Sports Embracing Gays With Open Arms, Minimal Wisecracks

SPORTS:

Sports can be confusing for gay people! Sometimes we love them, because they are softball or roller derby and therefore make our lesbian hearts sing. (Some of us! We don’t like to generalize.) Sometimes it’s the Olympics and like 3 or 4 of the athletes are gay and sometimes we just like to look at how hot female athletes are! Sometimes they’re uncomfortable, especially in high school, because they often mean being physically close with people of the same sex, and it’s easy (and often legitimate) to fear backlash from your teammates about your orientation – locker rooms suck sometimes! Not today, though! Today we are going to talk about great sports teams that are happy and welcoming for gay people! Let’s all hug, it’s Sunday Funday!

It’s really tough to be an athlete in a traditionally masculine/”macho” sport and come out as a gay dude, but that’s what Andrew McIntosh did! As a captain of his college lacrosse team, Andrew talked about his sexual orientation openly in an online essay. Way to go Andrew! What’s almost as inspiring is the response of McIntosh’s team: “Andrew McIntosh said he had not heard a single disparaging comment from his teammates. “I was embraced with open arms,” he said. “I had teammates come up and give me handshakes, and people saying it takes a lot of guts to do that.” McIntosh said he felt encouraged to come out after his coach reprimanded some players for using the word “gay” as a pejorative even before he knew anyone on his team identified as such. One small step for mankind, you know? (@nytimes)

It gets better, though! In South Africa, the Chosen Few are an entire soccer team composed completely of lesbians. When you think of South Africa and lesbians being covered in the news, things that come to mind are often “hate crime” and “corrective rape,” but the women at the Forum of Empowerment for Women have managed to carve out a community (and a soccer team) that allows them to support each other in safety. “The Chosen Few was launched in 2004 by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and the players say the team has become a refuge for them, in contrast to the danger and prejudice they suffer in their townships. “In the townships we get discriminated, we get raped, we get beaten up. People swear at us … FEW is my family. It is a space where I feel at home, I can be myself. We come from different backgrounds but when we come here we are one thing, we are a family,” Marumolwa said.” Also, um, they’re really good at soccer? They won bronze medals in the soccer competition at the Gay Games in Chicago in 2006 and at the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association Cup in London two years later. (@montrealgazette)

SUPPORT:

More on this in the News & Politics post on Monday, but a lesbian sociologist who specialized in study of gender and sexuality was offered a position at Marquette University (which is Catholic), only to have it rescinded, possibly because of her sexual orientation. That’s the bad news. The good news is that students aren’t going to stand for it, and have started a Facebook group in support of her which already has over 1000 members. They’ve also been granted a “Listening Session” by the administration to air their concerns. (@chicagopride)

MITRICE RICHARDSON

OMG WILL SOMEONE FINALLY DO SOMETHING IT HAS BEEN EIGHT MONTHS. We’ve been reported on this neglected case in September and honored Jasmyne Cannick as our Community Mobilizer of the Year for the work she’s done to find Jasmyne.  And at last! U.S. Representative Maxine Waters has now asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the disappearance of 25-year-old lesbian Mitrice Richardson, who has been missing since September:

Waters’ letter comes after the FBI declined a similar request because it was against their policy to investigate adult missing persons cases. Waters told the Justice Department in a letter that Richardson’s civil rights were violated by the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station staff when they released her while she was so vulnerable. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca says he welcomes a Department of Justice or any other agency investigation.

PHOTOGRAPHY:

I mean, it’s no Autostraddle Queer Prom Gallery, but it’s still pretty great: New York photographer Michael Sharkey has a new series featuring beautiful and moving portraits of LBGT teens. “….coming out (and of age) in the ’80s, as I did, proved to be quite difficult for me and many others. I’ll never forget being beaten up by a high school classmate, as I’m sure all the other kids who suffered some physical abuse because of their sexuality will not forget. It was precisely this kind of willful, painful defiance that I wanted to capture in these portraits. But what you may also see is the delight that is the domain of a new generation: the sheer joy of being able to stand up and be seen without shame.” Beautiful. (@theadvocate)

READ A F*CKING BOOK:

It’s Sunday, it’s not like you’re doing anything else! Have you read The Rubyfruit Jungle yet? How about This Bridge Called My Back? Black Women’s Manifesto? The World Split Open? What are you waiting for? Check out our Feminism 101 Book List! (@autostraddle)

GAGA:

Oh my Lady Gaga, six new songs have leaked! Actually it’s a little unclear if they’re new songs or pre-Fame songs that no one has heard before, but go check them out! She raps on one of them! (@ohnotheydidnt)

Also, um, lingerie! Fancy lingerie company Rigby and Peller lent Gaga seven sets of handmade lingerie to wear in a new music video (Alejandro? Probably? Maybe?), but she only managed to get three of them back to the company in time for their fashion show. Lady Gaga’s people gave no comment. I bet she looks hot in them. (@mirror)

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1127 articles for us.

8 Comments

  1. It’s crazy that the fortunes of South Africas gays are so contrasting, while on the one hand gay marriage is completely legal there, they also have to deal with gangs of men roaming around looking for lesbians and raping them to “correct” them. And it’s not like gay marriage is a new thing there either, some people will never stop being bigoted I suppose. Im still looking forward to going there next Saturday, it’s so soon, yes!

  2. Futsal (indoor soccer) was a BIG thing for Malaysian lesbians. There even was a futsal movie, though no mention of homosexuality (this was before the “ok you can have gay people in movies AS LONG AS THEY REPENT & TURN STRAIGHT” thing) which was good fun!

  3. I have played competitive sports all my life (mainly hockey). When I was younger playing on an all female teams I felt coming out was defiantly not an option but when I started to play on boys teams it was not even an issue with them (probably because it gave us some common ground). However if any of the boys on the team said they were gay they would have been shunned for sure. It’s such and odd and hurtful dichotomy.

  4. I was a synchronized swimmer in high school (IT’S AWESOME SHUT UP) and even though there was another queer chick on our team, I still wasn’t out to my teammates. :/ (Our team was kind of non-standard, though… I can’t imagine having been out on the first team I swam with.)

  5. Great news. Progress in the sporting world is so needed obvs and it is great to hear some happy/encouraging stories.

    I grew up playing competitive softball in Vancouver (played until I destroyed my knee in a botched slide that I will never forgive myself for ever) and obviously that was not a very homophobic sporting environment. But my best friend plays competitive (national level) soccer and he cannot imagine a scenario in the near future where he will feel safe coming out to his teammates. He said that rarely do 30 minutes pass without at least one homophobic remark made, on or off the field. WTF male soccer.

    But we’re making strides.

  6. When I was sixteenish and thinking about coming out, one of my organization’s karate sensei’s – who was already my favourite person and a huge role model just by being a black woman kicking ass, running a karate club, getting highly educated and just generally overcoming an immense boatload of crap- came out. I think I would’ve waited years longer to do the same if she hadn’t.

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