The day in gay sports -- very cool and very ugly

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Three remarkable news stories today show the beautiful and the ugly side of LGBT issues in sports, and suggest that, despite the remaining bigotry, there's hope.

We'll start with the inspirational: The Chron reports on Gabrielle Ludwig, a 51-year-old trans woman who has fought her way to acceptance as a player on the Mission College women's basketball team. She's endured the sort of rotten, painful slurs that Jackie Robinson put up with as the first black player in Major League Baseball, but she's won over her teammates and sent an important message to young people all over the world:

Since I decided to go out to the media, there's been a larger purpose - to help the LGBT community and all those people who have lost children because they struggle with, 'God, am I gay, am I straight, am I transgender? F- it, let's put a rope around my neck and hang myself in the garage,' " Ludwig said. "If I can be a role model, and just let go of some of that burden, then what I do out here and the beating that I take from people in the stands ... it's worth it."

Go Gabrielle.

And then we go to the NFL, where team execs at the "combine" -- where scouts and coaches check out college players headed for the draft -- are asking not-at-all-subtle questions about sexual orientation.

In a normal workplace (and the NFL isn't remotely normal, as a workplace or anything else) asking a job applicant if he "likes girls" would be blatantly illegal. In pro football, it's apparently tolerated, because the top brass in the NFL still can't come to terms with their responsibility to prevent homophobia.

Everyone knows there are gay NFL players. And it's only a matter of time before someone comes out. When that happens, the league has a repsonsibility to prevent the kind of shit that Gabrielle Ludwig is going through.So far, not so good.

Now for the hope: While everyone's talking about the Obama administration's amicus brief on same-sex marriage, an equally interesting brief has gotten lost. Two NFL players -- yes, two players in the same league that is asking people if they like girls -- have filed their own amicus brief, arguing that, as professional sports figures, they have a responsibility to stand up for the rights of all people to marry:

Under all the bad behavior that makes the news, male professional sports for far too long have harbored bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice—with respect to both race and sexual orientation," the brief reads. "We are just beginning to see progress with regard to the issue of sexual orientation.

They say exactly what Ludwig says:

If a Pro Bowler treats a teammate as being an equal who is worthy of his friendship and respect because that other person is a good friend who places the team before himself, then high schoolers in Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania,California, and Minnesota will not—cannot—miss that example. If that Pro Bowler speaks out publicly and kindly, kids will hear it and feel it. Kids who are already dealing with everything youth throws at them will know they can treat others as friends and equals, and those others will know they are equal and that, without question, it is better to be themselves than to be hurt.

So a handful of NFL players are supporting marriage equality and speaking out. They've opened the last closet door a crack. And, like the debate over same-sex marraige, this is only going in one direction.

 

Comments

Allowing men to compete in women's sports is going to skew the results. Co-ed ultimate frisbee or beach volleyball is fine; co-ed NFL is a non-starter.

It's the same issue in the military where the women are kept away from combat.

The fact that there are probably a few butch dykes in SF that could kick the ass of an ageing gay white liberal guy doesn't change that.

Distinct leagues will persist for men and women and, where someone's gender is dubious or indeterminate, then the "duck rules" applies - it the athlete if 6 foot 6, as this "woman" was, then it's a guy.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 10:41 am
LOL

did you miss this then? 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/us/pentagon-says-it-is-lifting-ban-on-...

The times are changin' hon, try to keep up. 

Posted by marke on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 10:44 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 10:52 am

Not a word about the Olympics trying to ban greco roman wrestling?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 10:56 am

The Olympic Commission decided that wrestling might turn the participants into homosexuals.

Posted by Chromefields on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:13 am

Uh, isn't half of the point of the Summer Olympics one two week long soft core gay porn showcase? I mean, Peter Waterfield and Tom Daley, HELLO?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:20 am
LOL

If they were real men, they'd be wrasslin' nekkid.

Posted by Chromefields on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:28 am

Transsexual or not - that's old to be on the court. Sounds like someone's REALLY trying to recapture their youth.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 11:49 am

Does a 51 year old really have nothing better to do with their life?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

Some people are asking WHY a 51 yr old woman would want to play basketball..... Because she's a man, and can't help it. There are inherent activities and thoughts that you can't surgically remove. Sorry if that pains Miss Gabrielle but it's the truth. I have a TG friend (male to female) that gets into conversations with a bunch of couples, and never ever talks to the women about mundane "women stuff"...."SHE" is always into sports, politics, etc. Things we women have no use for....LOL. But my point is, I have nothing against anyone being who they want to be. Nature gave men stronger bodies, so therefore they should not be allowed on an all-womens team that competes professionally or for a medal. Otherwise, we should co-ed every event and let the best (wo)man win.

Posted by SFAnnie on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

little too aggressively to be more male than most males, or more female than most females. it's called overcompensation and is a classical psychological condition.

For that matter, the same goes for anyone who isn't happy with themselves and reality, and do to xtreme lengths to try and bend reality to their whim, rather than practice acceptance and tolerance.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

you sound personally threatened -=- which HEY is a "classical psychological condition called overcompensation."

Posted by marke on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

people try just a little too hard in these situations.

You could at least features some TS/TG's who are understated in their adopted roles, rather than those who flaunt it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

That's really very sad, and smacks of you having no confidence in your stated positions.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

we're on a spree deleting comments that violate our policy. feel free to criticize me all you want.

Posted by marke on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

posts in threads that you personally initiate on a gay/tranny theme. You seem unduly sensitive about those.

The rest, nothing, ever. You're a single issue censorer, and entirely transparent.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

I encourage you to spend more time lurking. It helps our capture rate.

Posted by marke on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 2:38 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

attempts to brand himself as the defender of all things trans and the smiter of hateful attacks against our fellow trans brothers and sisters. He is a hallowed saint in the church of trans - his countenance a regular fixture in trans living spaces around the globe. Without Marken - we are nothing.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 02, 2013 @ 12:51 pm