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Men of Strokes

The District makes it difficult for its gay residents to live slovenly. The common introductory question at a local gay bar isn’t the Washington standard “who do you work for?” but “what gym do you go to?” While straight citizens might see a gym membership as something functionary, the gays in this town utilize sports clubs in the same manner as social networking sites.

Any potential slacking in the workout routine of the local gay community was shot to hell this week with the intimidating unveiling of the Men of Strokes calendar. A benefit for the DC Strokes rowing club, the calendar – shot by former Washington Blade publisher William Waybourn – features two years worth of men who would make Payton Manning question his own athletic prowess.

While the DC Strokes are among numerous gay athletic teams in Washington (including rugby, football, swimming and soccer) it remains the only primarily-gay crew team in the country. First organized in 1991, the team competes in races across the Mid-Atlantic and hosts its own Stonewall Regatta each June which attracts competitive crew clubs from across the region.

The club offers several programs from “Learn to Row” clinics to beginners and moderate squads. More experienced rowers are offered a competitive rowing program that matches the crew against other clubs (and apparently the opportunity to perfect your physical form judging from the calendar spread).

The Men of Strokes will be appearing in person over the next week to sign calendars and solicit interest in the club. The launch party at the Longview Gallery attracted a good number of straight women as well as a gay crowd, and the team hopes to continue to benefit from the diverse pocketbooks of their fans. Proceeds from sales ($20 for a two-year calendar) go towards equipment purchases for the DC Strokes. As a a 501(c)3 organization, it makes for an interesting tax write-off.

To purchase calendars, visit: www.DCStrokes.org

Calendars may also be purchased in-person at the upcoming Men of Strokes appearances:

Friday, October 12 – 8:00pm until 11:00pm – Nellies Sports Bar (9th & U Streets, NW)
Saturday, October 13 – Noon until 4:00pm – Lambda Rising Book Store (1625 Connecticut)
Saturday, October 13 – 8:00pm until 11:00pm – 18th & U Duplex Diner
Sunday, October 14 – 7:00pm until 10:00pm – JRs Bar & Grill (1519 17th Street, NW)

Additionally, the Men of Strokes will be featured later this month at appearances in both Chicago and New York City.

Photos courtesy of DC Strokes. Photography by William Waybourn