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LGBTQ community, allies find outlet in Stonewall Sports Indianapolis leagues

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Stonewall Sports Indianapolis has a colorful roster, and it’s built that way by design. Its focus: providing an athletic outlet to central Indiana’s LGBTQ community and its allies.

Stonewall Sports Indianapolis, established in 2020, is a branch of the national nonprofit, Stonewall Sports. It merged with the previously-existing Circle City Pride baseball to create a more robust roster of players.

Stonewall Sports now offers softball, kickball, and volleyball.

Andrew Merkley, president of the organization, says having these kinds of activities is vital, especially for people who may feel isolated or are just looking for their tribe.

“With the current climate, it is so important for us to offer space for everyone to play. This is a nonprofit sports league for LGBTQ plus and allies,” Merkley said. “We’ve seen a huge outpouring of support. Our membership continues to grow season after season. We’re seeing more diversity in all of our players. Indianapolis has never had something quite like this, so it’s exciting.”

Sundays are game days at the Chuck Cline Softball Complex. And the players, like James Eckerty, come ready.

“I’ve always had a love for softball. And so whenever I found out about this, this was the perfect place for me,” said player James Eckerty.

Players say the organization is an ideal place for those who don’t know where they fit in. Here, you can find yourself, and have fun doing it.

As the LGBTQ community and allies fight for an equal place in the world, they don’t need to fight while playing with Stonewall Sports — but making a few good hits at-bat doesn’t hurt.

“This is a great area, whether you’re gay, straight, bi, curious, or just want to come and watch, or just want to play,” Eckerty said. “This is a great group of people to get to know.”