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04/19/2007


Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor Explains Athletes' Silence on Gay Rights in Sochi

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On a SXSW panel discussion about the intersection of LGBT issues and sports, Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor shared his thoughts on the surprising lack of Olympic athletes who publicly spoke out in Sochi about Russia’s anti-gay laws. 

S2_sxswTaylor said he was originally optimistic about using the international spotlight of the Olympic platform to advocate for LGBT equality and pointed to the numerous current and former athletes (and even Rihanna) who embraced his Principle 6 protest campaign before the Games began. Ultimately, however, Taylor said that the dozen or so Olympic athletes who both competed in Sochi and were also backers of his Principle 6 campaign failed to garner the medals that would have provided them with the necessary media coverage to truly make a lasting statement. 

'68 olympicsTaylor also pointed to the iconic 1968 Olympic photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists in protest of racial injustice and lamented the reality that a similar push for gay rights failed to materialize in Sochi. 

But despite the missed opportunity, Taylor said he was looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup in Russia) and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as future opportunities to use an international sporting event to shine a light on discriminatory laws. Qatar remains one of the countries where homosexuality is still illegal

In my skinIn the meantime, Taylor stressed the need for LGBT athletes and their straight allies to stand up and speak out against the culture of homophobia in sport. He pointed to fellow panelist Brittney Griner (who was there discussing her new book In My Skin) as a great example of an athlete who is changing the sporting world just by being out and proud. Ultimately, however, Taylor said there is much work to be done in order to make the sporting world a more comfortable place for LGBT athletes. 

“While the reality is we’ve seen a lot of progress in the sports world over the last few years, we still have a long way to go,” Taylor said. “There are still a lot of closeted athletes. There are still people being bullied, being isolated because of their sexual orientation. We still only have one [gay athlete] in the NBA and maybe one in the [upcoming] NFL.”


I'm Gay, LGBT: The 57 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013

2013

UPDATED!!!

Due to four notable December announcements - from an Australian actor, a professional marksman, an Olympic figure skater, and a beloved morning TV show host, we've updated this list to provide a more complete look back at those who decided to come out in 2013. Enjoy.

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"I would like to consider myself a 'whatever,' Maria Bello said this month in a column in the New York Times, revealing that after two relationships with men (one of which produced a child) she had fallen in love with a woman.

Bello's decision to come out while consciously eschewing a label is a sentiment echoed by many of those on this year's list who felt no need to declare themselves L-G-B or T but still found it necessary for some reason, like Hot97 DJ Mister Cee, to declare their "sexual freedom".

The British Olympic diver Tom Daley told UK talk show host Jonathan Ross, "Everything is all pretty new so I don't see any point in putting a label on it - gay, bi, straight, any of those kind of labels. All that I feel happy about at the moment is that I'm dating a guy and couldn't be happier, it shouldn't matter who I'm dating and I hope people can be happy for me."

Actress Michelle Rodriguez echoed that fluidity in a characteristically blunt manner, responding to people who call her a "lesbo":  "Eh, they're not too far off. I've gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f---ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks."

High school senior Jacob Rudolph went another route, adopting all the labels. He told his high school class, in a video that went viral: "I've been acting every single day of my life. You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not. Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT."

RudolphRudolph later told Thomas Roberts: "I intended to come out as an LGBT and not say bisexual or gay or straight because I feel like those are the labels of the past. Especially in modern times when people are really questioning who they like and what they like I think that saying 'I'm bisexual', it could change in the future, I could be exclusively for one sex or another. So I think that putting it in a more general term like LGBT is extraordinarily appropriate even though I'm not a lesbian or a transgender."

But while the eschewing of labels is a major trend this year, there are still plenty of people happy to declare, "I'm gay" — though fewer are doing it on the front covers of magazines and many more are using more subtle forms of delivery, like the mention of a "husband" or "partner' buried in the third page of a magazine profile, or by posting an Instagram photo with a significant other.

One thing is certain. The act of coming out in 2013 remains as powerful as ever. Though tolerance, acceptance and equality have made great strides this year, there are still many pockets of the U.S., and certainly many countries abroad where LGBT people are forced to hide because being open about their sexuality would threaten their lives and their livelihoods.

Though coming out might be greeted more and more with comments like "yawn", "No disrespect intended, but DUH!", or "who cares?" from the social media peanut gallery, we should applaud the trolls in these cases, because they're one more example that progress is being made.

Who had the 52 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013 (so far)?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay, LGBT: The 57 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013" »


I'm Gay, LGBT, 'Whatever': The 53 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013

2013

UPDATE: See the updated version of this post HERE!

"I would like to consider myself a 'whatever,' Maria Bello said this month in a column in the New York Times, revealing that after two relationships with men (one of which produced a child) she had fallen in love with a woman.

Bello's decision to come out while consciously eschewing a label is a sentiment echoed by many of those on this year's list who felt no need to declare themselves L-G-B or T but still found it necessary for some reason, like Hot97 DJ Mister Cee, to declare their "sexual freedom".

The British Olympic diver Tom Daley told UK talk show host Jonathan Ross, "Everything is all pretty new so I don't see any point in putting a label on it - gay, bi, straight, any of those kind of labels. All that I feel happy about at the moment is that I'm dating a guy and couldn't be happier, it shouldn't matter who I'm dating and I hope people can be happy for me."

Actress Michelle Rodriguez echoed that fluidity in a characteristically blunt manner, responding to people who call her a "lesbo":  "Eh, they're not too far off. I've gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f---ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks."

High school senior Jacob Rudolph went another route, adopting all the labels. He told his high school class, in a video that went viral: "I've been acting every single day of my life. You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not. Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT."

RudolphRudolph later told Thomas Roberts: "I intended to come out as an LGBT and not say bisexual or gay or straight because I feel like those are the labels of the past. Especially in modern times when people are really questioning who they like and what they like I think that saying 'I'm bisexual', it could change in the future, I could be exclusively for one sex or another. So I think that putting it in a more general term like LGBT is extraordinarily appropriate even though I'm not a lesbian or a transgender."

But while the eschewing of labels is a major trend this year, there are still plenty of people happy to declare, "I'm gay" — though fewer are doing it on the front covers of magazines and many more are using more subtle forms of delivery, like the mention of a "husband" or "partner' buried in the third page of a magazine profile, or by posting an Instagram photo with a significant other.

One thing is certain. The act of coming out in 2013 remains as powerful as ever. Though tolerance, acceptance and equality have made great strides this year, there are still many pockets of the U.S., and certainly many countries abroad where LGBT people are forced to hide because being open about their sexuality would threaten their lives and their livelihoods.

Though coming out might be greeted more and more with comments like "yawn", "No disrespect intended, but DUH!", or "who cares?" from the social media peanut gallery, we should applaud the trolls in these cases, because they're one more example that progress is being made.

Who had the 52 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013 (so far)?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay, LGBT, 'Whatever': The 53 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013" »


Professional Bowler Scott Norton Becomes First Openly Gay Male Nominee For ESPY Award

Professional Bowler Scott Norton has become the first openly gay male to be nominated for ESPN's Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Award. Norton, who came out publicly in 2011, has been nominated for the Best Bowler ESPY. Outsports reports:

Scott"After such a monumental week for LGBT rights, what an incredible feeling to be a part of something to take us a step even further towards equality," Norton told Outsports. "I am so excited to be the first of what I hope will be a long line of world-class openly gay male athletes nominated for this prestigious award."

...

Norton was made nationally famous when ESPN aired video of him kissing his partner, Craig Woodward, after a tournament earlier this year; It's believed to be the first celebratory "gay kiss" ESPN has ever aired.

While no gay man has ever been nominated for an ESPY either before or after coming out publicly, several out lesbians have been nominated for ESPY Awards in the past. This year, Brittney Griner has been nominated for Best Female Athlete and for Best Female College Athlete.  

And if you would like to help Norton and Griner win their respective ESPYs, you can vote HERE


Out Lesbian Player Brittney Griner Breaks WNBA Dunks Record in Her First Game: VIDEO

Griner

Brittney Griner, the top WNBA draft pick who came out of the closet in April, broke the WNBA's dunks record in her first game, NBC Sports reports:

The biggest name to hit the WNBA in years didn’t disappoint in her first game — she became the first WNBA player ever to dunk twice in one game (she is only third player in the league ever to dunk). Griner had 17 points and 3 rebounds in her debut.

Griner's team, the Phoenix Mercury, lost 102-80 to the Chicago Sky.

Watch Griner dunk, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Out Lesbian Player Brittney Griner Breaks WNBA Dunks Record in Her First Game: VIDEO" »


Brittney Griner Claims College Coach Told Her To Hide Sexuality

In a new interview with ESPN, Brittney Griner has revealed that Baylor University head coach Kim Mulkey asked her to conceal the fact that she was gay and claimed that not doing so might jeopardize recruitment for the team. 

BritESPN reports:

In a series of interviews -- including one on camera Friday -- for an ESPN The Magazine and espnW.com story set to hit newsstands later this month, Griner said her silence during college was because Mulkey and her staff were concerned about the program's image.

"It was more of a unwritten law [to not discuss your sexuality] ... it was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don't do it," Griner said Friday. "They kind of tried to make it, like, 'Why put your business out on the street like that?'" 

But Griner reiterated on Friday that her sexuality was an open secret at Baylor.

"I told Coach [Mulkey] when she was recruiting me. I was like, 'I'm gay. I hope that's not a problem,' and she told me that it wasn't," Griner said. "I mean, my teammates knew, obviously they all knew. Everybody knew about it."

Watch the ESPN interview with Griner, in which she addresses the above, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Brittney Griner Claims College Coach Told Her To Hide Sexuality" »


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