Martina Navratilova Hub




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...

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


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...

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


Martina Navratilova to Compete on 'Dancing with the Stars' - Watch Full Announcement: VIDEO

Martina

Not sure when announcement of the Dancing with the Stars cast became such an 'event', but there was a big to-do on Good Morning America this morning.

Other competitors include Jack Wagner, Melissa Gilbert, Donald Driver, William Levy, Sherri Shepherd, Katherine Jenkins, Gavin DeGraw, Roshon Fegan, Maria Menounos, Jaleel White, and Gladys Knight.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Martina Navratilova to Compete on 'Dancing with the Stars' - Watch Full Announcement: VIDEO" »


Tennis Legend Margaret Court Doesn't Want to Be Labeled a Hater for Calling Gays 'Abominable'

Tennis legend-turned-pastor Margaret Court, who spoke out against marriage equality in December, doesn't want to be called a hater, she tells the NYT in a new interview defending her remarks.

CourtSaid Court about gay people in December:

"They are not perfect, often dysfunctional and despite the fact the role models may be distorted and even severely flawed, there is no reason to put forward alternative, unhealthy, unnatural unions as some form of substitute. No amount of legislation or political point-scoring can ever take out of the human heart the knowledge that in the beginning God created them male and female and provided each with a unique sexual function to bring forth new life. To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong."

After anger from fellow tennis players Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova and threats of a protest by LGBT rights groups at this month's Australian Open, Court says "I don’t hate homosexual people" but stands by her remarks:

I remember, probably 10, 12 years ago, I spoke with Martina Navratilova. To say that I “hate” homosexuals and lesbians is not [accurate] because we have them in our church. I work with them. And I remember saying to Martina: “Martina, I love you. God loves you. But a wrong doesn’t make a right.”...

...I make a stand for both my biblical side, and what I believe. And I think — it’s a choice. And I think there’s young people today that need to know it’s a choice in life. And that was my side of it, bringing that forth. I’ve got nothing against the people themselves, I’ve always said that all the years I’ve been a minister.

More at the NYT...


Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King Condemn Fellow Tennis Legend Margaret Court's Anti-Gay Remarks

Navratilova_king

Last week I mentioned that tennis legend Margaret Court, now an evangelical pastor, spoke out against same-sex marriage in response to Australia's push for marriage equality.

CourtSaid Court: "No amount of legislation or political point-scoring can ever take out of the human heart the knowledge that in the beginning God created them male and female and provided each with a unique sexual function to bring forth new life. To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong."

Court's comments did not sit well with fellow tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, both out and proud lesbians. They spoke with the Tennis Channel.

Said Navratilova: “Seems to me a lot of people have evolved as has the Bible, [for example regarding] slavery. Unfortunately, Margaret Court has not. Her myopic view is truly frightening as well as damaging to the thousands of children already living in same gender families...I have tried to talk to Margaret, but to say she’s completely close-minded on the issue is an understatement...Here is hoping Australia will be on the right side of history and human rights, and become yet another democracy granting equal rights to all her citizens.”

Said King: "I respectfully disagree with Margaret’s position on gay marriage...We have to commit to eliminating homophobia because everyone is entitled to the same rights, opportunities and protection...The more we talk openly about issues like gay marriage, the more we learn about each other. It is a blessing the people of Australia can live freely and express their own opinions because we need open dialogue to help us move forward.


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