Listen: Girls, women, trans and nonbinary flag football players in Denver are finding community as the sport grows nationwide

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3min 54sec
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Dani Ordway and Miles the dog stand on the sidelines as the Mile High Club, a National Gay Flag Football League team, practices at Valverde Park. May 22, 2024.

On a warm night in April, teammates on Mile High Club flag football team scrimmaged at Valverde Park. They practiced running some of their plays while other teammates cheered on from the sidelines.

The team competes in the women’s+ league – inclusive of women, trans and nonbinary people – of the National Gay Flag Football League. The athletes are training for the Annual Gay Bowl taking place in Austin this fall. Mile High Club has an 11 year win streak to maintain. 

When that streak started, Gay Bowl hosted just a handful of women’s+ teams, and Mile High Club could just barely fill its roster. In recent years, 32 teams play at the tournament, and Denver’s team has had to cut prospective players.

Flag football has grown as a sport in recent years as a safer alternative to regular football for boys, as an entry point into the typically male-dominated sport for girls, and as a space for LGBTQ+ community. Last month, after a popular two-year pilot program in local high schools, Colorado became the 11th state to make girls flag football an officially sanctioned sport. At the professional level, flag football will become the latest sport to join the Olympics in 2028.

Read the full story on Denverite.