John Amaechi Hub




International Olympic Committee Pressured to Take a Stand Against Countries Which Oppress Gays

London

The International Olympic Committee is responding tepidly to growing calls for action against anti-gay nations applying to compete in the Olympic Games as London 2012 approaches.

London2012In late May British human rights lawyer Mark Stephens wrote an article in the UK Guardian calling on the IOC to penalize countries that criminalize homosexuality:

[Stephens] called on the IOC to ban the roughly 75 countries - mostly from Africa, the Caribbean and the Islamic world - that outlaw homosexual activity. That demand has been embraced by Peter Tatchell, a leading British gay-rights campaigner, and has prompted several human rights organizations to say the IOC should at least speak out, even if a ban at this stage is unrealistic.

Stephens ended his article with three "exhortations" calling on gay athletes to come out, seek asylum if they feel endangered in their own nations, and for the IOC to ban countries that criminalize homosexuality:

The first is to LGBT athletes. You are the only ones who have the glare of attention that can be used to effect real change. If you feel safe to do so, come out and make a visible, memorable, courageous gesture for LGBT rights. Show that you are proud to be LGBT, just as Smith and Carlos were proud to be black.

The second is to the LGBT athletes who don't feel safe - and there must be many of you. I invite you to apply for asylum in this country on the grounds that you will face persecution at home if you are open about your sexual identity. Our supreme court has recognised, in HJ (Iran) in 2010, that a person cannot be asked to conceal their true sexual identity in order to avoid persecution. The court held that people must be allowed to live their lives free from the fear of serious harm coming to them as a result of their sexual identity. No one would consider it acceptable for a straight person to have to hide his or her identity: the same applies to LGBT people. LGBT athletes from the 84 criminalising jurisdictions should use this case to apply for asylum in the UK when they arrive for the Games in July.

Finally, to the IOC Committee. I implore you to ban countries where homosexuality is criminalised from competing in the Olympics. The Games are a valuable way of protecting human rights and promoting equality, a principle enshrined in the Olympic Charter itself. To distinguish between racial apartheid in South Africa, gender apartheid under the Taliban and the criminalisation of consensual sex between adults of the same gender is artificial. Countries that sanction such discrimination, and the violence that goes with it, should not be allowed to compete. Far from bringing politics into sport, this step would fulfil the values of the Olympic Charter.

Pressure has stepped up since Stephens' article was published but the IOC has so far only issued a meaningless blanket statement:

IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau, asked about the appeals, noted that the Olympic Charter "clearly states that any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

Moreau gave no indication if the IOC would do anything to raise the particular issue of anti-gay laws and discrimination among its member nations.

Out gay former NBA player and Brit John Amaechi called it "cowardice":

"They're abdicating the responsibility that comes with the power they have. Where is that bold, progressive Olympic movement that sees great injustice in the world and says, `Whatever the risk, we won't let people who violate our tenets join us."


News: Dianna Agron, El Paso, Pyramid Club, Prince Harry, X-Men

RoadWeinstein Company picks up Madonna's. W.E..

RoadSame-sex marriage ballot initative unlikely in California: “I’m not aware of a single donor who would support a ballot measure campaign,” said Chad Griffin, the co-founder and board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “A ballot would be unwise, foolish and, in fact, dangerous.”

Agron RoadGlee star Dianna Agron writes long piece supporting LGBT equality.

RoadPrince Harry in skintight white Under Armour.

RoadAmaechi awarded OBE: "NBA basketball player-turned-social entrepreneur John Amaechi has been awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to sport and to the voluntary sector, it was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List."

RoadProposed East Village Historic Area includes "birthplace of drag", the Pyramid Club. Map.

RoadVeteran film producer Laura Ziskin dies at 61 after breast cancer battle.

RoadAtlanta police plan training for raid protocol as part of settlement in 2009 Atlanta Eagle raid.

RoadJane Lynch and Bill Maher read Anthony Weiner's sexts.

RoadNew photos show Weiner at Congressional Gym.

RoadAnti-gay extremist Joseph Mattera of the City Action Coalition is planning a 'Rally for Traditional Marriage' at NYC City Hall on Tuesday. Good As You digs up the goods on Mattera: "Mr. Mattera pushes perhaps the most egregious of all of the anti-gay community's lies, suggesting not only that a population that was killed in huge numbers was actually an Adolf [Hitler] ally, but also that gay acceptance itself was 'one reason why they killed Bible-believing Christians and Jews.'"

RoadBritney Spears reveals setlist for Femme Fatale tour.

Marrero RoadGay Philly cop shares his story.

RoadJake Gyllenhaal to join Jesse Eisenberg in magician heist flick: "Now You See Me 'follows a group of the world’s greatest illusionists, who pull off daring bank heists during their performances, showering the profits on their audience. Eventually, the FBI gets involved, prompting a cat-and-mouse game between adversaries.'"

RoadMale model fix: Jonathan Marquez.

RoadLindsay Lohan having a horrible time under house arrest.

RoadChris Rock backpedals on Tracy Morgan support: "Tracy morgan is a tad off we all know that so when tracy says something i usually don't take it anymore serious than i would a statement from gary busey or flavor flav .when i first heard the statement i thought it was offensive but it also reminded me of my father saying ill kill you if you ever bring home a white girl but after reading everything tracy said . wow i get it that shit wasn't called for and i don't support it at all. now can i please go to the tony awards without getting my ass kicked."

Maguire RoadTobey Maguire: Prada model.

RoadX-Men First Class screenwriter confirms gay subtext.

RoadHere's a free download of the Billboard Remix of the Martin Solveig - Kele collaboration "Ready 2 Go"

RoadEl Paso City Council to consider ordinance that would restore gay benefits: "The El Paso City Council on Tuesday will hold a public hearing on a measure that would reverse an initiative passed by voters in November. The council is considering an ordinance that would restore health benefits to 19 gay and unmarried partners of city employees. It also would restore benefits to more than 100 others who lost them because of the way the initiative was worded."


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #878

TOO-ISM: On various types of discrimination from within the gay community.

MARRIAGE NEWS WATCH: Matt Baume with his latest news round-up.

QUEER UTAH: Troy D. Williams on Mormons and activism for The Hemispheric Institute's States of Devotion blog.

JOHN AMAECHI: David Pakman interviews the gay former NBA player about Kobe Bryant's slur.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Former NBA Player John Amaechi on Kobe Bryant's Anti-Gay Slur: 'Saying You Didn't Mean it is Not the Answer'

Former NBA player John Amaechi, who came out in 2007 after he retired, talks to USA Today about Kobe Bryant's recent slur, as well as his follow-up statement:

Amaechi-headshot I suppose that's the typical, "I apologize if you're offended" type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There's only one contemporary meaning for that.

The problem we have now is because of the way we don't address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they're like a woman or worse, that they're gay.

We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I've been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We've got to mirror that progress.

Amaechi said that while he agrees with the fine imposed (which Kobe is appealing), what he'd really like to see Kobe do is make a difference:

I'm not interested in seeing Kobe punished. What I'm interested in is if you're really sorry, that this is a one-off mistake for you, use the power you have to make a difference. That means a proper apology and doing something with his brand. Good Lord, he's got the power with one executive decision to get people moving and do something good here. Do something good.

I've said this before and I know people think it's hyperbole, but especially in America, people look at sports stars like their gods. I keep saying every time, "If sports stars are gods it's time we see a miracle every once in a while." This is an opportunity for that.

...what I would want is to encourage Kobe to use the power he has to really make an apology that means something. Tell black men, men in general in America, that resorting to that sort of language is the lowest of the low and is unacceptable. And it doesn't make you any more of a man. That's really the answer. Saying you didn't mean it is not the answer.

Much more interview at USA Today...


Former NBA Star John Amaechi Denied Entrance to Gay Bar for Being 'Big and Black and [Possibly] Trouble'

Amaechi

Gay former NBA star John Amaechi tweeted yesterday that he was denied entrance to Crunch Bar in Manchester, UK (where he lives) after the bouncer said he was "big and black and could be trouble."

Pink Paper reports: Amaechi-headshot

"When Amaechi questioned the decision, the doorman said it was a 'private members' bar.' He then allegedly claimed that the New York Times best-selling author had been flagged up as 'trouble' on the gay village's shared security radio network. A spokesperson for the bar later told Amaechi's representative: 'Your group was stopped from entering the venue on Friday night as a message was received over the NiteNet radio system, (a system where several venues work together within the village, where they announce any issues they have with any customers), that your group had been argumentative and aggressive to another venue’s doorstaff. On interview with the staff who were present at the time, we are satisfied that there were no racism or bigotry comments as you suggest. All three staff who were present on the door at the time have been with us for over 14 months and none of them have ever displayed the attitude or characteristics you suggest in your email. You have clearly misunderstood the situation and perhaps justifying your exclusion that evening. We consider this matter closed now.'"

The other bars, VIA and Taurus, which use the NiteNet system deny there was any such warning about Amaechi's behavior.

According to the paper, "Amaechi's representatives have lodged a complaint with the Equality and Human Rights Commission along with a complaint to the Manchester City Council LGBT affairs director, Terry Waller and also with the Greater Manchester Police LGBT liaison office."

Read our recent interview with John Amaechi HERE.


Towleroad Interview: John Amaechi

John
Former NBA player John Amaechi was the first pro player in that league to come out as an openly gay man. He chatted with me recently about being an openly gay athlete, his newfound friendship with Ian McKellen as well as his involvement in this year's Gay Games.

SP: Now that it's been a few years, how does it feel to be the first NBA player to publicly come out of the closet?

JA: I have to be honest that I rarely think of that aspect, not because it was a bad experience - in fact, it was resoundingly the opposite, but I try to stay in the moment and now the issues facing the LGBT community feel so much bigger than any one professional athlete. On reflection, and in talking to people from workplaces and schools in parts of the US, parts of Africa and Eastern Europe, that I have spoken to in the last few years, I had it easy.

SP: A study in the UK found that the majority of soccer fans in that country are ready to support an openly gay player. How close do you think basketball fans in the US are to feeling that way?

JA: I have to tell you that the geek in me looked at that survey and it is really lacking in a number of the reliability and validity aspects you need in really good research. That being said, I do agree that the open-mindedness and general acceptance of difference (especially LGBT) in the UK is better than ever before, even amongst fans. I think that many fans in the US already feel that way, and are simply “waiting” to be explicitly told it’s ok to lose the machismo, bullshit, “no homo" attitude, by enough people in authority, including current straight players, owners, etc. However, America is different from the UK in that you still suffer from people actively creating and maintaining anti-LGBT laws, and that informs the attitudes of fans: "if gays are banned from adopting in my state there must be something wrong with them, right?”

SP: You recently told the Manchester Evening News: “I get into trouble sometimes with the gay community by saying it is not the job of sports stars in the closet to come out. That is not how change happens. For an under-prepared and psychologically stunted individual who plays sports at a high level to come out before they are ready is like being born prematurely.” At what point do you think a sports star is ready to come out?

JA: I think there are probably 5,000 mainstream professional athletes in the US, maybe 500 of them are LGBT, I just don’t think that is a key demographic in the quest for change. Some are “stunted” as I mentioned - not as many as I made out in that article in fairness - but I think it is a just a plot device we like to have in our mind that if a big enough star came out the fans would stop being homophobic, the family research council would rethink it’s policies and all would be well.

I was in Cologne for the gay games and I spoke to person after person - all from southern or central states in fairness - who were not out at work: high school teachers (a LOT of teachers) , several IT technicians, two journalists, a TV production person and others... all of whom felt it dangerous in one way or another for them to be out at work - all of whom said that gay athletes should come out even though they felt they couldn’t. When all teachers, engineers, etc, etc feel safe to come out, maybe then the argument for professional athletes to do the same would not ring with so much hypocrisy. A gay sportsman coming out just isn’t going to have the impact you think. Young people are mostly already won over in terms of LGBT human rights, and those with the real power, aren’t going to be swayed by an athlete, because they aren’t swayed by the hate crimes statistics, they aren’t swayed by the genuine love of gay couples and they aren’t swayed by the logical argument for equality.

SP: How close to you think we are to having an an active, openly gay player in the NBA?

JA: One could be outed at any second, but not close otherwise. Also, we should note that lots of professional athletes are out in the same way that many in the LGBT community are out. They are out to family and/or close friends, to some of their team mates and coaches, but not to the universe - they are no more “In the closet than the numerous (a majority?) of LGBT people on-line whose profile obscures their face and says “out to everyone except family” or “not out at work."

Read the rest of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Towleroad Interview: John Amaechi " »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged