Club Spotlight: Philadelphia Gryphons RFC

Philadelphia Gryphons RFC, gay and inclusive men’s rugby team

As Philadelphia’s sole gay and inclusive men’s rugby team, the Gryphons are committed to building community and encouraging tolerance, all through the sport of rugby.

As the club continues to grow in both in membership and presence, its members are extending their reach beyond the rugby pitch and are working closely within the Philadelphia’s LGBT organizations and resources to drive social activism and engender acceptance.

Philadelphia Gryphons' History

In January of 2003, ten players from the Gotham Knights RFC and four members from the Washington Renegades RFC visited Philadelphia in order to generate interest in the “greatest sport in the world!”

The initial response was overwhelming. In order to meet the demands of players interested in joining a local rugby club, the fourteen friends came together to form the Philadelphia Gryphons RFC. The Gryphons became the first men’s rugby club in the Greater Philadelphia area established to invite members from traditionally under-represented groups, particularly gay men and men of color.

In April of 2003, the team traveled together to Washington DC to watch a rugby match between two International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB) teams: the Washington Renegades and the Boston Ironsides. After the match, the Gryphons were able to make contact with the other clubs and, as a group, demonstrate that Philadelphia was going to have an IGRAB team in the future.

Finally in May, the newly-named Gryphons established themselves as players in the IGRAB world. 

Philadelphia Gryphons Host Gay & Inclusive Clubs for Annual Tournament

This past May, the Gryphons hosted nine rugby clubs from around the country for the second biennial Colonial Cup. Nearly 300 rugby players from around the eastern U.S. participated in the tournament, which strives to strengthen the growing network of gay and inclusive rugby teams across the globe.

"It's an honor to host these players for a weekend of competition and camaraderie. Rugby is, at its core, a sport that unites its players across cultures and borders, regardless of age, race, and in our case, sexual orientation," said Gryphons President Ray Fritz about the 2017 Colonial Cup. "This [tournament] serves to show that we are all brothers on the pitch and off the pitch, no matter how intense the competition, at the end of the day."

The Colonial Cup was first held in May 2015 with five teams traveling to Philadelphia to compete. Since then, the event has grown to serve as the regional eastern North American IGR event on off-years of the Bingham Cup, the biennial international gay and inclusive rugby tournament named in honor of fallen 9/11 hero and San Francisco Fog player Mark Bingham.

In addition to the tournament itself, players and fans were welcome to participate in a variety of social events over the course of the weekend, including a Meet & Greet on Thursday evening, a Saturday evening bar crawl, and Sunday closing brunch. The tournament and social events were all meant to continue the solidarity among these teams, who are all members of the International Gay Rugby (IGR) association.

Read about the 2017 tournament »

Where Gryphons is Today

The Gryphons are a true team who support each other on and off the pitch. They host a variety social events including everything from large fundraisers to small casual game nights.

The club is always looking for new members. The Gryphons welcome all: newcomers, experienced players, coaches and fans of all ages, races and sexual orientations.

The Philadelphia Gryphons RFC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All donations (monetary and in-kind) made to the team are tax deductible as allowed by law. Thank you for your help to continue their mission of social activism through furthering the knowledge of rugby and bolstering diversity among its participants. Donate Today! »

Visit the Philadelphia Gryphons team page »
Visit the official Gryphons website »