Bisexual Softball Players Sue After ‘Gay World Series’ Discrimination

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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."

Comments

  1. says

    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.

  2. greg says

    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::

  3. Laizden says

    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.

  4. kelehe says

    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.

  5. matt says

    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?

  6. Gary says

    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.

  7. Joey Watkins says

    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.

  8. Zach says

    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.

  9. travshad says

    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.

  10. Strepsi says

    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.

    But traditionally, ANY NON-HETEROSEXUAL-SEX-SOLELY-FOR-THE-PURPOSE-OF-PROCREATION IS QUEER.

    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!

  11. Z says

    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?

  12. TANK says

    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.

  13. Tim says

    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.

  14. Tim says

    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)).

  15. softballer says

    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.

  16. Randy says

    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.

  17. softballer says

    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.

  18. DoubleJ says

    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!!

  19. Paul says

    @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.

  20. TANK says

    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.

  21. Trace says

    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!

  22. says

    I played for Oil Can Harry’s Oilers, in the San Francisco Community Softball League. The C.S.L. was the first Gay sponsored league in the country,with 6 teams. They were originally called The”Gay”C.S.L.,however, they changed their name, because many of the players worked for Fortune “500” companies and feared they could lose their jobs if their names wound up in the gay papers… it was changed. In the 3rd year, when I joined, several teams “recruited” non-gay players who worked in the community or knew players. The pennant became a coveted trophy… and teams began to invite straight players to join them. In 1977, a team made up of mostly non-gay players… The Badlands. The first Gay World Series was held in S.F. and had only 2 teams, one from S.F. and the other from N.Y.,When the Badlands failed to show up for a banquet in their honor… many gay members decided to form a new league. The Gay Softball League, for the 1978 Season. However, the invitation for that year’s Gay World Series went to the C.S.L., There was an incentive for the Championship team… to represent S.F. at the G.W.S. in New York. There were 19 teams vying for the honor. The season began, with Mayor Moscone throwing out the first pitchin front of 2,000 fans. The preamble of the C.S.L. said it welcomed all players who respected all the “lifest Our team had straights, including a City firemen, a doctor, a lawyer and other non-gay professionals. Half way through the ’78 season, a meeting took place in Toronto, and it was decided by the Commissioners from 4 leagues (S.F.abstaining) that a 80% gay-20% straight player rule be put into effect. It should be noted… at the time the invitation went OUT prior to the beginning of the season… there was no quota rule. Also in California, it was a time of Anita Bryant, and the Briggs Initiative on the State ballot, that would fire all gay teachers if it passed. The C.S.L. was known for bringing gays and straights together… the non-gays players brought their parents,girlfriends,wives, children and friends to the games… and each weekend, those games drew hundreds and hundreds of fans. I was the Oil Can Harry’s team representative… and when the Oiler’s won the Pennant… over $25,000 dollars was raised to fly the team to N.Y. and they were accompanied by many of their fans, as well as a “Citation” from Mayor Moscone, praising the team for its diversity and comparing them to the great diversity that made up the City of San Francisco. Our Team played in the annual “Peach-Fuzz” game and the Oiler’s won in front of 8,000 fans at
    Lang Field. However, the team that came in 2nd, called N.Y. to complain about the Oilers, having too many non-gays on their roster. By the time our plane landed in the Big Apple… we were tossed OUT of the tournament. I notified the associated Press and it became a wire service story, and mentioned on Walter Cronkite’s CBS Evening News, Paul Harvey’s national news-radio broadcast and hundreds of cities in the U.S.A.! When the team came back to S.F. there were hundreds of well wishers at the airport to greet us. The following year, the Gay Softball league received the invitation to the Gay World Series. Within a year, that league also had teams with more than 20% non-gay players( including the team that complained about the Oiler’s having too many non-gays). Here it is, more than 30 years later… they are still fighting over the fact that too many straight players are on some team’s rosters. I posted on my blog… http://www.jerrypritikin.blogspot.com images and the complete story of the 1978 season,AS WELL AS THE “CITATION” FROM MAYOR MOSCONE. Please read that… and remember, he was a great friend of our gay community… and a few months later, along with Harvey Milk, he was assassinated.

  23. softballer says

    Paul — Thanks for the lesson…and your wrong. They are not bi…they cheated and want money. If you were not there…than I would drop that argument.

    Trace —- Question then:

    Does that mean that the over 50 leagues should be sued by anyone under 50 who can not play for discrimination? —- The answer is no…because it is ok to have such discriminatory rules in order to protect people.

    Does that mean that co-ed leagues should be sued for having rules about when guys have to bat or how many guys or gals are allowed on a team? No — It does not.

    If you want to argue over the definition of protection than that is fine….but safety is safety….Gay people can play in the gay leagues because it is safe for them there. You take away this rule and all of the sudden within a short period of time the league will become a straight majority because of the competition nature.

    The pool for straight players is much larger than that for gay players…..and that is reality..so there are always going to be a larger pool of straight players to draw from.

  24. softballer says

    Also Trace:

    There is a big difference in terms of the straight guys who support us in the league and those that are soley there to win.

    These guys stuck to their wives and girlfriends and never hung out with the other gay players or teams.

    The majority of the straight guys tend to do so and are loved very much in the gay leagues. So while I understand your thought on that…it was not the case in this situation.

  25. myke says

    Kind of begs the question: what is the standard to determine whether someone is gay or not?

    This happened in my workplace where a guy said he was gay (even though everyone knew he wasn’t) so he could get “protected status” as a federal employee. He did it because he was about to be investigated for falsifying attendance records. Of course, as soon as he “came out” all of the questions about his hours stopped. How could they prove he was not gay? They can’t.

    But it made me think about how people determine someone is gay for anything, like a softball league. To me, it reeks of discrimination to ask questions about someones personal life if they are gay or straight. Of course, the guy from work just used a clever ploy to get out of trouble, and now he is the diversity poster child where I work.

  26. says

    I remember when I was younger(oh, so long ago!)and thought when playing volley ball,I just kept the ball in play, until the other teams started to spike the ball… and then I realized, the game that included competition made it more exciting to play. When most of the gay leagues began… many of the gay players did not know where right field was, and that included some right fielders! I know some gays were mad… because they sat on the bench for most of the games, while straights joined the league. It was at that time… softball became a competitive sport. The team I played on, also played in the S.F. City League. We thought of ourselves as softball players first, and the sexual preference didn’t come into play. In Fact, the gay league became one of the best competitive leagues in the city, and that is why so many straights wanted to play in our league. We were similar to the old Negro Leagues… because at that time…black players could not play in the majors. Today, there are no more black only leagues.
    Some gays felt, that straights did not support the gay bars,thus they should not
    play in a gay sponsored league. But times have changed… and so have the gay leagues.
    It is good, that straight players want to play in our leagues, and I am sure if the gay players wanted to play in straight leagues, they could just as long as they qualified as a player, based on how their stats contributed to a team, as a player on that team. As I look at it… My world is not all gay. When it comes to politics, I do not vote for someone just because they are gay… I vote for the best qualified candidate, and when I play softball, I use the same formula. This is the 21 Century…
    and it’s great to have the best of 2 worlds
    on the field and off the field… and just play ball, without any quota system.

  27. Jason says

    hey – I was disappointed deeply by the attitude among some gay men here.

    My orientation is bisexual (pansexual?), but my activities are mainly gay. Why? Because gay men “generally” understand me better and are more accepting.

    I understand that men who are barely obviously gay might be a stretch, but by some narrow definition of gay you put yourself in a precarious position of not having any members in a baseball league. I personally doubt if all men who identify as gay are fully gay, but that they might be closet bisexuals. There is a silent and pervasive queer bias among some gay men that really sucks (not in the good way).

    Yeah lesbians for helping out the bi guys.

    Oh – yeah – I was married with kids once too – still have kids. That does not cheapen or lessen my commitment to any man in any way.

    Do I hope they win the court case? No – I hope the league decides to allow players to self identify and just get over the ridiculous way this happened. I hope that the guys after making their point just let it go.

  28. gary says

    HOW CAN WE DISCRIMINATE AGAINST BISEXUAL MEN WHEN WE FIGHT FOR THE SAME RIGHTS???!?! HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT? thats exactly like gays being kicked out of the military for being gay, and here we are campaigning for the repeal of DADT. DONT DISCRIMINATE BECAUSE OF WHAT SOMEONES DICK GETS HARD OVER, WHO GIVES A SHIT.

  29. says

    Just one more thought. Back in the early 1950’s I quit a Chicago high school, because I has “those” tendencies,and then it was taboo just to know someone queer(that is what we were called )let alone be gay. A few years ago,I was given a ticket to a stage play a the Walter Payton College Prep High School here in Chicago. In the Playbill, several of the students listed in their “Bio’s”, that they belonged to the Gay/Straight Alliance.

    It’s nice to know that kids no longer have to leave high school just to be themselves. It’s so fine that they have the support of their teachers,parents and friends. It would be wishful thinking if all cities,large and small could provide this great after school program. The same goes for Chicago. Today our city is gay friendly.We have elected openly and qualified Alderman. The Cubs has had “OUT at the Ballpark Day” for 10 years.The Chicago Historical Museum has an ongoing OUT series that showcases the contributions gays made to Chicago and elsewhere. The Gay Pride Parade draws over 400,000 people. We hosted the Gay Games that brought over 100,000 athletes and fans to Chicago.This year The Gay World Series will be taking place bringing with over a hundred teams and their fans coming to Chicago. I hope that the quota system will no longer be in effect.

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