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QUAD CITIES — Aiming to involve people from throughout eastern Iowa and northwest Illinois, a Davenport resident is gathering sign-ups of people who are interested in starting the nation’s 29th chapter of Stonewall Sports, a nationwide LGBTQIA+ sports league.

Travis Stanger began to seek sign-ups of those interested in early May after he visited Minneapolis, where a thriving Stonewall Sports chapter exists. He’s now gathered more than 50 signatures for a new league that would start in the spring with kickball and potentially expand to 14 other sports.


Travis Stanger with siblings

Travis Stanger, left and pictured with his siblings, is seeking to gather at least 100, and up to 200, sign-ups of people interested in being involved in a new chapter of Stonewall Sports.

“I had such a good time,” Stanger, 26, said of his visit to the Twin Cities and experience with Stonewall Sports there. “It was fun to see so many people out and having a good time together, and being themselves.  it seems like a good place to meet people, be yourself, have a good time and be active.”

Stanger seeks to gather at least 100 people signing up with interest, and up to 200 — from not only the Quad Cities, but nearby communities.  He anticipates participation in the league from Iowa City, Dubuque and more on the Iowa side, and from Galena, Peoria, Galesburg, Dixon and more on the Illinois side.



Quad Cities interest in Stonewall Sports QR code

Scan the code above to find the Facebook group Travis Stanger has started to explore interest in a Quad Cities regional chapter of Stonewall Sports.

The new QC Stonewall Sports chapter would be Iowa’s first-ever, and only the second in Illinois (Chicago has a chapter).

While many of the Stonewall Sports leagues nationwide are in larger cities, Stanger said he become convinced one was possible in the Quad Cities after he learned that  Fargo, N.D., started a chapter. The Fargo, N.D. metropolitan area has a population of about 131,000, while the seven-city Quad Cities has almost 400,000 residents.

“It’s about getting it off the ground,” says Stanger.

One Quad Cities LGBTQ+ business owner is excited to see Stanger’s efforts. “The queer community in the QC area needs more outlets to connect and build community with one another,” says Zachery Nielsen, a therapist who operates Bloom Therapy for individuals and couples. “A sports league lets us come together and build relationships with one another in a new way that is focused on teamwork, camaraderie, and play. I have wanted to get back into some kind of athletics for a while now and I am beyond excited to be able to do so with other queer individuals!”

Stonewall Sports provides LGBTQ+ sports opportunities nationwide

Stonewall Sports was founded in 2010 in Washington, D.C. and now has 28 chapters in 20 states. The nonprofit provides organizational support to leagues that provide “ safe, inclusive, low-cost, fun sports” and also philanthropy.

Currently, 40,000 people nationwide participate in a Stonewall Sports league, in 14 different sports. The group also hosts an annual national tournament, and its next one July 18 to 21 is taking place in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.



Stonewall Sports logo

Stonewall Sports is a nonprofit LGBTQ+ sports league that already has 28 chapters nationwide wtih 40,000 people involved.

Stanger emphasizes the new Quad Cities-based league he’s seeking to start would be open to both recreational and competitive players. In fact, he describes himself as “not the sportiest person in the world.”

But he believes Stonewall’s emphasis on events beyond sports, and on supporting the communities where its chapters are located, make Stonewall more than a sports league.

“One of the reasons I’ve avoided team sports is because they’ve always intimidated me,” he said. “But I think this is about, at least for the first few seasons, having fun and meeting people, socializing, having a good time, and having a place where you can just be yourself.”

If you’d like to sign up to express your interest in a Stonewall Sports chapter based in the Quad Cities, head to the Facebook group, “Stonewall Sports Quad Cities Interest.” There, you’ll find a form where you can sign up to show your interest as a player, volunteer or sponsor.

You can also contact Stanger at 563-381-0504.