News | Sports

Why Sports Matter To LGBT Rights Movements

RainbowStadiumChris Geidner and Kevin Lincoln at BuzzFeed today published a lengthy article exploring the behind-the-scenes work being done to make professional sports, including the NBA, the NFL and MLB, more LGBT friendly.

The piece looks at the pro-equality training players are now going through, explains the slow evolution of inclusion in the arena and also does a great job of reminding non-sports fans why sports teams must be a cornerstone in advocacy efforts:

"Leagues, teams and athletes hold the same cultural status that networks, studios or celebrities do — in some cases perhaps even more — and have just as much potential to make the world a safer place for LGBT people," said GLAAD Director of News and Field Media Aaron McQuade. "There are dozens of outlets dedicated to nothing but sports, and those involved with the sports world are some of the most active and influential in social media."

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Comments

  1. Since the hero Mark Bingham, gay rugby player, brought down Flight 93 thereby saving the Capitol building and those inside it, who dares to denigrate the contribution of gay guys and women in sport ?....or in any walk of life ?

    Has America so soon forgotten what it owes to gay heroes like Mark the sportsman ?
    And if the inclusion of gays in sport is slow then shame on the scum-cowards who have obstructed and belittled our absolute demands to equality.
    Shame on the scum who would never have had the balls of a great man like Mark Bingham.......and shame on the small minded scum of NFA NBL who have ever thought less of gay people;
    Evil to him who thinks evil.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Aug 24, 2012 8:35:55 AM


  2. Why is your take on a positive story so negative and angry, JACKFNTWIST?

    What this article says to me is that, as I have observed before, straight men are actually the ones bringing about the eradication of homophobia and changes in the male culture generally, while gay men continue to sit in the shadows, persisting in many cases with a culture of effeminacy that is a product of the past rather than really embracing the future and meeting other men halfway.

    Many, if not most, younger men would like to re-define masculinity in such a way that it emcompasses sexual expression between men......so the opening is there.....but if gay men do not grab the brass ring but instead continue to live in the past, that opportunity may be lost.

    The fact that this story has been on the site for 3.5 hours now, as I type this, but only has one comment, is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

    This kind of development is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than passing laws that cannot be enforced or getting some straight woman "diva" to say something at her concert in favor of gay rights......but whereas stories on those kind of developments routinely get lots of discussion, this one gets ignored (as do almost all other articles relating to sports).

    I don't see any way to interpret that other than to conclude that gay men have been so convinced of their inferior masculinity for so long that they are scared to take the steps needed to re-claim that masculinity....and if they don't figure it out fast, as I say, the opportunity to re-join the world of men--the ONLY way in the long term that we will ever be fully accepted in society--could be lost.

    And I frankly am beginning to wonder how many gay men there really are playing any of these team sports because the number of retired players who have come out is almost as paltry as the zero active players that have come out.

    Really troubling from our side, as encouraging as the changes are that we are witnessing from straight men and from the sports establishment.

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 24, 2012 11:43:50 AM


  3. Gay men do not like to play competitive sports! This is why they have "gay" sports leagues. I read the article on Out Sports by Wade Davis who remarked that he was criticized for being "too aggressive" when he play with the gay leagues. I've personally gone to gay leagues and the overall impression I left with was "oh, you're playing too rough, don't be so aggressive". Sad but true. Sure, there are likely a few gay guys playing in the leagues but the numbers are relatively small. Rick often makes some really crude remarks, but in fact, it's true. Gay men do not like to play competitive sports, they like "gay" sports...not too rough, not to aggressive...

    Posted by: Marty | Aug 24, 2012 12:17:45 PM


  4. Besides fundamentalist religions and the GOP, sports is the last stronghold of homophobia in this society. Sports made a huge difference in fighting racial prejudice. On gay rights, they're coming in almost last.

    I'm glad there are people working to change that, but the leadership organizations of major sports deserve no applause (except maybe for soccer).

    Posted by: BobN | Aug 24, 2012 12:26:23 PM


  5. Bobn, that's because there was a LARGE presence in sports of racial minorities (black, latino)..where is the large presence of GAY men?...

    Posted by: Marty | Aug 24, 2012 12:30:55 PM


  6. and once again the message remains what it has always been - if you want to change things, you need to be the change you want to see.

    you all need to come out. to everyone. no matter how "insignificant"

    what holds us back are the grown-adults who refuse to stand up to be counted.

    so rather than complaining about how everyone else is or isn't doing it, put your money where your mouth is and step up your visibility. to everyone. ever day.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 24, 2012 12:34:57 PM


  7. LK, you know Rick/Jason/Ratbastard isn't a real human being with a life, friends, family, or compassion. He's a bitter troll, sitting alone in either his room or in a cubicle lamenting his lack of true human contact. He's too pathetic and not worth even acknowledging.

    Posted by: MateoM | Aug 24, 2012 1:12:20 PM


  8. LK, you know Rick/Jason/Ratbastard isn't a real human being with a life, friends, family, or compassion. He's a bitter troll, sitting alone in either his room or in a cubicle lamenting his lack of true human contact. He's too pathetic and not worth even acknowledging.

    Posted by: MateoM | Aug 24, 2012 1:12:22 PM


  9. "where is the large presence of GAY men?"

    Sports were divided between teams that accepted blacks and teams that didn't. Leadership decided to integrate. They didn't have to, they chose to lead.

    Today, all they have to do is acknowledge our existence and, slowly, they are, after every other facet of society has. They're followers, not leaders. The fact that owners of many professional teams are hard-core GOP is no coincidence, of course.

    Posted by: BobN | Aug 24, 2012 2:52:30 PM


  10. "Sports were divided between teams that accepted blacks and teams that didn't. Leadership decided to integrate. They didn't have to, they chose to lead."

    You obviously don't know your sports history. Once one franchise chose to admit non-white players, others quickly followed suit. The motivating factor was not the desire to "do the right thing"....no, it was all about winning. Foregoing the exceptional talent of black athletes meant losing which meant having angry fans which meant lost money.

    Same thing happened in college sports. Google the story of how "Bear" Bryant invited an integrated USC team to Alabama to play his segregated team back in 1970......and did so with a purpose.....

    As in most matters, you cannot analogize issues that effect gay men with those that effect racial minorities. They are apples and oranges and this case is no different.

    Some of you continue to be unable to understand that you bring about change by building bridges to people, not by throwing bombs at them.

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 24, 2012 3:25:02 PM


  11. I suppose I'm just wondering when more grown-adults are going to finally grow the pair they pretend they have and COME OUT.

    We have entire sub-groups of our community waiting for everyone else to open the doors for them, and thus the doors aint gettin' opened : if everyone has the same "i don't have to do it, it's too hard, i'll wait for someone else to do it first" mindset then nothing ever gets done.

    we have children coming out. literally, children. teens.
    young people who were never able to "hide" or "blend in" who are utter vanguards - defiantly living visible lives with those targets on their backs.

    and still grown-adults in north america in 2012 give excuse after excuse to NOT HELP THEM.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 24, 2012 3:28:17 PM


  12. fun fact - rick doesn't have the balls to show himself, thus his cowardly @ss is proven wrong, every day, with every post.

    those who can't live openly scream in fury from inside the closet. where he'll die. alone. which is a good thing :)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 24, 2012 3:35:14 PM


  13. I know I'll get crucified for this but...whenever these discussions come up about sports or the military or any other male dominated arena, I'm really starting to lose hope in the belief that gay men can actually COMPETE in these arenas with straight men. It always seems to be the case that "the rules have to be changed for gay guys"...like someone said earlier, "not to rough or aggressive if the gay guy is playing"...why?...I live in NY where you can't sling a dead cat without hititing a gay guy....and I'm struck by the types of gay guys I see. Is it a genetic component?...Of course, we can pull out the "well the masculine ones are hiding so you can't see them, but they're everywhere"...I dunno if I believe that anymore...again the only question is CAN GAY MEN COMPETE WITH STRAIGHT MEN IN A PURELY MALE ENVIRONMENT...I'm beginning to doubt that...the question is why?

    Posted by: Marty | Aug 24, 2012 6:22:09 PM


  14. Marty, you asking that question means you haven't done your homework.

    So, um, do it.

    Helpful Hint - the answer is YES.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 25, 2012 2:50:48 AM


  15. "I'm really starting to lose hope in the belief that gay men can actually COMPETE in these arenas with straight men."

    But there's no need for 'belief' because it's clear that gay and bisexual men already do 'compete' in these arenas. There have always been gay men in the military, and in sports. They might not disclose their sexuality, but they're present.

    "..like someone said earlier, "not to rough or aggressive if the gay guy is playing"..."

    So someone else - curiously, also named Marty - makes an anecdotal statement that there is a 'not too rough' mentality in gay leagues. So what?

    I don't play in a gay league, but I do play intramural American football with a group of guys in which I know that at least three others are gay (out of a team that's +/- 15 generally). All of us are just as rough as the straight guys on the team. That's part of the enjoyment of it.

    To reiterate: worrying about 'measuring up' to straight men is absurd. We already do everything straight men do, with the exception of not being exclusively attracted to women. Stop worrying about fitting into the paradigm and simply do what you love to the utmost degree. Because this is it, and we only have one go at our lives.


    Posted by: Nat | Aug 25, 2012 7:41:25 AM


  16. Aren't we engaging in stereotyping straight involvement in sports? The gay sports leagues allow straights to play on their teams. Straights typically are there because they appreciate the emphasis on fun rather than winning at all costs.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Aug 26, 2012 8:53:59 AM


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