NAGAAA Gay Softball League Defends Itself in Open Letter

The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) is defending itself against a widely publicized suit brought against them by three bisexual softball players and the NCLR alleging they discriminated by stripping the players' team of their second place finish in the Gay World Series, after discovering the players were bisexual.

D2 Writes NAGAAA, in part:

"At its core, NAGAAA is a grass roots organization dedicated to providing a safe environment for gays and lesbians. We have no paid staff; we do not have large sums of money, nor a pool of talented lawyers. It saddens all of us that the NCLR, whom we view as members of our community, have chosen this destructive path. NAGAAA represents a diverse population, and as such there are legitimate differences of opinion among us. However, the action by the NCLR has forced these differences into the court system, rather than allowing our members the right to define who and what we are. One thing is clear, if NCLR is successful, the enormous monetary damages they seek will put our very existence in jeopardy. Regardless of the outcome, everyone loses here. There are no winners We are just at the beginning of this difficult saga. The Board is committed to representing our organization to the best of our abilities. We are guided by the framework of our organizational charter, as written by you, our members. We commit to keeping you informed as this process continues. We believe that once the facts are discovered a very different story emerges from that which has been reported, and we hope that NCLR will join with us."

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  1. Since when have bisexuals not been "members of our community"? It's disgusting.

    Posted by: Jon B | Apr 23, 2010 10:06:35 AM

  2. My legal perspective is: A private organization that derives no public funding is not subject to anti-discrimination laws. They can discriminate against whoever they want, if they're a private organization.

    I am a gay man, and I've been a member of gay sports teams that have welcomed gay and bisexual individuals. I would never be a member of an association that actively discriminated like this. And I don't agree with this decision to strip a team of its 2nd place trophy because members weren't purely gay. (Ever heard of the Kinsey scale?) But I think legally they have the right to do it.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 23, 2010 10:18:32 AM

  3. Part of their suit alleges that the hearings were conducted in a manner inconsistent with the bylaws and were intrinsically humiliating.

    Posted by: Anyway | Apr 23, 2010 10:49:58 AM

  4. First of all, I think the NAGAAA rule is in need of major revision and they should have never put these guys before a board to defend themselves. However, I understand why the rule was originally put in place - to make sure the softball league is accessible and enjoyable to the GLBT community and it's supporters.

    I played against this team in the World Series. They showed up stacked with players who wanted nothing to do with our community. They were there to win and were completely disrespectful in doing so. Several of the guys who claimed to be bisexual were doing so simply to qualify for the tournament. I'd never ask someone to defend their sexual identity, but their actions made it very clear they weren't being honest.

    Instead of basing player qualifications on sexual identity, they should base it on involvement in the community/league. For example, restrict the tournament to players with 2 or more years experience in the league. Or require some type of community service before a team can qualify.

    In the end, this lawsuit is destructive and unnecessary. If these guys really are a part of our larger community, they should work with the organization to bring about the needed policy changes. Financially crippling a positive community organization helps no one.

    Posted by: James C | Apr 23, 2010 11:01:39 AM

  5. From the press reports, it sounds like these guys worked hard to convince the league to change this stupid rule, but the league said no way. Suing the league was their only option.

    Posted by: Z | Apr 23, 2010 11:21:16 AM

  6. If we are equal, why do gay people need special leagues?
    Being gay isn't a lifestyle.
    Are there special leagues for left-handed people?
    Are there separate leagues for people who are colour blind?
    We are either equal or we're not.

    Posted by: Lars | Apr 23, 2010 11:25:57 AM

  7. I have serious problems with that statement about choosing who to associate with. I'm Black and Gay and a whole lot of people don't want to associate with either, so, I don't want to have that coming from my own.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 23, 2010 11:30:50 AM

  8. James C's statement brought to mind both the Danny Almonte case in the Little League World Series a few years back but in that particular case, the little League had a definite age rule and the means to verify Alomonte's true age.

    I'm also reminded a little of when high school sports teams (mostly public schools) are accused of recruiting players out of their properly zoned (or whatever the local terminology for that is) schools in order to win and to maintain high school sports dynasties (and this happens a lot).

    Could that have gone on here? Perhaps.

    Now never mind the humiliating questioning and interrogation of the 5 players, it seems that 2 of those player gave precisely the same answer and the white one was judged to be gay (for the purposes of the tournament) and the black one was judged to be straight and, therefore disqualified.

    Is that right? Hell no.

    Is it legal? I guess we'll see.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 23, 2010 11:41:04 AM

  9. I'm rather tired of people hiding by "just my opinion" in order to be bigoted. Cheers to NCLR for confronting our own about our own bigotry and prejudice. There's MUCH work to be done here, and we will never get equality if we don't treat each other equally.

    Posted by: Jeffrey Taylor | Apr 23, 2010 11:45:11 AM

  10. @James C

    So, let me get this straight... because they didn't want to socialize and focused on winning, they were in the wrong? Hell, I am full-on gay and want nothing to do with the community and socializing. I keep up on news, work and stay home with my husband. The community simply confusing and often vicious. Why subject oneself to things you don't like?

    Sorry, but sounds a lot more like typical gay discrimination against bisexuals. You know, those guys many gays are saying are just in a phase and are really gay? Besides, how do you prove your sexuality? Again, by asking questions someone NOT into the community aspect can't answer? My understanding is that sexuality is self defined. You are what you say you are.

    Posted by: Lael | Apr 23, 2010 11:48:26 AM

  11. Aren't we the Lesbian Gay BISEXUAL Transgendered community? We should be INCLUSIVE of our bi/straight allies.


    Posted by: Chuy | Apr 23, 2010 11:57:39 AM

  12. The league should allow any team that is GLBT friendly to join, even if it's all str8 people. Discrimination is wrong, and we have to act in a manner that is consistant with how we want to be treated.

    I was at the world series. I think these guys were disqualified because they came with players who were too good for the league level they were in.

    But if it's really a case of anti-Bi discrimination, then the League deserves a good wrist slap.

    Posted by: Frozen North | Apr 23, 2010 12:16:31 PM

  13. This is so disturbing and makes me even more disgusted with the softball organization. I hope NAGAAA loses membership for defending their discriminatory practices.

    I also love how they only use "gay and lesbian" in the letter. Just a couple of days ago their website said LGBT on the homepage. Guess the B and T don't count anymore for them--how convenient.

    Posted by: Jules | Apr 23, 2010 12:41:25 PM

  14. @FrozenNorth

    Which is why I brought up Danny Almonte.

    Do you think anyone would have given a shit about Danny Almonte's age if he wasn't their ace star pitcher (who pitched a perfect game) and if they weren't in the Little League World Series?

    That's why James C's post seems quite disingenious.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 23, 2010 12:46:38 PM

  15. NAGAAA makes me very uncomfortable when using language such as "we have the right to define who we are". Very reminiscent of hetero groups trying to exclude gays.

    According to the lawsuit, NAGAAA was asked to change the policy, and that request was refused by the board. NAGAAA claims to be inclusive and diverse, yet the questions put forth to the five players in question were, if believed, geared at making a distinction between "gay" and "not gay". And the questioning was done, again if believed, in a very hurtful, disrespectful, and totally unpleasant manner.

    Maybe it is a "private organization", and in that case, as what happened with the Boy Scouts, they'll win the battle but ultimately lose the war as more and more gay-friendly and bi-friendly folk look for another place to play, donate to other more inclusive organizations, and stop supporting the NAGAAA until it realizes that it's laboring under a false dichotomy.

    If the Gay Games can allow straight men and women to compete, why is this such an issue for NAGAAA?

    Posted by: DR | Apr 23, 2010 1:03:51 PM

  16. What possible questions could you ask to decide if someone was "gay" or "not gay"? The whole thing sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit. Did they hook them up to a lie detector? Give them a sex quiz? Make them name the last twenty people they had sex with? It's so ripe for parody it's just too too easy.

    I used to play club softball (straight) and have never played on an all-gay team. But even in the team was "stacked" as has been stated in the comments, live with it. Happens in every sport, everywhere, every time. Some people just don't go home with trophies. But seriously...disqualifying teams because they have bisexual players?! Really?! Or even straight players?!

    This is sounding like the thru-the-looking-glass version of the Repulican party. Can't you just wait to see what's going to happen when Fox News gets hold of this story?

    Posted by: BART | Apr 23, 2010 1:23:58 PM

  17. The players said they were bisexual, so what. They very well could be lying and with girlfriends and wives in the stands the league determined they were lying. The league made the right decision.

    Did you know NAGAAA has a WOMEN'S ONLY league but not an equivalent one for men instead the one with mostly men is open to women? The NCLR obviously has zero problem with that because it advantages women.

    I hope this lawsuit does destroy the NAGAA because if it survives I know that heterosexuals will flood the league and gay people will be pushed out.

    I am completely against the NCLR for doing this. They are devils. Gay men are discouraged from playing sports growing up because of the hostile, anti-gay atmosphere. That is why this league was set up. Now we have devilish, meddlesome lesbians coming in to make sure gay men stay disadvantaged.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 23, 2010 1:32:20 PM

  18. We need to eliminate the all black and all latino, and women leagues, too. Those need to go, as they are clearly bigoted against whites and men.

    Anyway, idiots, a man doesn't play softball...and that's your george will moment of truth brought to you by reality.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 23, 2010 1:35:55 PM

  19. Wow, Bill, just let the sexism flow, now will you?

    Woman = evil is right out of the book of Genesis for the hardcore Bible freaks.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 23, 2010 1:51:51 PM

  20. Yes, and church, company, and age restricted leagues have to go. Co-ed leagues that mandate a certain number of women and/or men on the field at a time -- they're out too.

    But let's not stop at softball. What's this nonsense about having to be a Christian to be a member of the Masons? Why are only black people officers in the NAACP?

    People are equal but not the same. As such,
    the 1st Amendment guarantees the freedom of association. Private organizations get to determine who can join and who cannot.

    Now you may think the NAGAAA's policy is screwed up. (I think much of what they do is screwed up, but for other reasons entirely.) Fine. Don't join them, don't support them.

    Posted by: Paul | Apr 23, 2010 1:58:01 PM

  21. @Bill

    way to go on hating not just on bisexuals but lesbians too. Looks like you fit in perfectly with NAGAAA.

    Posted by: Jim | Apr 23, 2010 1:59:06 PM

  22. Save that whiny titty baby palaver for joe "I hate jews and let's hug a muslim (islam=religion of peace) terrorist" my god's comments, chitown. Be "open minded" they are.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 23, 2010 1:59:41 PM

  23. WRONG, Chitown Kev, I only said these NCLR members are devish, which they are.

    Jim, we don't know if they really are bisexual or if they made that up so they could play in the gay softball world series.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 23, 2010 2:11:16 PM

  24. @Bill

    Point taken, but then exactly what would the "gay civics literacy test" (to take an idea from the Tea Party convention in Nashville) be?...which James C is more or less proposing.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 23, 2010 2:21:12 PM

  25. And doesn't having heterosexual privilege disqualify you from membership in the lgbt community? Be that whether you're a closeted gay man or lesbian woman married to a member of the opposite sex, or a bisexual man or woman married or dating opposite gender....or a transgender person who passes and gets male privilege and heterosexual privilege (adjust to fit)... Who gives a fuck about attraction and self-identification when tangible rights are on the line? Not me. Until all relationships are actually equal in the law, there is a very big difference in rights between members of our community based on nothing more than orientation or identity.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 23, 2010 2:22:28 PM

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