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Tennis Legend Martina Navratilova Shares Her Coming Out Story With HSBC NOW: VIDEO

Martina navratilova HSBC NOW

Tennis legend and LGBT rights activist Martina Navratilova dropped into HSBC’s London offices during WorldPride week to talk about her coming out experience.

Navratilova, who won Wimbledon a record nine times, also talked about why diversity is important for business.

During the visit, which was triggered after Navratilova saw HSBC NOW's video with HSBC UK CEO Antonio Simoeson on being an out leader, she says:

“The people that don’t hide anything about who they are will be much happier. It will be a much happier workplace, better performance, and better bottom line at the end.”

Watch the HSBC NOW video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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First Inductees of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Honored in Chicago

21 individuals, three organizations, one sports team, and one corporation were among those honored Friday night in Chicago as the first inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. The events, according to CBS News, included "a dinner Friday night to honor the inductees at a ceremony at the Center on Halsted and an event on Saturday at Wrigley Field called 'Out at Wrigley,' which organizers says is the largest "Gay Day' at a major league sporting event."

PalloneAmong those inducted was Dave Pallone, who umpired the first night game at Wrigley Field.

Said Pallone, via the AP:

"It is a tremendous honor and ... I hope it gives young people and adults alike who happen to be LGBT and want to be in professional sports another example of why they should continue to strive for their dreams," Pallone said.

Pallone also spoke out about the situation in Russia: "The Olympic Games are for the athletes, not for political or religious figures. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, colors and orientations," said David Pallone, a former umpire in Major League Baseball. "I truly believe that the IOC should really start thinking about the athletes before they select the host cities."

The complete list of the organization's first inductees:

Gay Games, Outsports.com, Chicago Cubs, International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), Anheuser Busch, Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Ben Cohen, Dave Pallone, Justin Fashanu, LZ Granderson, Christina Kahrl, Dr. Tom Waddell, Chuck Dima, Jerry Pritikin, Dave Kopay, Glenn Burke, Renee Richards, Billie, Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Patty Sheehan, Andrew Goldstein, Jason Collins, Orlando Cruz and Johnny Weir.


Martina Navratilova Tells Melissa Harris-Perry Why Jason Collins is So Important: VIDEO

Martina

Martina Navratilova appeared on Melissa Harris Perry's show on Sunday to talk about Jason Collins, his coming out, and why it's so important for athletes to continue doing so:

“In this day and age, a third of teenage suicides are due to their sexual orientations,” Navratilova said. “They’re so terrified of coming out as gay that they take their own life.”

Navratilova mentioned that she came out as AIDS was coming to light, and noted President Reagan’s failure to adequately acknowledge the problem was a part of the culture at the time.

“Being gay was the lowest of the low that you could get, and that’s why people stayed in the closet, because you could get so shamed, you were so ashamed of who you were—not because of who you thought you were, but because of what everybody else thought—that people just didn’t speak up.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Martina Navratilova: Jason Collins' Coming Out 'Will Save Lives'

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who helped pave the way for Jason Collins' coming out with her own years ago, praised Jason Collins in a Sports Illustrated column today.

NavratilovaShe says, humbly, that although she had less support and lost endorsements it was easier in a way:

When I came out, in 1981, I didn't have much public support and I know I lost endorsements. But I never had to worry about losing my job. In tennis, there are no bosses, no general managers and no coaches who can keep players from competing. So I was safe in that regard. For team sports athletes, this is not the case. A homophobic coach at any level -- high school, college or pros -- could keep a player from playing.

And she makes note of what it will mean for gay kids:

Now that Jason Collins has come out, he is the proverbial "game-changer." One of the last bastions of homophobia has been challenged. How many LGBT kids, once closeted, are now more likely to pursue a team sport and won't be scared away by a straight culture?

Collins has led the way to freedom. Yes, freedom -- because that closet is completely and utterly suffocating. It's only when you come out that you can breathe properly. It's only when you come out that you can be exactly who you are. Collins' action will save lives. This is no exaggeration: Fully one third of suicides among teenagers occur because of their sexuality. Collins will truly affect lives, too. Millions of kids will see that it is OK to be gay. No need for shame, no need for embarrassment, no need for hiding.

Navratilova hopes that Collins actions create "an avalanche" of similar revelations.

In related news, Billie Jean King tweeted today:

I am thrilled @JasonCollins34 was able to come out on his own terms and, as he put it, is ready to continue the conversation. This is a day of celebration for the LGBT community and for all of us. I look forward to the day when the news of anyone coming out, is a non-issue and once we reach that point we will know we have arrived.


Quinn Denounces Anti-Gay, Racist Carriage Incident; Drivers' Union to Undergo Anti-Discrimination Training

Earlier today, Towleroad posted video of a disturbing incident which took place over LGBT Pride in which a carriage horse driver hurled racist, sexist, homophobic slurs at a group of women leafleting nearby, along with a letter from Martina Navratilova condemning the incident and urging Speaker Christine Quinn to do so as well.

In the video, the driver is seen calling one woman a "f**king ni**er" and a "c*nt", and mocking the group of them for attending "the dyke convention".

NavratilovaNavratilova also used the opportunity as an animal rights activist and PETA spokesperson to urge the Speaker to change her position on the carriage industry as a whole and replace the horse-drawn carriages with cruelty-free eco-friendly cars.

Quinn responded to the incident and Navratilova's statement with a letter to the Teamsters Union and to Navratilova herself, both of which Towleroad obtained after reaching out to Quinn's office for a response to our original post.

Read them, AFTER THE JUMP...

Quinn's letter to the Teamsters Local 553 Union blasts the driver's behavior. The Union responded immediately, according to the NYT blog City Room, which picked up the story:

On Tuesday, Ms. Quinn said the union representing carriage drivers had agreed to immediately require its members to undergo anti-discrimination training. Ms. Quinn said her office would work with the union to find an appropriate gay-rights organization to help put the training in place.

QuinnSaid Quinn in the letter, which urged the training:

A video of one of your carriage horse drivers verbally assaulting a group of women during NYC’s LGBT Pride week was recently brought to my attention. The behavior depicted in this video is reprehensible and unacceptable from anyone, and is especially unbefitting of an industry the City Council has made sure treats its animals humanely...What happened to these women is truly outrageous and wrong and should not be tolerated.

Quinn also responded to Navratilova's criticism of the carriage horse industry, emphasizing practices which she says assure the safety and health of the carriage horses, but was not persuaded to change her position on their employment on New York City streets:

Given the tough economic times that we are in, we continue to believe that our current regulatory scheme, which does not permit the operation of electronic cars, strikes a fair balance between having stronger regulations in place to protect these horses while allowing an industry that generates vital jobs and tourism for our city to continue.

Read both of Quinn's letters, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Martina Navratilova Blasts NYC's 'Cruel' Horse-Drawn Carriage Industry After Anti-Gay, Racist Incident: VIDEO

Carriage

EXCLUSIVE

HorsePETA spokeswoman Martina Navratilova has sent a letter to NYC City Council speaker Christine Quinn on the group's behalf condemning the horse-drawn carriage industry following a disturbing incident over LGBT Pride weekend which was captured on video in which a group of women leafleting near the carriages were verbally assaulted with homophobic and racist slurs by one of the drivers.

Navratilova says the incident is just further proof that the NYC horse-drawn carriage industry, given recent accidents which have led to horse and human injuries, needs an overhaul, and urges Quinn to change her position on the issue.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP....

NavratilovaNavratilova's letter to Quinn:

July 16, 2012
 
The Honorable Christine Quinn
New York City Council Speaker
 
Dear Speaker Quinn:
 
I'm writing to ask that you shift your position on the city's horse-drawn carriage problem, not just because of the danger and the cruelty endured by the horses in midtown traffic but also because of the aggressive homophobia exhibited by carriage drivers.
 
As any animal lover will tell you, the carriage drivers you support spew hate when anyone expresses concern for the horses they force to work in all weather extremes, and during Pride weekend it was captured on video. "You have a big dyke convention here?" shouted the driver at a small group of women, mostly seniors, who were peacefully leafleting near where the carriages line up. "F**king ni**er," he said to a black woman in the group. How can you support such a scurrilous industry that spouts racist and homophobic vitriol?
 
Many PETA advocates, including me, are gay. We share a heightened sense of responsibility in fighting the callous disregard that many have for animal suffering because we have experienced a similar disregard for the cruelty that we ourselves have faced. You are a champion of gay rights; won't you extend your compassion to the city's beleaguered working animals? These animals have been stripped of all their rights and have been denied the opportunity to fulfill their natural instincts. And for years, there have been accidents resulting in horse deaths and human injuries, the most recent occurring just last month when an SUV collided with a horse, which I hope you read about. That's why I urge you to support Intro. 86A, the bill seeking to replace the archaic horse-drawn carriages with eco-friendly classic cars. At the very least, won't you green-light the pilot program to test the viability of this savvy idea? It doesn't cost the city a cent or any jobs and is sure to be a hit with tourists. All eyes are on you to make the right move.
 
As evidenced by the hateful, bigoted carriage driver in the video, everything about this industry is stuck in the 19th century. Help us move into a more civilized future. I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Martina Navratilova

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

An UPDATE to the story HERE.

Exclusive - please credit Towleroad...

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