story by Erik Borg
Boston’s LGBT athletic leagues set to host first awards banquet for the area’s over 2,000 out athletes; Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley to host on January 26
[Tickets for this event are available here]
There are more than 2,000 athletes across Boston’s 18 LGBT sports organizations, and it’s pretty safe to say they’ve never all convened for the same event.
That could change next year, as plans for the first-annual LGBT New England Sports Award Banquet finally come together almost four years after it was first dreamed up.
The event, modeled to be a gay cousin of ESPN’s Espy sports award show, is scheduled for Saturday, January 26 at the Westin Waterfront hotel.
It is the brainchild of Boston Spirit publisher David Zimmerman and Marc Davino, a prominent LGBT organizer and athlete. The two aimed to create an event that would align the entire community in a fun way.
“The thought was that, although each league does an annual banquet, wouldn’t it be great to get all the athletes together for a really special night?” said Zimmerman.
So far, 17 of the 18 identified LGBT sports organizations have come on-board to promote and participate in the project.
Steve Buckley, a well-known, out sports columnist for the Boston Herald, will be the night’s emcee.
If Buckley and Zimmerman have their way, a few other local sports celebrities will partake in the festivities as well, Zimmerman said.
The Espy-like event will feature four awards categories. The first, aimed at highlighting the activities of each participating organization, is an open award for each organization to recognize one of its own participants, supporters, or sponsors.
Each organization will also be able to nominate one person for the all-sports Sportsmanship, Spirit, and Overcoming Adversity awards.
The hope is that the latter recognizes someone in the community who has leveraged LGBT sports in a challenging personal situation such as coming out, said Davino.
Along with the awards, each organization will have the opportunity to create and submit a five-minute video that represents their league. The videos will be voted on via Facebook and other channels leading up to the event, and they will be shown intermittently during the evening before a winner is announced.
Finally, an Icon Award will be given to a national sports figure who has worked on behalf of the LGBT community.
The event, quite possibly the first of its kind in the country, will hopefully become an annual occasion to recognize the impact of the LGBT sports community, Davino said.
The participating leagues — ranging from football to darts — indicate the wide gamut of interests and activities made available to the LGBT community throughout New England.
“The work that’s done out there by LGBT sports, on an individual and volunteer basis, is pretty phenomenal,” Davino said.
If the event is a success, it will morph into a fundraising event for an LGBT cause the following year, Davino said.
The event it’s also about having something fun to do in the middle of Boston winter.
The ceremony will start with food, cocktails, and a space for each organization to promote itself and register new participants. Following the awards ceremony, there will be a DJ and dancing.
Tickets are on sale now for $60.
Davino said he also hopes the event will help to reinvigorate the now-defunct Pride Sports Boston. The organization had acted as a loose umbrella organization for Boston’s LGBT sports groups throughout the 90s before falling apart in recent years.
It’s a presence that’s missing in the community, said Davino.
“The number one reason is to have something that unites all the LGBT sports groups,” he said. [x]
PrideSports Awards Gala
7:30 p.m. to midnight
Westin Waterfront Hotel
Tickets available at