Topic: The Amazons - a legendary lesbian softball team
The Amazon Softball Club was the first and last lesbian softball club in New Zealand. It was formed in 1977 at a time when lesbians weren’t spoken about publically – they were virtually invisible. The club provided an important opportunity for women who identified themselves as lesbian to meet together and have fun through sport, both on the field and off it.
The club's uniforms and other memorabilia, now in Te Papa’s collection, are full of meaning and symbolism. The name Amazons comes from the mythological Greek all-female warriors, and the club's eye-catching purple uniforms are the international colour of gay pride. Its logo was an important emblem of lesbian pride too. Designed in the 1990s, it consisted of a labrys or two-headed axe, and a purple triangle in front of a capital ‘A’. These are all recognised symbols of lesbian identity worldwide.
At the beginning it wasn’t easy for the Amazons. Some of the other women’s teams refused to play against them. But over time the Amazons teams came to be accepted and respected as a force to be reckoned with. The sexuality of team members became less and less of an issue.
Over the past 30 years the club has carved out a legacy for itself on the sports field. In the 1980s, when it was at its strongest with its largest membership, one team was promoted to the Major Reserves. It became a source of pride for the lesbian community in Wellington.
The club had many supporters and sponsors who rallied behind it and provided funds and encouragement in the early years, dances were held every month by DOODs – Dykes Out Of Debt – and the entry fee went towards local lesbian services including the Amazons.
The final home run
With a falling membership, the club's days were numbered, and it disbanded in 2011. But this could be seen as a positive move. Most lesbians now feel accepted and supported enough to be in other softball teams and don’t feel the need to belong to a special club just for them.