Discrimination | News | Softball | Sports

Bisexual Softball Players Sue After 'Gay World Series' Discrimination


Three bisexual softball players are suing the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance after it deemed them not gay enough to play in the Gay World Series and stripped their team of its second place finish. The lawsuit accuses the organization of violating Washington state anti-discrimination laws.

The Seattle Times reports:

"The three plaintiffs — Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ — played on a team called D2 that qualified for the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, which is organized by the alliance. The alliance's rules say that each World Series team can have no more than two heterosexual players. According to the lawsuit, a competing team accused D2 of violating that rule. Each of the three plaintiffs was called into a conference room in front of more than 25 people, and was asked 'personal and intrusive questions' about his sexual attractions and desires, purportedly to determine if the player was heterosexual or gay, the lawsuit alleges. The alliance has no category or definition for bisexual or transgender people in its rules, the plaintiff's attorney said. At one point during the proceedings, the lawsuit alleges, one of the plaintiffs was told: 'This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.' The alliance ruled the three men were 'nongay,' stripped D2 of its second-place finish and recommended that the three players be suspended from participating in the World Series for a year, according to the suit."

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is assisting the three plaintiffs with their lawsuit.

Top photo: "Steven Apilado (kneeling, second from right), Jon Russ (standing, first player from left in front row), and LaRon Charles (standing, center player in front row) with their team during the 2007 season."

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  1. Well.. this is something you don't usually see.

    Come on guys, let the Bi boys play too.

    Posted by: ravewulf | Apr 21, 2010 12:04:14 PM

  2. UGH! Sexuality is about SELF-identification. If you have straight guys willing to identify as gay to play sports with gay guys as they would with any other guy then you have PROGRESS. Tolerance and acceptance should not be punished.

    Posted by: Kuhnsy | Apr 21, 2010 12:10:25 PM

  3. I hope this lawyer is next going to sue for the straight guys who want to play in a lesbian league. Somehow I don't expect it.

    Straight male entitlement. ::sigh::

    Posted by: greg | Apr 21, 2010 12:16:31 PM

  4. Another example of bi-sexual discrimination by the community. Some people need to get off their pedestals and really look at what's important. We are all in this fight together, in family discrimination is not the way to move forward.

    Posted by: Laizden | Apr 21, 2010 12:16:54 PM

  5. Not having seen the rule book, but based on the article, it states "no more than two HETEROSEXUAL players." Bisexual is not heterosexual. I played softball in this league for 7 years and whether the team violated the rules or someone is trying to screw the team over, I am not surprised. Poor sportsmanship which ever is the truth.

    Posted by: kelehe | Apr 21, 2010 12:24:35 PM

  6. If three gay men were marched in front of any committee and asked to describe their sexual lives so that they may be disqualified from a game or liesure activity, we would be horrified. Why haven't we learned anything and why do continually hurt others in ways we wouldn't let ourselves be?

    Posted by: matt | Apr 21, 2010 12:25:28 PM

  7. Wow, who the fuck decided to o this to the bi'?


    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 21, 2010 12:26:57 PM

  8. This will not be a popular opinion, I'm sure, but if membership on th eteam is based on being gay or straight, it stands to reason that they are going to be asked "personal and intrusive" questions. I mean, how lese are you going to determine that??

    As for letting them play, it says only two can be heterosexual. I saw nothing in the alliance's rules stating how many can be bisexual or non-gay. The alliance needs to clarify their rules or let them play.

    Posted by: Gary | Apr 21, 2010 12:28:58 PM

  9. It's sad when after all the bitching about and fighting against discrimination we do, some of us are shown to be nothing more than hypocrites.

    Posted by: Joey Watkins | Apr 21, 2010 12:32:43 PM

  10. On the issue of excluding straights: I know there are reasons for having these rules, but frankly, they make me uncomfortable, and I wouldn't want to be part of a league that endorsed them.

    A friend and I tried to start a couple of gay amateur hockey teams. We did alright for recruiting, but when people invariably called off sick, we didn't really have subs, so we started recruiting some of our straight buddies. Playing became a lot more fun.

    There may be valid reasons for excluding straights, and I certainly support the formation of gay athletic teams. But I would never want to turn away straight guys who want to play in a gay team. That's passing by something valuable.

    Posted by: Zach | Apr 21, 2010 12:51:44 PM

  11. In their rules they define heterosexual as: "Heterosexual – means having a predominant sexual interest in a member or members of the opposite sex.". The word bisexual does not appear in their Instruments of Governance. In their definitions if you are predominatly interested in the same sex you are gay, opposite sex you are heterosexual. I guess that is why they questioned the men who identified as bisexual, to determine if the person is more interested in members of their same sex or opposite sex.

    Posted by: travshad | Apr 21, 2010 12:52:28 PM

  12. Yes -- if they're not heterosexual, they should play.

    This is why I am sad we lost the word "QUEER" after the 90's. These little letters -- L G B T etc -- are identity statements, representing a minority of like 5% of the population.


    Then we have a majority!

    This is what straight legislators soooo concerned about penises in anuses often forget: that all the straight guys and gals who have anal sex, who finger, who use a condom, masturbators, dildo-and-vibrator users, and people who pull out, are all sinners and ALL QUEER!

    We have a majority!

    Posted by: Strepsi | Apr 21, 2010 12:52:46 PM

  13. Oh, now they are playing hardball!

    Not everything is a federal case.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 21, 2010 2:06:50 PM

  14. These guys should never have had to justify their sexuality at all. Why should the league be asking people these really personal questions? There lots of people out there who are into both guys and girls. Sometimes takes people a long time to come out, and even then who wants to describe their full sexual history to a bunch of strangers? And even beyond that, if gay-friendly straight guys want to play, why should the league say they can't?

    Posted by: Z | Apr 21, 2010 2:52:22 PM

  15. This is retarded all around. Softball is for losers to begin with, but this asshats are suing because they were barred from a GAY world series (GAY, not bisexual)? Hilarious fucktards.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 21, 2010 3:37:53 PM

  16. Back years ago, I remember various gay people I knew saying how no-one was really bi. Though I'm queer (not gay - even before this nonsense, I balked at the word gay, sensing it was becoming a very bourgeois term) and only boy-identified (well, mainly - the occasional butch is cute), I said: 'What if we were to say you're not really gay?' I was told that was silly. I replied that (a) that's what I heard when I first came out (apparently my taste in music, my clothes, my appearance, etc., precluded my being 'gay' in their eyes) and (b) that wasn't really an answer. If THEY got to declare their identity and not be questioned, then bisexuals should be able to as well. No-one gets 50% bashed.

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 21, 2010 4:54:25 PM

  17. Oh, and on the 'personal and intrusive question' tip, what if someone identifies as gay or lesbian (or queer) but, as would have been the case with me, didn't have sex for many years after coming out? Would I be excluded? I got excluded from assisting on a phone help line for that reason, even though I certainly knew about issues. I was even told I had to have sex in order to actually be 'out', and no matter how many times I explained that I only believed in sex in the context of a relationship (which I still do), I was told I couldn't really be gay if I didn't have sex (well, I guess we should have told any callers who were calling who hadn't had sex that). What-ever (and, again, another reason I rejected the term 'gay', and still use 'queer' (I don't recall hearing the term expiring)).

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 21, 2010 4:58:43 PM

  18. They CHEATED!! They did not follow the rules. Everyone else did.......

    They are Cheaters and that is the bottom line. No one else cheated. Stop defending Cheaters.

    They knew the rules and CHEATED. They got caught. BOTTOM LINE.

    Posted by: softballer | Apr 21, 2010 5:47:25 PM

  19. Two questions:

    (1) Why is sexuality even a question? It's as ridiculous as gender in mainstream sport. There should be no limitations based on gender or orientation to join any team, or play in any league, in any sport. You can have a league FOR gay people, but it cannot be LIMITED to gay people.

    (2) How is it that the team gets all the way to second place before someone decides they are ineligible? It's just like the Caster event. If you're that asleep at the switch, you forfeit your right to enforce that rule.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 21, 2010 6:23:53 PM

  20. There are black leagues...there are hispanic world series....there should be allowed to be gay world series. There is nothing wrong with having rules in any of them.

    To the poster who says why: Clearly you do not play. It is there to allow gay people to play and have fun in a safe environment. 95% of all of the other leagues out there are not safe for gay people to be gay and play the game. That is a stone cold fact. When we play in straight leagues we are ridiculed and have received death threats for simply being gay. and YES this is real and does happen ALL of the time. Softball is not exactly the sport of the sophisticated. This is reality....I have played and been threatened time and time again in straight leagues and tournaments. Word travels that the gay guys beat you even if the gay thing is not mentioned or seen and retaliation happens. Now...think about the guys who are a little on the effminate side....which there is nothing wrong with. You put one of them out there and they get there ass kicked. NAGAAA provides a place for everyone to have fun and not care about their sexuality. This is very important.

    So yes..it is cool for there to be ONE league in the entire country where gay people can be themselves without any fear of danger.

    Posted by: softballer | Apr 21, 2010 6:35:29 PM

  21. And number 2 ---- The rules on protesting a team were followed. Again.......why do you people defend CHEATERS?

    Posted by: softballer | Apr 21, 2010 6:37:39 PM

  22. Before this becomes a human rights discussion, think about this. If you play in a Co Ed league there are rules that state how many girls have be on the field. If you don't like the rules you don't play in a Co Ed league. Every league has some sort of restriction/rule, that is why these leagues exist! NAGAAA was created to promote LGBT athletics and that is why it exists. Plus the 3 guys suing are married with kids or had their girlfriends with them at the World Series and were not harassed. They got caught cheating and should just leave it at that. Don't forget there were 2 other guys in question too. Come on, we all know they had 5 straight guys playing. Not that these guys are better than a lot of the gay athletes in "A", but this rule/restriction has been in place for years and heading to each gay world series every team is reminded. Why sue know?!?! Because you got caught!!

    Posted by: DoubleJ | Apr 21, 2010 7:33:04 PM

  23. @softballer

    look up the word bi, it means attracted to both men AND women. On a similar note, don't tell me you've never met a gay man who's had wife and kids--or a straight man with a "roommate"/boyfriend on the side.

    do you really think these guys would get involved in a lawsuit, get a big ol' gay lawfirm involved, have this mess all over the news because they're trying to cover up cheating? also as @Randy points out, it looks really suspicious that they only got challenged right when they reached the top.

    Posted by: Paul | Apr 21, 2010 7:45:56 PM

  24. Why shouldn't a league/team be able to choose its own criteria for membership? Is it always automatically discrimination? Is gay or lesbian only space automatically discrimination? Of course not, as bigotry toward these people exists. They might be bi, but they cash in on a wealth of heterosexual privilege given their wives and whatnot, so in that regard, who gives a fuck how they identify? That creates some legitimate hostility, and justifies exclusionary practice. And to you "labels are so yesterday," jerks...try gettin' married or serving openly in the armed services, or, if you live in a state without workplace antidiscrimation laws, appealing termination....HURRRR DURRRRR...idiots. Labels matter and are real just as much as discrimination exists. We'll be in a post-label world when discrimination on the basis of groundless prejudice no longer has a tangible impact on people's lives.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 21, 2010 8:05:27 PM

  25. Hey Softballer.. you are right.. they cheated. They didnt follow the rules. But guess what.. the Association BROKE THE LAW! They discriminated against someone because of their sexual orientation.. and in Washington State.. that's illegal.
    I dont defend they fact that they cheated.. but I do welcome their lawsuit as it points an ugly finger back at the LGBT community when it comes to discrimination. If we want all inclusiveness.. then we have to be the first ones to practice it.
    Yes, participating in a straight league as openly gay has risks that dont make it much fun and can be outright dangerous. But.. In a gay league, why would we turn away people who support us and are our allies?? Seems to me we have been tossing alot of stones without any regard to our own glass house!

    Posted by: Trace | Apr 21, 2010 9:02:35 PM

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