The tale of the first ever gay swim team formerly known as the West Hollywood Swim Club dives head first into a pool of unknowns and trepidation. The time is 1982 and the overall climate for the LGBTQ community is dark, fearful and dangerous with a small glimmer of hope for the future made possible by determined men and especially women.
The true pioneers, those determined men and women, wouldn’t and couldn’t stop in the despair of hopelessness. They had to rise above it all as the beacons of courage and fortitude, which some did in the form of the Gay Games — a form of the Olympics with the purpose to promote inclusion and acceptance.
It provided the LGBTQ community an opportunity to showcase not only their athletic abilities but also their gay pride in a time when the two were thought to be void of one another. The founders and athletes championed the notion that gays are just as athletic and capable as their heterosexual counterparts.
Many gay men would mask their gay identity behind the idea that athleticism provided them a public disguise to homosexuality. But the Gay Games turned that notion on its head. And gay men everywhere took the chance at the opportunity to live their truth while also displaying their athleticism.
The West Hollywood Aquatics formed as a swim team to compete at the first Gay Games in 1982 in San Francisco, California. And upon their return home to West Hollywood instead of disbanding they stay together to form the West Hollywood Swim Club, which now includes water polo.