Tickets will be on sale at the door. Come early before we sell out!
Meet Your Team Party
Sunday, September 11th
Thanks to everyone who came out to Open Play and the Meet Your Team Party this weekend! We hope you are just as pumped for this season as we are. If you were unable to attend the Meet Your Team event (or are just curious to see who is on whose team), check out the full roster under Players > Roster.
Another great draft is over! Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Meet Your Team Party at 2!
Open Play / Clinic Day
Saturday, September 10th @ Walsh Playground (967 Washington Street, Dorchester) from 9am to 12:00pm.
This day is MANDATORY for all players who are NEW to the league. We also strongly encourage returning players to join the fun! This will be your opportunity to come out and learn about the game, including basic rules and skills, and meet our captains and board. Check-in will start at 9:00am, clinics will begin by 9:30am, and scrimmages will be held from 10:30am to 12:00pm. If you are NEW and cannot attend Open Play, please email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP for an alternative date. Please note, if you are currently on the the wait list, your participation at Open Play will prioritize your spot on the list.
We invite everyone to head over to The Blarney Stone, one of our league’s sponsors, at 1505 Dorchester Avenue to continue the fun!
Please join us for the 6th Annual #SummerSportsTeaDance
SPORT A WIG FOR VICTORY! Wear your sports gear and best wig to be a part of the #WigFun4Victory photo contest! We’re looking forward to a fun-filled event with YOU and the LGBT sports community!
All proceeds from this afternoon of music, dancing, and fun, including an awesome raffle, will benefit Victory Programs and the 2,300 men, women, and children they provide hope, health and housing for each year. For more information about Victory Programs and #WigFun4Victory, please visit www.vpi.org.
Registration for the 2016 Fall Season is now closed.
The season starts with our Open Play/Clinic Day on Saturday, September 10 and ends with the SuperFabulous Bowl on Saturday, November 19. There will be no games scheduled on October 8 (Columbus Day Weekend). The Meet Your Team Party will be on Sunday, September 11 (details to follow).
All games will be played at Walsh Playground and Dorchester Park. However, based on player feedback, we will no longer be using Field 6.
In order to keep the league at 22 teams, we have added a time slot. Games will be scheduled at 8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, and 12:30pm with 25-minute halves. Teams will play 2-3 games each week.
Each team comprises 14 players. Adding one additional player to each team will allow us to include 22 more amazing people in our league. We are also maintaining “everyone is a starter,” where each player, regardless of experience and playing ability, will start on one side of the ball. Both of these changes were tested this spring season and recieved positive feedback.
We are thrilled to introduce our 19 returning and 3 first-time* captains for the upcoming season:
We’d like to thank them all for their enthusiasm and dedication to our league and mission. Together, we will be planning the best fall season ever!
Come join your fellow flag footballers at Ogunquit Beach on Saturday, August 6th for the Annual FLAG Flag Football Beach Bowl!
We will begin playing games at 10am and will stay to hang out and enjoy the beach together as a league into the early afternoon. Whether you intend to participate in beach football or just want to join us on the beach to tan, swim, or hang out, all of our players (both former and present), as well as their friends and families, are encouraged to attend!
From the beach, we will migrate over to MaineStreet, where we have the front deck and bar reserved for our very own FLAG Flag Football Post-Beach Bowl Tea Dancefrom 3-8pm! We have also encouraged the Ogunquit LGBTQA community to join us there!
Many people make a weekend of it and head down Friday evening and stay until Sunday. Others join us for Saturday and then spend the night in town, and some just come for the day or the tea dance. No matter what your plans are, we hope to see you in Ogunquit on August 6!
Please note that this is also Sinner’s Ball Weekend in Ogunquit and accommodations may no longer be available.
Calling All Potential Fall Captains
“A coach’s greatest asset is his sense of responsibility.” – Knute Rockne
Do you have a strong desire to step up and lead others both on and off the field? Do you want to influence your 2016 spring team? Do you think you can show more poise in the draft room than Bill Belichick or the Kevin Costner character from Draft Day? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then why not step up and be a captain this fall.
Please email Ken at email@example.com by MONDAY, JULY, 18TH if you are interested.
Once all names have been submitted, the board will select new captains based on the following criteria:
- Demonstrated ability to represent and promote FLAG Flag Football in a positive manner at all times;
- Demonstrated ability to communicate well with others both on and off the field;
- Demonstrated ability to lead by example including — but not limited to –good sportsmanship, character, and the ability to place league values of inclusion, interleague community, participation, and fairness above winning;
- Demonstrated ability and willingness to promote and attend a majority of league-sponsored events, including games during the season;
- Familiarity with league rules and a general understanding of the game of football; and
- Demonstrated ability to inspire, motivate and raise team morale.
You do NOT need to be an “expert”. Football is a team sport! If you have any questions about the qualifications, or if you are wondering if being a captain is right for you, don’t hesitate to email Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston takes over Chicago
Good luck to all of our players and refs participating at this year’s Pride Bowl in Chicago! We are thrilled to have our largest presence at the tournament with four teams competing—the Hancocks, Longfellows, Minutemen, and Banshees.
Happy Pride, Boston!
Congratulations to the Baby Beluga Homosexuwhales—our 2016 Rosie Bowl Champions!
Join us this weekend for the 5th Annual Rosie Bowl and find out who will take home the spring championship!
Boston will host Gay Bowl XVII in 2017
It is with incredible pride and joy that we get to share with the Boston FLAG Flag Football community that OUR CITY has officially been chosen to host Gay Bowl XVII in 2017!!! We are humbled to report that city leaders from across the country voted Boston as their top choice among two other deserving cities. We are thrilled that we won the bid and promise to not disappoint and show over 500+ footballers from around the country a wicked good time! Stay tuned for updates!
Show Your PRIDE!
This year we are selling Pride tanks and t-shirts for $20. Sign up by May 24 to march with the league in this year’s Pride Parade and pay half-price!
To sign up to march or to just purchase a shirt, visit The Locker. After you select the navy tank or t-shirt, just indicate your size and if you will be marching with us!
T-shirts are available in Youth X-Small to Adult XXXL. Tanks are only available in adult sizes.
Last chance to order spring shirts from The Locker!
Visit The Locker, our online store, and stock up on FLAG Flag Football gear. We are currently selling our spring collection of t-shirts available in kiwi, cornsilk, sports grey, and heather orange…sorry, no cerulean. These color combinations will only be available this season. Don’t miss out!
We will be accepting orders until midnight on Friday, May 6th and distributing items on Saturday, May 21st at the fields. If you have any questions, email email@example.com.
Congratulations to the FLAG Flag Football league for being named the Outstanding Volunteer Group Award recipient from Community Servings!
Volunteer of the Quarter
We are pleased to announce that Adam Vavrek is our Volunteer of the Quarter (Q1). Great work, Adam. Thank you for all of your service to the community on behalf of FLAG Flag Football!
Boston’s FLAG Flag Football League is honored to award its fourth-annual $2,500 youth scholarship to Phil Batler from Newton South High School.
Phil is one of the fastest high school sprinters in the country, having won the 300 meter dash at both the Dual County League and Massachusetts Division I State Championships. During the summer of 2013, Phil won the New England Junior Olympic title in the 100m dash. At the New England Championships his junior year, Phil placed second and qualified for nationals. As a senior, Phil led his team to their first league title in three years. During his four years running varsity indoor and outdoor track in Newton, Phil set school records at five different distances
Phil came out as an openly gay student during his junior year. “I stopped trying to blend into the straight crowd and wanted people to see that athleticism and sexuality are unrelated,” he said. “I made my sexuality unapologetically apparent in the hopes that just one person on the team looked up to me as an athletic role model who is proud of their differences.” To do this, Phil began to compete wearing a pride rainbow-patterned sweatband “to show that my queer identity was present with me in the hyper-masculine world of sports.” He admits to still being nervous at times when he wears it, unsure of how people will respond and what they’ll think of him, “but every time I cross the finish line in first, pumping my fist with a pride flag, I know I’ve made the right choice.”
Off the track, Phil has taken numerous initiatives to make sports at Newton South safer for and more inclusive of LGBT students. Using his platform as president of his school’s GSA (Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club, which he wanted changed from Gay/Straight Alliance in order to be more inclusive), Phil addressed 130 fellow students, speaking about his own experiences as an openly gay athlete and also about stereotypes faced by members of the LGBT community. In order to combat the homophobic bullying in the locker room, Phil worked with his GSA and school newspaper to encourage queer athletes to share their stories in the paper, as he did with his own. “During my time at South,” he reflects, “I have definitely noticed a shift in locker room slang.”
Phil’s school counselor, James Medeiros, describes these efforts with the school newspaper as “one of [Phil’s] most outstanding examples of making the community safer for LGBTQ student athletes. In his own quiet, confident way, Phil teaches us all to accept ourselves for who we are and to always remain positive. He is an outstanding role model for all students, no matter why they are.” Medeiros explains that Phil “goes about his business without a lot of fanfare. Quietly confident about his many achievements, he possesses an enviable and careful work ethic that has enabled him to develop a profound capacity for knowledge, observation, and leadership.”
Bob Parlin, a Newton South history and social science teacher who co-founded his school’s GSA in 1991, describes Phil as “a superb activist,” and “one of the most eager student GSA leaders we have ever had.” He explains that “whether he is putting together a plan of action for the GSA to talk with middle school students about LGBT issues or fighting for a gender-neutral bathroom for our transgender students, Phil has been the leader who oversaw all of the GSA’s initiatives of the past year.” In addition to being the GSA advisor, Parlin has taught Phil in both his freshman and senior years and describes him as a “curious, diligent, and independent student who is capable of tremendous insight. His outstanding achievement in the class speaks volumes to what he is capable of as a bright scholar, a dedicated citizen, and an advocate for social justice.”
Phil speaks powerfully about the importance of being out and living authentically. “You can lecture people for hours about ending homophobia, but it is the presence of a queer person, on the team and in the locker room, that truly encourages acceptance. I hope that because of my actions there is an athlete somewhere inspired by my success and pride to be comfortable with their own identity.”
Phil plans to attend Brown University in the fall and major in Gender and Sexuality with hopes of becoming a civil rights attorney. All of us in FLAG Flag Football are thrilled to support the education of such an outstanding young man.
FLAG Flag Football bids Gay Bowl XVII in 2017
Why do we think we will be the best, you ask? Let’s be real—Boston is one of the all-time coolest cities in the country. Paul Revere. The Patriots. Aerosmith. The Boston Marathon. Walhburgers…Enough said.
Besides being rooted in an epic history of incredible sports teams, and you know that whole legalizing gay marriage first thing, Boston is a beautiful fall destination that will offer the complete Gay Bowl experience—fun city, great fields, and a ton of hot spots for partying.
With a community of over 300 players and three national teams, Boston’s FLAG Flag Football league is ready to step up to the challenge and promises to deliver a wicked good time!
Click the image below to view the complete bid.
Spring Season Updates!
- Online registration will open on Monday, March 7th at 7pm. There will not be an early registration period for returning players.
- Players will be allowed to register as individuals or with up to 2 friends (for a total of 3). Please note: All players registering in a group must register individually, and all registration forms must match in order to guarantee that players will be put on the same team. Also, each player must register in time and be among those who qualify, based on their time of registration, to play.
- The dates for this year’s spring season will be Saturday, April16th to Saturday, May 21st. Traditionally, the 6-week season has begun earlier in April. However, we have decided to delay the start of the season, because we are anticipating a tough winter with potential weather issues and/or field damage. We have also factored in scheduling conflicts with the end of the basketball season. Our spring season will still end before Memorial Day.
- Softball conflicts: The Boards for the two leagues have been in contact and will be working together to accommodate scheduling needs to the best of our abilities, so participation in both leagues is possible. Football players will be asked on the registration form if they will also be playing softball and, if so, for what team.
- NEW! Based on feedback collected from the year-end survey, the formation of spring teams will be formed through a draft involving all captains — rather than the Board solely creating the teams. Details TBA.
- We plan to have an Open Play/Meet Your Team event on Saturday, April 9th. Details on time and location TBA closer to the date!
14th Annual Snow Bowl
Sunday, February 7, 2016 | 10am-12pm
Roberts Playground, 9 Peacevale Rd., Dorchester
Now that we know the Patriots will not be playing in this year’s Super Bowl, it’s time to focus our attention on what is now the most important football event of the day!
Join us for our annual winter rivalry between our younger and more seasoned players. We’ll begin play at 10am, and with enough players to field four teams, teams will advance to a championship contest that will give half of our age spectrum bragging rights for another year!
We welcome new players to participate! Whether you were on the waitlist last fall and/or are planning on signing up for the first time this spring, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved in the league.
Parking is available in the TechBoston Academy parking lot adjacent to the field.
Following our games, we’ll head over to The Blarney Stone to continue festivities.
We hope to see you there!
Volunteer of the Quarter
We are pleased to announce that Tom Salvoni is our Volunteer of the Quarter (Q4). In 2015, Tom participated in 7 events totaling 20 hours. His participation includes volunteering at the Boston Living Center, Community Servings, GLAD Spirit of Justice, and Celebration of Life Thanksgiving Dinner. He is always willing to help personally as well as help in recruiting volunteers. Join us in thanking him for his ongoing commitment to volunteerism. Congratulations, Tom!
Congratulations to our 2015 SuperFabulous Bowl Champions—Pumpkin Spice Latgays!
Save the Date!
Are you interested in participating in this year’s music video? If so, we will be filing on Sunday, November 8th and Sunday, November 15th. Place and time are to be determined. Stay tuned for more details.
Applications for the 2016 FLAG Flag Football Board
The FLAG Flag Football Board eagerly invites applications for Board members to serve during the 2016 calendar year. The 2016 Board will be elected at the November Board Meeting (November 19th) and will be introduced to the league at the Year-End Party on November 22nd. The Board meets monthly throughout the year — starting off with a retreat over a mutually agreeable weekend — to help shape and direct our non-profit organization.
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If you are interested in serving on this exciting Board, please send the following information to Dave Hamilton, Commissioner (firstname.lastname@example.org), by Friday, November 13th at 8PM.
- Your (a) name, (b) mailing address, (c) email, and (d) phone number.
- One paragraph explaining why you would like to serve on the board.
- Board responsibilities that interest you (Below is a list of current roles. Please note, however, that roles are modified year to year and you should feel free to suggest a role/responsibilities you feel would benefit the league).
Current roles and responsibilities of the Board (note: most Board members have more than one responsibility and/or role):
- Assistant Commissioner
- Director of Events
- Director of Communications and Marketing
- Director of Play Operations
- Director of Rules and Referees
- Director of Volunteerism
- Director of Captains
- Director of Fundraising and Sponsorships
- Director of Tournament Play
- Director of Player Development
If you have any questions about the process or about serving on the Board, please do not hesitate to contact Dave Hamilton (email@example.com) or Danny Tyrrell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The processes for Board elections were approved by the participants in the league when we sought and received 501(c)(3) status in 2010. Each year, the current Board chooses the size of the next year’s Board and the Directors. If any current Director wishes to remain on the Board, they must complete the application process and run. The bylaws also require the new Board to elect the Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Treasurer, and Secretary at its first meeting. It has been the practice of the Board to then have the Commissioner work with each Director to determine which role(s) each should play in the new Board.
Join us this Saturday, October 17th for our annual Friends & Family Day. Games will be played at William Walsh Playground and Dorchester Park starting at 9am. We are holding a contest to see which team has the most fans on the sidelines. Come show your support, wear your team’s color, and cheer on your loved ones! It’ll be a beautiful fall day and perfect weather for some flag football.
Then, on Sunday, October 18th, everyone is invited to our Casino Night at Club Cafe (209 Columbus Ave.) from 1pm-5pm. We’ll have blackjack, poker, roulette, and other card and dice games. We’ll be raffling off some terrific prizes as well as hosting silent and live auctions throughout the event.
Proceeds from the event go to support FLAG Flag Football, including our scholarship and volunteer efforts. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door, all of which goes back to support the organization that you have grown to love, so that we can continue to provide our players with the best experience possible and can also improve our already successful outreach programs.
Our online auction CLOSES TODAY AT 5PM. Make sure you don’t get outbid and miss out on a day of pampering, an extravagant vacation, or a gift certificate to some of Boston’s best eateries. There are over 60 prizes available that fit a range of interests and budgets. Check out the website now…time is running out.
Items will be available for pick up this Saturday at the Blarney Stone (1505 Washington Street, Dorchester) from 2-4pm. Please email email@example.com to make arrangements to pick up your prize.
All proceeds go to FLAG Flag Football to support our work in tackling stereotypes, building community, and transforming lives through sport for the LGBTQ and ally community.
Good luck to all the players and referees representing Boston at this year’s Gay Bowl in San Diego. Special thanks to Richard Moore and Planet Fitness for sponsoring Boston’s three teams: Hancocks, Bulldogs, and Longfellows.
FLAG Flag Football is featured in Boston Spirit magazine
Happy Pride, Boston!
Congratulations to our 2015 Rosie Bowl Champions, Come On Eileens!
2015 FLAG Flag Football Scholarship Recipient – Joseph Piemonte
Boston’s FLAG (Friends, Lesbians and Gays) Flag Football League is thrilled to award its third-annual $2,500 youth scholarship to Joseph Piemonte from East Longmeadow (MA) High School.
Joe is an openly gay student-athlete, perhaps the first to participate on his school’s cross country, swim, and track and field teams. He faced his share of obstacles on the way to becoming captain of his swim team and making it to States each of the last three years, including one indelible incident shortly after he came out his freshman year. As he walked onstage during his school’s pep rally, in front of his entire school community, two classmates yelled out, “Faggot!” Joe describes the experience as the worst in his life, but he refused to let that stop him from being an openly gay student and athlete. Throughout his years at East Longmeadow, Joe encouraged other LGBT students to join sports teams, and he is no longer the only openly gay athlete at his school. As Joe says, “I had the courage to join a sports team and be proud of who I was, showing other students it was okay to be yourself and that there was no reason to be scared.”
Recognizing that change needed to occur at his school, Joe created a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) during his sophomore year and has been president ever since. Under his leadership, the GSA has grown to over 50 members, held a Parent Information Night, and students have observed the Day of Silence, a Compliment Day, Anti-Bullying Week, and No Name-Calling Week. The GSA marched in the Pride parade in Northampton, and the GSA created a video to explain gender identity to the East Longmeadow student body. Additionally, Joe presented a workshop at the GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Massachusetts conference titled Running a Successful GSA. His GSA advisor, Jennifer Faulkner, credits Joe with personally convincing more than 90% of the school’s faculty to put up “Safe Space” stickers in their classrooms and getting an impressive number of local businesses to contribute to the GSA’s fundraising efforts.
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According to his principal, Dr. Gina Flanagan, “Joseph was instrumental in the development and leadership of our school’s Gay Straight Alliance. This organization has been instrumental in helping us create a safe and positive school environment for all students. Joseph has initiated many activities that have brought awareness to a wide variety of LGBTQ issues. As a result, our school is much more accepting and supportive of our LGBTQ students.” She goes on to praise him for his leadership in coordinating several school-wide initiatives and for his willingness to always step forward to serve his school community.
The achievement of which Joe is most proud is a professional development presentation he made this year for the teachers and staff at his school. He taught his teachers how to handle anti-gay name-calling and include LGBT voices in their classrooms and curricula.
Joe explains that while he has not yet determined where he will be attending college this fall, his goal for the future is “to help LGBT people, especially teens. I would like to come into schools and create a better environment for students to come to learn. I believe we can create a world where LGBT students will want to go to school, and play sports, because they feel accepted and comfortable in their own skin. In order to create this world, we must start one step at a time.”
Joseph Piemonte is a leader and role model who has dedicated himself to making high school sports, and high school itself, safer for and more inclusive of LGBTQ youth. We honor him with this award and all of the attributes that led his GSA advisor and Latin teacher to say he “is one of the most amazing young people I have had the pleasure of working with in 13 years of teaching.” She went on to say, “I have personally witnessed other LGBT students coming to him for support, which he gives unstintingly…The legacy he’s left for our school is truly amazing, and I know generations of students will have cause to be grateful to his efforts to make our school more accepting.”
The FLAG Flag Football scholarship was established to recognize and honor a Massachusetts graduating high school senior who has made high school and/or community sports programs safer for and more inclusive of LGBTQ student-athletes, as either a role model or ally. In line with our mission, students of all athletic skill levels, contributions, and achievement were encouraged to apply.
If you know a deserving student who will be a high school senior next year, please let her or him know about our scholarship! There are some amazing young people out there we would love to recognize.
Victory Programs’ 2015 Manny Jefferson Award was presented to FLAG Flag Football
The Manny Jefferson Award is awarded to special individuals or organizations that have demonstrated excellence in volunteerism, shown a commitment to helping those in the care of Victory Programs, and helped improve Victory Programs’ programs and services.
On Tuesday, March 24th, FLAG Flag Football was honored at Victory Programs’ 40th Annual Gratitude Dinner in recognition of the league’s continued commitment to Victory Programs — including serving Monday night dinners at the Boston Living Center, raising funds as TIPS servers at the Celebration of Life Thanksgiving Dinner, and co-hosting the annual Summer Tea Dance.
Thank you to all of our volunteers who have participated at these events over the years. We would also like to give a special thanks to Patrick Santos for his dedication, hard work, and commitment to all of our volunteerism efforts.
To learn more about Victory Programs, please visit http://www.vpi.org/.
VOLUNTEER: Lunch Service at the Pine Street InnnStarts: 12:00 pmEnds: January 29, 2017 - 1:30 pmLocation: Pine Street Inn 444 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118, United States
VOLUNTEER: Boston Living CenterStarts: 5:30 pmEnds: January 30, 2017 - 8:00 pmLocation: Boston Living Center Inc, 29 Stanhope St, Boston, MA 02116, USA
Snow BowlStarts: 12:00 amEnds: -Location: Walsh Playground Path, Boston, MA 02124, USA
VOLUNTEERING: 50/50 Raffle at Celtics Game - Mass MentoringStarts: 5:00 pmEnds: February 15, 2017 - 8:00 pm