BUFFALO, NY — OutLoud Sports Buffalo is a sports league organization that offers people who identify as LGBTQ+ a competitive outlet through sports.

“It’s not like we have a ton of gay bars and stuff around here, so it’s kind of like a way to break up the monotony of the bar scene and meet new people. So I wanted that to be able to come to Buffalo,” said Katie Jurkas, OutLoud Sports Buffalo General Manager.

Jurkas is originally from Long Beach, California and wanted to bring the inclusive sports league to Western New York to allow LGBTQ+ identifying people to find friends.

“I never had any experience with any queer community sports league, so this is great, and I feel welcome. I do it two to three times a week, and I think it is great,” said Stephanie Hall, OutLoud Sports Buffalo Darts, Indoor Kickball, and Cornhole Manager.

For Matt Yamaguchi, the sports leagues provide comfort and reassurance. “You know you feel accepted, you feel safe, you feel like you could just come here and be yourself and be yourself with all of your friends. There’s no hesitation here,” said Yamaguchi.

Dylan Stannard, from Central New York, says finding space so accepting is reaffirming, and finding other transgender friends has been challenging. Still, with OutLoud, it has been more accessible.

“I have met other trans people here, so it’s nice to have like that community that comes to and just have a relaxed environment and have somebody to talk about things with,” said Stannard.

Josie Raphaelito says finding a queer-friendly space has been meaningful for her and her fiancée. “To Find something specific to LGBTQ is so meaningful. To feel safe and welcome means everything,” said Raphaelito.

The friendly competition makes for a great workout and to feel confident, and you do not have to be the best player to make an impact.

“I do not have to worry about being the best and winning or losing. It is just a lot of fun,” said Madelyn Reed.

You can find out how to sign up for dodgeball or darts here.