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04/19/2007


Bisexual Players Settle Lawsuit Against Gay Softball League for Undisclosed Sum, Return of Second-Place Title

D2

You may recall the lawsuit brought against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) by three bisexual softball players and the NCLR alleging that NAGAAA discriminated by stripping the players' team of their second place finish in the Gay World Series after discovering the players were bisexual.

The players have now settled for an undisclosed sum, and the return of their second place trophy.

NCLR discusses the suit and the settlement in a press release:

The players were called into a conference room, where they were questioned in front of more than 25 people, most of them strangers, about their sexual orientations and private lives. The players were forced to answer whether they were “predominantly” interested in men or women, without being given the option of answering that they were bisexual. In response to a player’s statement that he was attracted to both men and women, a NAGAAA member who was in the room stated, “this is not a bisexual world series—this is a gay world series.” NAGAAA’s protest committee voted that the three plaintiffs were “believed to be heterosexual,” and their team was disqualified from its second place finish.

In the settlement, NAGAAA recognized that disqualifying the players from the 2008 tournament was not consistent with NAGAAA’s intention of being inclusive of bisexual players. NAGAAA now recognizes the players’ team—D2—as a second-place winner of the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, and will award the team a second-place trophy. In the settlement, NAGAAA also expressed regret at the impact the 2008 protest hearing process had on the players and their team. NAGAAA confirmed that its records will be amended to reflect the players’ participation in 2008, including the results of all games played by their team.

The players recognize positive advances made by NAGAAA, which in 2011 changed its rules to be fully inclusive of all bisexual and transgender players. The rule changes permit an unlimited number of bisexual or transgender players to participate on a Gay Softball World Series team.


Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Discrimination Suit Brought by Bisexual Players Against Gay Softball League

In April 2010, three bisexual softball players sued the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance after it deemed them not gay enough to play in the Gay World Series and stripped their team of its second place finish. The lawsuit accused the organization of violating Washington state anti-discrimination laws.

The Seattle Times explains: D2

The plaintiffs — Stephen Apilado, LaRon Charles and John Russ — were members of the team D5, which made it to the finals of the Gay World Series in 2008.

During the game, the manager of another team filed a protest under the rule that limits the number of non-gay players. The men contend they were brought, one at a time, into a room containing as many as 25 people and questioned about their sexual preferences.

The panel members then voted on whether they men were gay or "non-gay." Several ballots were held, and the men said the process was humiliating.

This week, a federal judge refused a motion from the softball league to dismiss the lawsuit. But the judge did allow the league to keep in place a rule allowing it to limit to two the number of heterosexual members on a team.

The paper adds:

The suit was backed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, which had framed it as a push for bisexual rights. It contended the rule discriminated against bisexuals by not including them in the definition of "gay."

Coughenour rejected that contention in the broader sense by not issuing an injunction against the rule, but said "treatment of bisexuals remains of central importance to this case" and that the association "could still be liable for its actions" under the Washington Laws Against Discrimination for actions at the 2008 games.

To that end, the judge ruled that the association operated as a "public accommodation" by inviting public attendance, charging a fee and providing a service, and therefore must comply with the state's anti-discrimination laws.

Previously...
Bisexual Softball Players Sue After 'Gay World Series' Discrimination [tr]
NAGAAA Gay Softball League Defends Itself in Open Letter [tr]


Chuck Dima, Gay Softball Pioneer, Dies at 81

Dima

Chuck Dima, who founded the Big Apple Softball League and is one of the earliest to promote the sport among gay men in the U.S., has died after a battle with cancer.

Said Sam Lehman, commissioner of the Southern New England Friendship Softball League, via Outsports:

"Chuck was often called the grandfather of gay softball; he was widely credited for being one of the founders of gay softball in the US. Chuck owned a bar in New York City and was constantly being asked to play softball with a group of gay friends; this led to the Big Apple Softball League. Chuck was born in 1929 and was a pioneer in the world of gay sports, we all have him to thank for our Sunday afternoon games."

A Facebook fan page, (from which I've borrowed the above photo, in which Dima is pictured third from the left) has been started in Dima's memory.


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Bisexual Softball Players Sue After 'Gay World Series' Discrimination

D2  

Three bisexual softball players are suing the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance after it deemed them not gay enough to play in the Gay World Series and stripped their team of its second place finish. The lawsuit accuses the organization of violating Washington state anti-discrimination laws.

The Seattle Times reports:

"The three plaintiffs — Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ — played on a team called D2 that qualified for the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, which is organized by the alliance. The alliance's rules say that each World Series team can have no more than two heterosexual players. According to the lawsuit, a competing team accused D2 of violating that rule. Each of the three plaintiffs was called into a conference room in front of more than 25 people, and was asked 'personal and intrusive questions' about his sexual attractions and desires, purportedly to determine if the player was heterosexual or gay, the lawsuit alleges. The alliance has no category or definition for bisexual or transgender people in its rules, the plaintiff's attorney said. At one point during the proceedings, the lawsuit alleges, one of the plaintiffs was told: 'This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.' The alliance ruled the three men were 'nongay,' stripped D2 of its second-place finish and recommended that the three players be suspended from participating in the World Series for a year, according to the suit."

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is assisting the three plaintiffs with their lawsuit.

Top photo: "Steven Apilado (kneeling, second from right), Jon Russ (standing, first player from left in front row), and LaRon Charles (standing, center player in front row) with their team during the 2007 season."


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