CHELSEA, Manhattan (PIX11) — It’s New York’s first official basketball league for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Pride Basketball League NYC has been around since 2006.
But why have a basketball league exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community?
“The Pride basketball league centers on queer and trans people in basketball, and we have folks from all over the spectrum,” Anna Angeles, a Pride League Commissioner, told PIX11 News. “There’s something to be said when you have a specific safe space just for queer and trans people.”
Angeles joined the Pride Basketball League in 2015, right after she finished grad school to do something for herself.
Michael Davis, another Pride commissioner, played high school basketball in the Midwest and now works in sports media. Davis said he’s thinking about the recent uptick in anti-gay sentiment in other parts of the country.
“Here in New York, we’ve got a supportive city and community,” Davis said. “But everyone has their hackles up a little bit and we want to make sure we have a safe and happy Pride Month.”
The Pride League is partners with the New York Knicks and Delta Airlines. The Knicks donate the space at Chelsea Piers, pay for the jerseys, and organize events like Saturday’s tournament.
Carina Beckham, an East Elmhurst paraprofessional, is one of the newest Pride League members.
“It’s more of feeling that community,” Beckham said. “I don’t want to go to a bar. I don’t want to hang out there. I want to be able to engage openly with people I can talk to, people who have similar stories with me.”
The Pride Basketball League NYC is also looking for a few more donations and members as they try to grow their league.