February 10, 2007

Reaction to Former NBA Player's Coming Out

At Outsports.com, they have collected a broad spectrum of reactions to the coming out of former NBA player John Amaechi, the first NBA player to do so.

As you might expect, there was a mix of responses. A couple of current players said a teammate coming out would be "awkward," and that players would probably "stay away from him,"

The article on Outsports gathers not only current NBA players reactions but those of some GLBT leaders and sportswriters with the slant being fairly positive.

Evem that shows some progress in the testosterone laden world of men's professional sports.

Shepard: "Stand Up and Be Counted"

That was the message Matthew Shepard's mother conveyed recently during a speech at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

Shortly after her son’s death, Mrs. Shepard went on the speaking circuit to promote the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which promotes gay and lesbian equality, draws attention to the existence of hate crimes and addresses other issues of social justice.

“I know Matt would be very disappointed in me if I gave up,” she said. “He would be very disappointed in all of us if we gave up.”

The teenage suicide rate, she said, “is through the roof.” And for teenagers perceived to be gay, lesbian or bisexual, she said, the rate skyrockets.

"As a society, it says we are a bunch of bigots,” she said. “Maybe we are.”

Mrs. Shepard said at the least it is symptomatic of what she called a “SIC” society — “silent, indifferent, complacent.”

That last sentence brings up a very important point. There are a lot of people we've all run across that feel the approach of "live and let live" is sufficient support for the GLBT community. It's not. By sitting on the sidelines, we can allow the bigots to rule the day and prevent equality for our gay and lesbian sisters.

It's not enough to say, "gay is ok," we need to stand up and have our voices heard for the cause of seeing the GLBT community have their rightful place as equal members of our society.

February 08, 2007

More About Gay-Straight Alliances

This quote if from an article in the Fort Wayne, IN News Express about Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in high schools:

Kelcie Currier of Tamarac, Fla., says her world changed the day she joined her high school's gay-straight alliance club.

"Just knowing that there are other kids like me, or who care about the same issue that I do, it makes me feel great. Less alone. That life is not hopeless," said Kelcie, 17, a junior at J.P. Taravella High in Coral Springs, Fla., who came out as a lesbian about four years ago.

Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) are student-led clubs, usually at high school and middle schools, that promote respect and address antigay name-calling, bullying and harassment. Spectrum, the Taravella club, is one of more than 3,000 GSAs nationally.

Can somebody rationally explain to me what is wrong with any of that? There are plenty of people across the nation that fight these groups rights to exist and meet, but I don't think rationality factors into their opposition.

Thanks to PageOne Q for the tip.

February 07, 2007

Former Pro Basketball Player Comes Out

John Amaechi, a man who played professional basketball for five years in the National Basketball Association, has publicly come out as gay. He has become the first former NBA player to announce he is a homosexual.

While several former pro football and baseball players have come out, we still wait for an active player to do so. I also wait for someone who has not written a book about it to just make an announcement and not turn it into a revenue generating event.

LZ Granderson, a writer for "ESPN The Magazine," takes a dim view on athletes coming out after retirement.

I can't help but wonder: When will somebody simply man up? That is, come out while he is still playing and finally demystify this whole gay athlete thing once and for all.
I've read the magazines.

I've seen the interviews.

Hell, I've written the stories.

Closeted athletes are miserable.

They have thoughts of suicide, they can't perform as well as they'd like, they live in constant anxiety of being found out, and while their heterosexual teammates are out chasing skirts during road trips, they stay locked up in their hotel rooms afraid to make eye contact with anyone because the bellhop's gaydar may go off.

Get over it.

An athlete in 2007 who stays in the closet during his playing days does more to support homophobia in sports than coming out after retirement does to combat it.

Well said. The first active athlete to come out will unquestionably have a rough time of it, but can it truly be more difficult than living a lie?

I want to reiterate a point I've made here before. If you are a major league athlete living in the closet or know someone who is, I would welcome the opportunity to help him tell his story

February 06, 2007

GLBT Community 1, Snickers 0

Thanks to the outcry led by such groups as the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the homophobic Snickers ad campaign kicked off during Sunday's Super Bowl has been scrapped.

The ad itself didn't bother me--I thought it showed just how ignorant homophobia can be--but the alternate endings on the associated website and bigoted comments by players from the Super Bowl teams pushed it way over the line of satire into hatred.

This was a good win for the GLBT community, and the efforts of those who so strongly spoke out against this defamation should be commended.

February 05, 2007

More on LGBT Youth Homelessness

I posted on this issue yesterday but since then found this post on the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force web site which discusses the Task Forces's report.

Indeed, one of our critical aims and hopes is that service providers and social service agencies will see this report as a wake-up call to the crisis of homelessness among LGBT youth. Some may already work with this population and learn from one of our contributors about how to enrich an existing program. Others might know they need to reach out to LGBT youth but need additional guidance on how to do so.

While there is clearly more that can be done at the grassroots level, in the end it is not enough to beat this epidemic without additional funding and support at the federal level.

Check out the entire column by Jason Cianciotto, Research Director, Policy Institute, who makes a strong case for a combined grass roots effort to suppliment government funding to address this growing problem.

February 04, 2007

There's An Epidemic of Homeless GLBT Youth

That's what this story in The Advocate reports.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Coalition for the Homeless said gay, lesbian, and transgender youths make up at least 20%—possibly as much as 40%—of the total number of homeless and runaway youth, a fluid population that experts have estimated at 575,000 to 1.6 million each year. ''The national response to this epidemic has been nothing short of disgraceful,'' Matt Foreman, NGLTF executive director, told reporters during a teleconference.

What is the body of Christ doing to reach these young people? If they're out of the closet, I dare say the mainline denominations are doing more to create the problem than resolve it. The encouragement families receive to condemn their kids if they even show tendancies toward being gay or lesbian succeedes in sending a lot of young lives into a downward spiral, and not all of them pull out of it.

See, when fundamentalists say, "hate the sin, love the sinner," the hate usually overwhelms the love. Most humans are not good enough to actually pull that off and make someone feel loved. Hate, however, we're pretty good at.

Jesus, on the other hand, just loved. So should we.