A new documentary, F(l)ag Football takes us inside the world of the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) as 400 players from 26 teams from 19 cities around the country fight for the title of Gay Bowl champions. The film interweaves footage of competitive games, tournament events, off-field rivalries and relationships and deeply personal interviews. It aims to shatter stereotypes about athletes and gay men.
Director/producer Seth Greenleaf’s film focuses primarily on two teams, the New York Warriors and the L.A. Motion. The New York team is captained by former NFL player Wade Davis, Jr., the most high profile player the league has. The L.A. team is led by Cyd Zeigler, founder of both the NGFFL and the website Outsports, as well as a former member of the Warriors.
Greenleaf met Davis by chance, when he stumbled upon a practice session and asked to join. When Greenleaf, who is straight, was informed the team members were gay, he had to come to terms with his own preconceived notions of masculinity and sexuality. “There was a moment of shock [when they asked] because it [a gay football league] wasn’t something I had awareness about. There’s this misperception that we have – that I had – when straight people think of gay men… there is an immediate feminizing of them and that feminizing is a very dangerous quality,” Greenleaf says. “There’s this misperception about gay men that they are soft, weak, feminine – and some may be, and that’s fine – but there’s a huge range, just like any group.”
“I hope people walk away from this film understanding that we are all on a spectrum of everything – sexuality, gender expression, self-acceptance and self-love,” Davis says. “I hope people continue to wrestle with all these ideas as individuals and think critically about how they want to move about world and create spaces for people to show up as close as possible to their authentic self without apology or explanation.”