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World Famous Heterosexual Pro Boxer Becomes Leading Face of LGBT Rights in Poland

Michaelczewski

An internationally-renowned straight professional boxer is making headlines in Poland after he showed up to an LGBT rights event in Warsaw to support equality, NYT correspondent Slawomir Sierakowski reports:

D-MichalczewskiDariusz Michalczewski, a world-famous pugilist who goes by the nickname Tiger, recently made headlines by announcing his support for one of the country’s most prominent gay rights groups, Shoulder to Shoulder on Equality — L.G.B.T. and Friends, by appearing in a photograph with a sign reading, “I am an ally of L.G.B.T. people, because I want to live in a country where my gay friends are not discriminated against.”

Read a report from Poland here.

Michalczewski explained his decision to participate in the campaign:

"I just love people! I'm not a racist and do not judge people because of their sexual orientation. I'll give you an example. Two young men live near me. They are smiling, friendly, accommodating. We all like them. And then someone noticed that they kiss. Neighbors began to hate them...Did they change? No. They are still those same valuable people. You have to treat them differently because they are gay? This (kind of treatment) is sick! It prompted me to participate in this campaign."

The NYT adds:

Mr. Michalczewski is both a surprising advocate for gay rights and the perfect choice for the role: He is white, heterosexual, Catholic, rich, professionally successful and widely popular, and thus more likely to persuade conservatives than a liberal intellectual or politician. A typical young man from an economically depressed town that doesn’t have a single movie theater but has five churches might not get a chance to read a progressive manifesto. The opinions of a legendary boxer who grew up under similar circumstances, meanwhile, might prove thought-provoking.

And Mr. Michalczewski has guts: The popular sportsman did not limit himself to one photograph. He supports not only homosexuals’ right to enter into civil unions, but also their right to adopt children. In one TV appearance, he directly confronted right-wing politicians, by asking: “What if your daughter were a lesbian? What if your son were gay? If it were my child, I would love him very much. And I would support him in everything, because he’d be my child!”

Perhaps there is hope for LGBT rights in eastern Europe.

(Via Aksarbent)


Full-Page Advertisement In Minnesota Newspaper Paints Transgender Teens As Locker Room Predators: VIDEO

TransphobicMN

A full-page advertisement in Sunday's issue of the Minnesota Star Tribune had a deeply transphobic and infuriatingly close-minded message to put across to readers. Depicting two shower heads in a locker room, the ad asks: "A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU ok with that?" The image is in reference to a policy to be discussed this week by the Minnesota State High School League which would allow transgender students to join sports teams based on their gender identity. 

Not only does the ad completely deny transgender students' gender identification (by referring to a person who identifies as female as "male"), it was also paid for by an entity titled the Minnesota Child Protection League, casting a sinister light on an already maligned minority group. 

My Fox 9 Twin Cities reports:

It remains unknown if any transgender athletes have been barred from sports in Minnesota, but the state's high school league believes it's only a matter of time. In fact, ever since Dr. Renee Richards decided to play women's tennis nearly 40 years ago, the sports world has wrestled with transgender issues. The International Olympic Committee and NCAA both have similar policies in place...

Those like Autumn Leva, of the Minnesota Family Council, say they share the concerns about locker rooms, privacy, and the "fundamental fairness" cited in the [Minnesota] draft.

"We segregate teams for a reason -- for safety reasons, for privacy reasons," she said. "Now, you have a biological male to female taking the place of a female student. That becomes really problematic."

Yet, the MSHSL says that's why they need a policy -- to be ahead of the ball for when schools encounter such a scenario. The draft aims to provide schools a framework for identifying trans athletes and guidelines for working with doctors who may be administering hormone therapy that would equalize the playing field.

Many Minnesotans were outraged by the transphobic advertisement. CityPages.com reported about several subscribers' tweets on the issue, including "Well that's the end of me buying the Star Tribune" and "Why did @StarTribune publishers amplify that hate?" The paper has reportedly stated that the advertisement "met all the requirements of [their] ad policy."

A disturbing story to say the least. We will keep our fingers crossed for a vote in favor of the policy this Thursday.

Check out news coverage of the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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National Association of Basketball Coaches Adds Sexual Orientation to Non-Discrimination Policy: READ

Nabc

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies, reports OutSports.

The new policy reads in part:

“The NABC opposes all forms of discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, disability, sexual orientation or religion. There is no room for such actions in the sport of men's basketball.

“The NABC opposes any action or inaction that has a tendency to cause or is intended to cause emotional or physical harm, an unequal or disproportionate effect, or unreasonable requirement because of any particular trait. Further, the NABC opposes any behavior toward players that is offensive, abusive, belittling, intimidating or threatening.

“...most schools where our members coach have comprehensive anti-bullying policies and procedures, and we encourage anyone who feels that he or she has been a target of bullying to utilize these procedures. Our member coaches are always there to assist players who feel that they have been the targets of bullying.”

Welcoming the decision, Anthony Nicodemo [pictured], the head basketball coach at Saunders High School in New York, who came out last year, said:

Nicodemo“To have the NABC put out such a powerful statement on inclusion shows the importance of the issue. I have been a member for over 15 years and the organization was so supportive with the concerns. So many coaches will receive the statement and I hope it continues to promote a change in athletics overall. It really makes me proud to be a member."

According to Bob Walsh, the new head men's basketball coach at the University of Maine, education around the area of homophobic discrimination and bullying is needed:

“Guys are generally unaware of maybe some hurtful comments or phrases that they use that they might consider mainstream. People are aware of something that's racially offensive, but they're less aware of how it affects [people who are gay]."

Walsh added that although he hears the word "faggot" regularly around basketball, he addresses it every time:

"It's an accepted insult that's considered funny by some people. I hear it a lot in team settings with males, and I immediately address it. I help them understand the connotation and the hurt in that word. I think that's where you start the conversation."

Although the policy has been criticised for its lack of inclusion of gender identity and expression, its hoped that these issues can be addressed in the future.

Earlier this year we reported that Derrick Gordon, the first openly gay NCAA Division One male basketball player, is now dating former CSI actor Gerald McCullouch.

Read the NABC statement in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Iowa High School Coach Describes 'The Power Of Coming Out' To Homophobic Friend

Writing on OutSports, Evan Risk, a junior high school track & cross-country coach in rural Iowa, has explained what happened when he came out to his homophobic friends.

RiskRisk explains how at a basketball game, a friend told him about a “great” idea to change the word “beer” to “queers” in a team chant.

The friend suggested that "In heaven there is no beer that's why we drink it here, and when we're gone from here our friends will be drinking all the beer” could be changed to “In heaven there are no queers, that's why we kill them here, and when we're gone from here our friends will be killing all the queers.”

Risk continues:

“I thought about what I should do for the next few days. Then we went to another basketball game and he said to me during the game, ‘Yeah in my town people say we never had any gay people but that's not true, we killed them all before they were eight.’

“After the victory that night, he sang the killing queers song. Just as before, I had no idea what to do. I didn't say or do anything at the time.

“Regardless of the outcome I knew I had to come out to him. I didn't want to hear the homophobic comments anymore.”

Risk says that when he finally came out, his friend replied:

"I'm really glad you told me. And I'm sorry about what I said earlier.  I'm really glad I know that about you. We're definitely still friends."

Describing how coming out had a positive effect on his friend, Risk says:

“After I came out to him in December we remained friends and on the last game of the season his roommate came with us the final game in March.  

“[The roommate] was talking about something the other team was doing and said ‘That's so FUCKING GAY.’

“I put my head down, not sure exactly what to say.

“My other friend quickly chimed in - ‘Don't say that. Don't say that word.’

"That is the power of coming out."

Check out Risk's full story over at Outsports HERE.

 


Australian Football League Axes Partnership With Brunei Airlines Over Country's Anti-gay Laws

Afl

The Australian Football League has nixed a sponsorship deal between its European affiliated league and Brunei's state airline over the country's implementation of Sharia law that includes death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality. 

ABC News reports:

The AFL released a statement that said its European affiliate was unaware of Brunei's adoption of the laws.

"These laws are counter to everything the AFL stands for in regards to inclusion and diversity," the statement said.

An AFL spokesman said that after examining the issue, the league was now working with AFL Europe to wind up the agreement.

The spokesman said the sponsorship deal will be terminated "possibly within days, at most within a few weeks".

Gay rights group All Out, which organized a Twitter campaign pressuring the AFL to drop its sponsorship ties, praised the decision, saying:

‘This is a game changer in the push against Brunei’s proposal to mandate inhuman punishments like stoning, whipping and amputation for being gay and other offences. The AFL has taken a strong stand against homophobia today that shows the Sultan of Brunei that killing people because of who they are is not only wrong – it’s very bad for business.’

Last month we reported that Hassanal Blkiah, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei who championed the new laws, was eyeing the New York's iconic Plaza Hotel for purchase. 

[photo via AFL]


Tom Daley Dressed Up, Stripped Down for 2015: VIDEO

Daley

Tom Daley offered viewers of his YouTube channel a preview of his 2015 calendar today and most folks will be looking forward to whatever month he's previewing above.

The British Olympian diver also recently shared some clips of a recent trip to Los Angeles in which he's seen frolicking along Hollywood Boulevard and playing in a friend's pool with his GoPro - though there's no Dustin Lance Black to be found in either of them.

Check them out, AFTER THE JUMP...

2_daley

Continue reading "Tom Daley Dressed Up, Stripped Down for 2015: VIDEO" »


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