A couple weeks ago marked the 3rd annual Prom Dress Rugby exhibition, which coincided with Pride Weekend in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, a perfect opportunity for some fun cross dressing.
The gents wore dresses. The ladies sported tuxes. Naturally.
The event is not just fun. It’s also a fundraiser. Spectators could affect the game by paying for penalties or change of possession during the game. Fifty bucks would give a team “a try” (think touchdown). But the most popular – by far – cost just $25: a change of costume with an opposing player.
Proceeds from the match went towards supporting Seattle’s Pride Foundation. This year, they raised $500, which isn’t a surprise after witnessing – and photographing – so many costume changes.
I have had prom dress rugby on my radar for years. In fact, awhile back I had planned a trip to UCLA to photograph their women’s fundraiser. But the university originally wanted to charge me $2k in location fees. Really? Something in the water in LA, which is the only place I’ve ever been hit up for cash – multiple times, mind you – to photograph weird sports. I’m trying to make you famous, and you want to charge me?
School officials realized later they couldn’t enforce that, but I was already looking for a more positive program. Found one in Wisconsin, but then I heard about this cross dressed version in Seattle. Slam Fucking Dunk™, people. Caught the tail end of the match last year, and vowed to return for more.
The Quake was founded by 8 gay men who wanted to bring gay men and men of color into rugby. Members also include straight and married men. This annual exhibition is a chance to raise money and recruit players of all experience levels to play rugby.
Weird Sports doing good work. Holla.
I did a short phone interview with Diego, who plays for the Quake. “The thing about playing against women in rugby: they’re out to prove they can hold their own. And they can,” he told me. “They might be small, might be delicate, but don’t let that fool you. They have no problem taking you down.”
Diego’s mom called him after seeing some photos of him in drag on Facebook. “She was a little shocked,” he said. “It took her awhile. “‘What does your wife think about this? I assume she’s OK with it.'” He laughed. “Mom, she’s the one who picked the dress out.”
Diego told me his team is a very close knit group. “These guys will go out for beers and drink you under the table, then go out with your wife shopping the next day.” (Weird Sports Quote of the Year nominee)
I had originally planned to have this post featured on my weekly WIRED column, but alas, no dice on that platform. For now, these photos go old school, back on my personal blog.
And I imagine there’s a very strong possibility (probability) one of these images makes the 2nd volume of Weird Sports.