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    SF Gay Softball League Celebrates 50 Years of Competition, Camaraderie, and Inclusion

    By John Chen–

    “Humans need more playtime, fresh air, connection, and laughter. San Francisco Gay Softball League leadership encourages team managers to be inclusive of bodies of all abilities and players from all backgrounds and identities. At a time when lawmakers are working to exclude trans kids from youth sports, I feel pride in seeing our community set an example for prioritizing fun, sportsmanship, and intergenerational community.” 

    —Dom Brassey, San Francisco Gay Softball League Player, Team Knockouts, Women’s+ Division

    I remember that, when I first moved to the Bay Area in 1999, I looked for a sport where both my new boyfriend (now husband) and I could play together. And just as importantly, we wanted to make friends and feel like we were members of a greater community, although we are polar opposites when it comes to athletic prowess and accomplishments—I am, let’s just say, well-seasoned; and someone who shall remain nameless has two left feet. Yet, we were able to play softball together in the San Francisco Gay Softball League (SFGSL). San Francisco softball welcomed us and introduced us to a world of camaraderie, support, fun, and inclusiveness like no other.

    Vincent Fuqua has been the unquestioned SFGSL leader since 2008. “I joined SFGSL since I was 20. This will be my 33rd year and 16th year as league Commissioner,” Fuqua told me for the San Francisco Bay Times. “From my knowledge—and I don’t have all the details—our league started some 50 years ago when a group of gay men and women brought a bat and a ball to a picnic where they played softball and had so much fun that they entertained the idea of forming teams. A few years later, that group of friends, picnic and bat and ball gave birth to SFGSL.”

    Fuqua continued, “[SFGSL] started with about six teams and grew as big as 73 teams. Our league has evolved to now having more women, transgender, Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), and allies than ever. Throughout our history, we had and still have all sober, transgender, and drag teams. We currently have a Women’s + division and are looking to reach as many LGBTQ+ people as possible.”

    “As I reflect on our 50th year, it warms my heart to know that collectively, including all former and current volunteer leaders, SFGSL has created and continues to create an environment where anyone and everyone can come out and have fun playing a sport regardless of their skill level,” Fuqua added. “We ensure that everyone has the opportunity to play because a lot of us understand what it was like growing up being picked last or not picked at all.”

    Fuqua also proudly pointed out, “Besides playing softball, our league is about building and supporting our community and family. To thousands of LGBTQ+ players over the years and even if they no longer play, SFGSL is and always will be family. We cheered and celebrated every effort both on and off the field. We congratulated every accomplishment whether athletically or interpersonally. We cried together, laughed together, held together, and stuck together. We are our own strength. I believe that these are the reasons why we continue to be the largest and most popular LGBTQ+ sports league in the Bay Area. Celebrating our 50 years with all of our current and past players and supporters is a huge honor and a milestone, and a testament of our commitment to build a space for all to feel welcome.”

    In celebration of their 50th year, SFGSL Board Member Orlando Diaz told me, “We are excited to announce that the SF Giants will be a key partner for us this season as we celebrate this historic milestone. We look forward to inviting all of our players, members, supporters, and fans to join us in numerous 50th anniversary events and festivities, hopefully including members of the Giants organization and team.”

    Diaz provided me with an initial list of 50th Anniversary SFGSL events and dates for the upcoming 2023 season and welcomes all to attend:

    March 19, Opening Ceremony, 12–3 pm, Kimbell Fields

    Highlights include a parade of teams, special performances, a “celebrity” softball game, and an afterparty

    May 8, Last day to register as a player for the 2023 Spring Season

    June 10, Pride Day Game at SF Giants

    Highlights may include a homerun hitting contest and shagging balls for Giants during batting practice

    July 22 or August 6, End of Season Celebration

    For more information on how to join SFGSL and all upcoming events, please visit

    John Chen, a UCLA alumnus and an avid sports fan, has competed as well as coached tennis, volleyball, softball, and football teams.

    Published on February 23, 2023