On Monday, The New Yorker reported that during a conversation about gay rights, President Trump joked Vice President Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, “wants to hang them all.”
On Tuesday, the Maryland men’s soccer team held its second annual LGBTQ Pride Night during its game against Georgetown, an event that some participants said carried added meaning amidst political attacks on members of the LGBTQ and other minority communities.
“Our program … is at the top of the line of trying to be at the forefront of these movements like the Pride movement [and] doing stuff for equality,” midfielder Jake Rozhansky said. “With everything that’s going on in our country right now, I think we need to unite more than divide.”
Last year, coach Sasho Cirovski’s squad took part in a Maryland athletic department event called “Maryland United Night,” when the Terps field hockey and men’s soccer teams gave away rainbow-themed shirts to fans at their games to show support for the LGBTQ community.
The celebration was in large part thanks to former Maryland soccer star Robbie Rogers, who came out as gay in 2013 and became the first openly gay male player in the five major American sports leagues. Rogers also helped coordinate a silent auction benefiting the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an organization dedicated to promoting LGBTQ acceptance in schools, at last year’s event.
“[The cause] means a lot to me, personally, having coached a special young man like Robbie,” Cirovski said earlier this week. “To highlight and bring attention to the LGBT cause of unconditional acceptance is important to me and our program.”
This season, in addition to a new design of rainbow shirts given away to fans, players and coaches from Maryland and Georgetown wore rainbow wristbands throughout the warmups and game.
Maryland reached out to Hoyas coach Brian Wiese about the event approximately a month ago.
“Gosh, in the current climate of things right now, it’s like, a little bit of empathy and support for different groups is so needed,” Wiese said. “So we’re very happy to do it.”
In July, Trump tweeted the U.S. “will not accept or allow” transgender people to serve in the military.
So, for many, the second iteration of Maryland’s rainbow-tinted game at Ludwig Field felt particularly important.
“We stand for full equality,” Cirovski said. “I’m just glad we can bring attention to it and hopefully make everyone’s life easier.”