John Amaechi Hub

WATCH: Trailer For Malcolm Ingram’s New LGBT Sports Documentary ‘Out To Win’

Out to win

The teaser trailer for acclaimed film Director Malcolm Ingram’s new LGBT documentary Out to Win, which provides insight into the lives of LGBT athletes, is now available on the web reports Out. The documentary examines the lives and careers of professional and aspiring LGBT athletes from around the world including interviews with Martina Navratilova, Charline Labonté, Conner Mertens, Billie Jean King, Jason Collins, Wade Davis, David Kopay, John Amaechi and Brittney Griner.

Ingram is known for several LGBT documentaries he directed including Continental and Small Town Gay Bar, which was a huge hit with critics at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.

Out in Film debuts at SXSW in Austin, Texas next month. Watch the trailer, which features brief but enlightening clips from interviews with various LGBT athletes, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "WATCH: Trailer For Malcolm Ingram’s New LGBT Sports Documentary ‘Out To Win’" »

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


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."

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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'


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.


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