Summer time journeys to Cherry Grove and the Pines—the adjoining, queer-centric, and mega-charming hamlets on Fireplace Island—have lengthy had a status for being downright magical for folk who’re in a position to make the two-hourish journey from New York Metropolis. No automobiles! Deer wander as much as you as you stroll the wood pathways house from the seashore! Everyone seems to be homosexual! And, on one Saturday in August annually, you’ll be able to play in an LGBTQ+ volleyball event that particularly caters to girls and non-binary folks. Based by Danielle Millet-Stanziale and Kristine Bungay in 2011, LezVolley is a manner for groups with names like Homosexual Watch, Uhaullyball, Seaside Cheeks, and I’d Hit That to play sports activities, grasp with their associates, and even make some new ones in a spot that feels actually welcoming and secure.
Regardless of a variety of thrilling progress prior to now decade, 2023 has been tough, broadly talking, for queer and trans folks within the US. We’ve seen relentless makes an attempt to legislate trans folks’s very existence; widespread guide bans focusing on titles with themes of LGBTQ+ acceptance; ongoing protests by far-right extremists at drag occasions; the Bud Gentle fiasco; the tragic killing of O’Shae Sibley, a Black homosexual man who dared to vogue in public; and a current Division of Training choice that granted Baylor College a spiritual exemption to the Title IX provision that requires faculties to guard queer and trans college students from sexual harassment. (In my very own Brooklyn neighborhood, I’ve been known as anti-gay slurs and spat at when out and about with my girlfriend. Actually cool stuff!!!)
That’s the backdrop this 12 months’s LezVolley event occurred towards, and is an enormous a part of why it’s such a big day for each gamers and spectators—it affords group, queer pleasure, heart-pumping competitors, and exuberant recreation.
A pleasant element about this 12 months’s occasion: Two groups have been fully made up of single gamers who registered alone—principally permitting people who didn’t have an present workforce to play with to take part. In accordance with LezVolley’s organizers, when this has occurred in previous years, the gamers typically keep in contact and a few even return the next 12 months as a workforce once more, this time as outdated associates, which is extraordinarily cute. Additionally cute? The truth that somebody proposed to their girlfriend on the tourney’s after-party on the Ice Palace.
SELF despatched photographer Hunter Abrams to seize this 12 months’s LezVolley event; under, you’ll discover a few of our favourite moments.