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Anyone who is familiar with the Nashville Grizzlies, or their local LGBT or LGBT-affirming rugby team, knows that there’s a lot more to what they do than chasing balls, or even playing rugby…. International Gay Rugby (IGR) teams, and unaffiliated teams with similar values, hold a strong set of principles, the core of which is service to the community.
That service takes many forms, the first and most obvious of which is the creation of an emotionally safe space for LGBT to participate in the not-safe-at-all sport they share a love of. Providing for this often unmet need in adult LGBT people is itself a basic service for which such teams should be commended. But LGBT-affirming rugby also challenges societal stereotypes both within and outside of the LGBT community, and provides role models for young or aspiring LGBT athletes.
Far beyond the service provided by their very existence, however, the Grizzlies and their brothers around the world partner with other community (both LGBT and beyond) social and service organizations, becoming true pillars for the community. Nashville’s Grizzlies are often found supporting diverse causes, from Nashville’s arts scene to groups like Mr. Friendly and the Music City Sisters (especially if there is an opportunity to support them with partial nudity). It’s not unusual to see Grizzlies slipping out of one fundraiser early to get to another one on the same night!
Hosting the Bingham Cup gives the team an opportunity to support a cause on a much larger scale, by naming a “Charity of Choice.” The Grizzlies have chosen the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) as the Charity of Choice of the 2016 Bingham Cup, a world championship of IGR.
TSPN is a public-private partnership of counselors, mental health professionals and community advocates dedicated to the goal of reducing suicide rates in the state of Tennessee. TSPN works across the state to eliminate mental health stigma and educate communities about the warning signs of suicide with the goal of reducing suicide rates.
“For various reasons, LGBTQ people are more susceptible to suicide. They are subject to stressors such as bullying, discrimination, being closeted, and a lack of support from family and friends. Also, they often have less access to mental health resources,” said Scott Ridgway, TSPN’s Executive Director. “As the Charity of Choice, TSPN will have the opportunity to offer suicide prevention training to players and guests ahead of the tournament, helping to spread the message of suicide prevention across the U.S. and around the world.”
Though there have been no empirical nation-wide studies on the occurrence of suicide among LGBTQ people, there is evidence that LGBTQ youths are significantly more susceptible to suicide and suicide ideation. Precise numbers vary, but studies suggest LGBTQ males are 55% more prone to suicidal ideation than their heterosexual counterparts. According to a 2001 study, LGBTQ youths surveyed estimated that roughly half their suicidal thoughts are connected to their sexual orientation. Furthermore, suicide attempts by LGBTQ youths tend to be more often result in death or serious.
“We are very fortunate to have in Tennessee an organization that works with all people, including the LGBTQ community, to promote mental health resources and suicide prevention training,” says Jon Glassmeyer, chairman of the Bingham Cup organizing committee.
LGBTQ students are disproportionately more likely to be harassed or bullied on team sports and in PE class according to a study by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and, as a result, are underrepresented in school athletics teams.
Gay and inclusive sporting events like the Bingham Cup can help break down stigmas that deter LGBTQ people from participating in team sports, and thus naturally help address some of the stressors that likely increase the chances a young person might become suicidal. Thus, TSPN is a natural fit for the Nashville Grizzlies, for Bingham, and for International Gay Rugby.
People struggling with suicidal thoughts should seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is +1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained counselors are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In their home cities, most teams are active in their communities and support a wide range of noble causes. While we could not list them all, here are some of the charities teams from around the world support:
The Northampton Outlaws are proud supporters of the Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation. This is a natural tie in given that Ben Cohen, one of the most notable international athletes to come out, was born in Northampton and played rugby for Northampton Saints. Cohen’s foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying by connecting communities and raising funds to support those doing real-world work to eradicate bullying.
The preferred charity of Toronto’s Muddy York, among their many beneficiaries, is The 519 Community Centre, Toronto. The 519 is committed to the health, happiness, and full participation of the LGBTQ community and strives to make a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect.
The Caledonian Thebans of Edinburgh, Scotland, have raised money for Cahonas Scotland, a testicular cancer charity dedicated to educating “people about the signs and symptoms of Male Cancers and the importance of early detection, to remind them to regularly self-check their testicles and to reduce embarrassment and stigma relating to Male Cancers.”
The Melbourne Chargers has a long-standing community partnership with the Victorian Aids Council—an alliance that builds the profile of LGBTI sporting clubs while increasing awareness for the importance of acceptance in sports, as well as a recognition of the positive role sport and a healthy lifestyle can play in battling stigma around HIV.
The Ottawa Wolves’ preferred charity is Bruce House, “a community-based organization providing housing, compassionate care and support in Ottawa for people living with HIV and AIDS, based on the belief that everyone has the right to live and die with dignity."
The Colorado Rush support The Center—the GLBT Community Center of Colorado.
The Kings Cross Steelers had a number of charities they highlight, including Diversity Role Models, charity that seeks to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying in UK schools.
The San Diego Armada has various outreach efforts, including fundraising for the San Diego AIDS Walk/Run, and collaboration with the Imperial Court de San Diego.
The Minneapolis Mayhem is a proud supporter of the Aliveness Project in Minneapolis, a local charity that encourages self-empowerment and provides direct services for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
The Washington Renegades have helped prepare hundreds of Thanksgiving meals for people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. They have also sponsored a neighborhood little league team and conducted rugby clinics for youth in areas as diverse as Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Maryland.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.