Q&A: Bridge Brigade Members on Inclusivity and the LGBTQIA+ Community  

It’s been a year since the Bridge Brigade was established in the Bay Area. On June 1, 2023, the Independent Supporters Group was announced for fans in the Bay to join and support the new National Women’s Soccer League expansion team, Bay Football Club.  

Since then, Bridge Brigade has continued to grow in the Bay, leading the chants at PayPal Park’s supporter section and showing their support on the road and at home with their watch parties.  

Can you talk about the diversity of the Bridge Brigade? 

Audra Orr: “The inclusivity, the diversity, and I said this is the group for us because that was what they preached first and foremost was the diversity and inclusivity and when we came to the very first tailgating, I felt it immediately we walked in and felt at home.”  

Kali Gabler: “Everybody here will welcome you with open arms no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from this is a place that is welcoming.   

How do you feel about the value that Bay FC holds that this is a club for everyone? 

Tony Busco: “Here it’s like you get a big variety of people from you know like LGBTQ spectrum as well as different, just walks of life that you kinda like take for granted in the Bay Area and so it’s nice to have everyone kinda coming together and you can kind of get the diversity you might not encounter otherwise.”  

What impact do teams like Bay FC having a pride celebration have on young soccer players?  

Audra Orr: “This is something that’s important to us and it should be important to everyone in our community, and we set the standard, we live by it and this is what we set for everyone to follow and we love everyone and everyone is welcome here. And that’s important, it sets a standard for our children to follow.”  

Why is it important to celebrate pride as a football club? 

Kali Gabler: “To be around other people that are like me and to feel so welcome, it’s just, it’s amazing and it’s so close to home that it just makes me feel safe and welcome. I’m so grateful because I know that not every place is like this and so I just feel incredibly grateful to live in this area that celebrates us.”  

How important are events like the Pride game for not just the LGBTQ+ community but to everyone?  

Tara Hernandez: “You know there are those who would say that we’ve come so far. Why are we still fighting? I’m old enough that I remember when I still had to hide. I remember when I couldn’t get married, I remembered a time that I didn’t think I could ever be a parent. It will always be important to remember for all of us. We’re here, we’re part of it, we’ve helped carry it when maybe it wasn’t as popular, in our own small way and now I think it’s important that we remind ourselves how much we’ve contributed and that we should enjoy the fruits of our labors.”  

To anyone who may be considering but hesitant about attending a game celebrating pride, what message would you send to them? 

Tara Hernandez: “I can’t imagine a more fun night to come. There will be scarves and feather boas and cheering and it won’t matter who you are or where you came from or what your inclination is or what your identity is because we’re gonna be looking for Asisat and Racheal to score goals.”  

Kali Gabler: “Every night is pride night at Bay FC, and so that one night of specific extra celebration is going to be so magical.”  

Audra Orr: “Cheer for everyone. It doesn’t matter your race, your sexual orientation, your gender identity, your religion. It doesn’t matter. We’re here because we love soccer, and we accept everyone and let’s just cheer our team on and be one together for this one night.”  

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