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The History of a Gay Swim Team Is Finally Getting Its Recognition

The History of a Gay Swim Team Is Finally Getting Its Recognition

The History of a Gay Swim Team Is Finally Getting Its Recognition

Light in the Water premieres tonight on Logo! 


An entire chapter of gay history focusing on the legacy of West Hollywood Aquatics, LGBT athletes, and the first Gay Games of 1982 is finally getting the spotlight it deserves thanks to a Logo documentary feature entitled Light in the Water.

Directed by Elisabeth Bartlett, the film delves into the untold stories behind the queer men and women who founded a community of gay athletes, bonding over their communial love of competitive swimming as well as the politically active drive that they each would ultimately develop to defend their passions and rights.

(Courtesy of Lucas Murnaghan)

Bartlett's doc, an island of misfit toys narrative that defines the term "chosen family," deserves significant praise for showcasing the multi-faceted world of LGBT sports; a world in which your sexuality could essentially become a death sentence during the '80s and the AIDS crisis.

"I've been a swimmer since middle school, so in making this film, it was a way of writing a love letter to swimming for me," Bartlett said. "I identify as straight, but I found this incredible LGBT team and I honestly just thought that it would be a great place to meet open minded people who love to do a sport that I love to do."

(Courtesy of Greg Elmore)

When asked about the passion behind these swimmers, Bartlett stated: "The thing about swimming for me is that it provides a way to stay positive, and to come together as a community. I think those ideas compliment everything that the LGBT community already stands for, and so many of the people we interviewed said the same thing—placing swimming and their attraction to the water as a form of escape, or something comforting. You can tune out the rest of the world. It is a means of working through struggle, which is ultimately what brought this team together and why we have a story to tell now."

Light in the Water premieres on Logo tonight, July 19 at 8pm! Watch the trailer in the video below.

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Brendan Haley