Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


Lesbian excels as sports official
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

The tattoo on her right ankle—a zebra with a whistle around its neck—is a fitting tribute to how Julie Colwell has meshed her passion into her profession.

Julie Colwell, 52, an open lesbian who lives in north suburban Lincolnwood and has been a teacher at Evanston Township High School (ETHS) for 30 years, also is a high-ranking, top-tiered (certified) amateur sports official in the Illinois.

Colwell officiates multiple sports, including volleyball (boys and girls), basketball (girls) and softball (fast- and slow-pitch). She is one of the few females who has officiated key high school state tournament games in volleyball (boys and girls) and basketball (girls).

Sports officiating at high-level high school games/matches is male-dominated, but that hasn't slowed Colwell's drive and determination to excel on the fields of play.

"Officiating is all about customer service, social relationships," said Colwell, who was born in Fargo, N.D., and was a two-sport athlete (field hockey and softball) at Western Illinois University. She still plays softball and golfs, and recently picked up running. Colwell previously has played organized basketball and volleyball.

Her officiating career also has also led Colwell to the court for women's college basketball games. Plus, Colwell has umpired both the predominantly male Gay Softball World Series and the Women's Softball World Series.

"Being able to umpire my peers at the highest level is great, and I really cherish those weeks," of the World Series, she said. Colwell was in San Diego in August for the women's Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA) annual World Series.

She has been a softball umpire for 12 years—and an officiating teacher for nine years, literally.

Colwell teaches a sports officiating class at Evanston, which has received extensive local mainstream media coverage over the years.

"I feel strong that female athletes need to see female officials," said Colwell, who is a mentor to several younger, up-and-coming officials.

Often, she brings tales from her officiating career into the classroom.

"As I tell the kids [in class,] sports officiating is a great way to make some money and give back to sports," she said. "I've had many highlights from the sports officiating class. One was a student who went on to the University of Arizona. He wrote me [from college] to say that he was hired to officiate [the school's] intramural sports. He was the only freshman hired; the others were juniors and seniors. Another time, a University of Michigan student told me that he was [assigned] to umpire high school freshmen baseball games—I could see the pride in his face as he was telling me."

Colwell also teaches health-wellness education at Evanston, which includes discussions on sex education, nutrition, drug use, stress management and more. About 20 fellow ETHS teachers are her former students. One of her former students is going to be a grandmother.

So, does it feel like 30 years?

No, she said. "I don't feel like I'm 52," Colwell said.

Colwell wears a No H8 bracelet in the classroom and has never hidden her sexual orientation. Being out has never been an issue, she said.

Colwell, in fact, started Evanston's gay-straight alliance about 15 years ago.

"If kids come up and ask questions, they get me; I have my heart on my sleeve, so they get an open and honest answer," she said.

Her health education class includes discussions on bullying.

"I firmly believe in equality across the board," Colwell said. "Part of our teacher training the first two days [of classes] included talking about LGBT issues, and how do you deal with that in the hallway and in the classroom.

"Thankfully, our culture at Evanston Township is very inclusive.

"I think every school has some issues [on the LGBT front;] that's probably how it always will be. Explaining same-sex relationships to some—students and faculty—can and probably always will be a challenge."

Colwell, who enjoys traveling and attending concerts in her limited free time, is now a Board member for the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association (CMSA).

"Make your bucket list, and do your bucket list," she said of advice she offers all.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Affinity Community Services: Thanksgiving in times of turmoil 2015-11-29
In the Life: Jamie Fornal 2015-11-25
Determination and skill: Two Chicago women in trades 2015-11-23
Biskupski officially mayor of Salt Lake City 2015-11-18
Couple complete marathon then get engaged 2015-11-18
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame induction held 2015-11-11
SHE100: Providing empowerment through giving 2015-11-11
Affinity Trailblazers celebrate love--and a grant 2015-11-11
Lesbian author recalls time among the Hasidim 2015-11-10
AFC softball couple on relationship, work and PrEP awareness 2015-11-08
LGBT aid station serves and entertains Bank of America marathoners 2015-11-07
Salt Lake City may have lesbian mayor 2015-11-04
Proud to Run 2016 now accepting beneficiary applications 2015-11-04
VIEWS Running through cancer while helping others 2015-11-04
Entertainment news: Sam Smith; Chaz Bono; Jane Lynch; Cyndi Lauper 2015-11-03
MOVIES Out model/actress, director weigh in on 'Liz in September' 2015-11-03
CELEBRATIONS Wedding: Shayna X Kramer and Larissa Sims 2015-10-28
Indy publisher may be first gay pilot to circumnavigate globe in a DC-3 2015-10-28
Northalsted Business Alliance's Ruby Red Relay to benefit AIDS Fdn, Out in Open Sleep Out 2015-10-28
Women's National Soccer Team honored at White House; Abby Wambach retires 2015-10-28
Roxane Gay dishes on Cyrus, Dunham, Watson and Clinton 2015-10-28
BOOKS Eileen Myles: Still brazen after all these years 2015-10-28
Freeskier Kenworthy comes out as gay 2015-10-22
'By Women, for Women' honors leadership 2015-10-21
World news: Athlete comes out; torturers jailed; German law 2015-10-20
Cubs joy spreads across Wrigleyville and throughout Boystown 2015-10-14
'Bridge Called My Back' spans new activist generation 2015-10-13
Latina LGBT CEO chosen for The Limited's fall ad campaign 2015-10-13
Fitness convention draws hundreds 2015-10-13
Pride Action Tank launches to foster collaborative LGBTQ work 2015-10-07
NUNN ON ONE: SPORTS Hit or Bliss: Talking with football player Alli Alberts 2015-10-06
Federation of Gay Games announces 2015 Legacy Awards 2015-10-01
Lambda to 7th Circuit: Law prohibits discrimination against lesbian instructor 2015-09-30
A letter about dying, to my lesbian communities 2015-09-30
Faderman puts history in its place in 'The Gay Revolution' 2015-09-30
THE AMAZON TRAIL Lesbian vacations 2015-09-30
BOOK REVIEW The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle 2015-09-29
PASSAGES Honey Lee Cottrell 2015-09-26
Thousands at Chicago AIDS Run & Walk 2015-09-26
Center on Halsted, CrossTown Fitness offer free community total body classes 2015-09-24

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.