Gender discrimination in the Olympics...male told he cant compete...poor guy!

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    Aug 18, 2008 12:44 PM GMT
    Kenyon Smith, a male synchronized swimmer in a sport dominated by women.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/sports/2008/08/07/out.of.sync.cnn

    The Olympics are homophobic...like they refused the Gay Games from being called Gay Olympics, but allow the Special Olympics.
  • VinBaltimore

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    Aug 18, 2008 1:51 PM GMT
    Actually, I think the Olympics were worried that if there was a Gay Olympics it will be impossible to distinguish between the two. icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 18, 2008 3:12 PM GMT
    Except for the extra criteria of hotness on the judge's cards. ROFL
  • groundcombat

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    Aug 18, 2008 3:30 PM GMT
    While I'm all for social networking and promoting gay activity outside of drugs, sex, and bars, we don't need a "Gay Olympics." Gays should be in the Olympics with everyone else. That's kind of the point. What's next the White Olympics?
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    Aug 18, 2008 3:38 PM GMT
    groundcombat saidWhile I'm all for social networking and promoting gay activity outside of drugs, sex, and bars, we don't need a "Gay Olympics." Gays should be in the Olympics with everyone else. That's kind of the point. What's next the White Olympics?

    We've got a "gay olympics." It's called the Gay Games.
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    Aug 18, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    Caslon6000 said
    The Olympics are homophobic...like they refused the Gay Games from being called Gay Olympics, but allow the Special Olympics.


    They never said he was gay. He is being excluded from a womens sport because he is male.
    There shouldn't be a "gay" Olympics. That rings of "seperate but equal" segregation.
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    Aug 18, 2008 3:50 PM GMT
    A "Gay Olympics" or "Gay Games" seems just as discriminatory to me (or possibly more so.) I wonder what people would say f we had a "Straight Olympics."

    And as for this guy, if he's the only male in the sport who is he going to compete against? Generally sporting events are split into male/female.
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    Aug 18, 2008 4:30 PM GMT
    Caslon6000 said
    The Olympics are homophobic...like they refused the Gay Games from being called Gay Olympics, but allow the Special Olympics.


    I don't think that particularly has anything to do with gay issues. The US Olympic Committee went on a legal rampage a few years ago and tried to claim exclusive use of the word. They actually had lawyers sending threatening letters to every business on the Olympic Peninsula that used the word. Presumably, the next step would have been to force the state to change the name of the capitol. I think most people just quietly ignored it and and the issue went away. They might bully one or two people, but taking on everyone would have backfired on them.

    Anyway, what about girls in wrestling? In our state, a few of them get onto high school teams, but eventually they always get banned... when they start winning. Would you wrestle a woman in your weight class?
  • groundcombat

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    Aug 18, 2008 4:44 PM GMT
    When I was in high school in Michigan, girls were allowed to wrestle with the boys. There were two teams in the division that had girls on their wrestling team. I never wrestled either because they were never in my weight class. They actually had an advantage in some cases because girls get more "bang for their buck" at that age when weight is a consideration. High school and especially middle school boys usually have little to show for their weight while girls generally get more size for fewer pounds. I think I remember reading something about how they athletically develop sooner than males too (or perhaps I was just making excuses as to why my sister used to be able to beat me up).

    Given the choice, I absolutely would wrestle a girl. And after I pinned her, I'd shake her hand and tell her not to get discouraged icon_smile.gif.
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    Aug 18, 2008 4:47 PM GMT
    I read an article on this guy and he actually isn't gay >> there is, however, a team of eight gay synchronized swimmers in San Francisco.

    What the Olympic people say is that it would be unfair for men and women to compete together, although men and women can compete against each other in the U.S.

    So it's a sexist thing, not a homophobic one.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Aug 18, 2008 4:59 PM GMT
    I don't see how banning a man from participating in a woman's sport is homophobic. If there were sufficient interest among men in competing to have a pool of mixed pair teams, or all male teams, we would likely have such in the Olympics. As it is, the number of interested entrants is too small to support such an event. The same thing applies to a male gymnast who wants to compete on the balance beam or a female gymnast who wants to compete on the rings.

    Going after people who use the word Olympics in an athletic contest is pretty much required for the IOC. Otherwise, they run the risk of having the word Olympics deemed no longer deserving of copyright/trademark protection, as has already essentially happened to Kleenex.

    Also, let's be fair. Gay people can compete in the regular Olympics. Witness the fact that there are known gay individuals in the ones going on in Beijing. The Special Olympics and Paralympics are different. In the former case, it's the mentally retarded who are eligible, and their condition pretty much means they would never make it to the Olympics. In the latter case, the underlying physical disability makes a direct competition inherently uneven (running a marathon versus rolling a wheelchair through a marathon will be inherently unequal. Wheels are a big difference) even when it doesn't make it outright impossible. Being gay doesn't have the same sort of impact on your ability to play tennis as having Down Syndrome or being an amputee does. Thus, we don't have to have a Gay Olympics in order for gay people to have a fair chance at an athletic competition.
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    Aug 18, 2008 5:01 PM GMT
    The reason there are Gay Games in addition to The Olympics is that the participants of the Gay Games are all out. They are not living in the fear of discovers, shame, whatever of the closet/DL/etc. Look at the hubbub over Louganis or that Australian diver to remind you of why there might be challenges for 'sexuality honest' athletes to compete in the Olympics.

  • Aug 18, 2008 5:19 PM GMT
    groundcombat saidWhile I'm all for social networking and promoting gay activity outside of drugs, sex, and bars, we don't need a "Gay Olympics." Gays should be in the Olympics with everyone else. That's kind of the point. What's next the White Olympics?


    i will probably get slammed in the bad way, lol but.....

    okay so would you agree that its fair to have something called miss black america? because as i see it that seems a bit racist, i dont recall anything called miss caucasian america (and if there was trust that people would bitch). my point here is you used white olympics, i agree that even a gay olympics would be weird, more the whole okay prove your gay..........that would actually be interesting.

    no i dont give a hoot about a miss mexican ameria or latin america or anything like that, i'm just wondering what people think about quotes like this.
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    Aug 18, 2008 5:38 PM GMT
    The Gay Games don't discriminate, regardless of the name. It says so specifically in their by-laws. Gay, straight, bi, transgendered.

    It started in a time when gays were discriminated against back with Tom Waddel. Maybe it is not so necessary now, but I remember when it was.

    The Olympics used the argument that they had to protect the use of the name, like Kleenex, or lose the copyright. It just didn't help their argument that in the same year that the gay group tried to use the name and they fought against it, they did not fight the Firefighters Olympics, the Police Olympics and yes, even the Rat Olympics where rodents competed in events. They only fought the gay group. Their right, I guess, but it was hard for them to take some moral high ground.

    How many athletes are competing in the Olympics this year? How many are openly gay? Think they are the only gay ones? We have come a long way but maybe not as far as we need to be. Sports are still homophobic, unfortunately. Even in figure skating, judges frown on effeminant skaters, even the gay judges. Most of whom are closeted and maybe it hits too close to home. Just a guess, but I have heard it from both straight and gay skaters enough to believe it.
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    Aug 18, 2008 5:52 PM GMT
    MSUBionerd-

    I generally agree with you. Being gay does not affect your ability one way or the other. In sports like powerlifting, track and field, ect. were there is an objective win or lose criteria it shouldn't matter. But many sports are judged on subjective criteria such as gymnastics, skating, diving, ect. Unfortunately, I still thinks it plays into judging, or I should say it can. Old school closeted gays that don't like "out" athletes. But as that generation of coaches and judges are moving on and younger coaches and judges are moving in I think it becomes less important.

    There is a pretty good book called "On Edge" by former Olympic skater and Olympic-level judge Jon Jackson where he pretty well stated that it was a fact of life and not well-hidden. Greg Louganis said the same thing occured in diving.

    But, like I said, times are changing and I think it is becoming less so.
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    Aug 18, 2008 5:55 PM GMT
    Why the fuck would they claim exclusive intellectual rights on the term 'Olympics'?

    It's from the Greeks and not their invention. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 18, 2008 5:55 PM GMT
    Triggerman saidOld school closeted gays that don't like "out" athletes. But as that generation of coaches and judges are moving on and younger coaches and judges are moving in I think it becomes less important.

    There is a pretty good book called "On Edge" by former Olympic skater and Olympic-level judge Jon Jackson where he pretty well stated that it was a fact of life and not well-hidden. Greg Louganis said the same thing occured in diving.

    But, like I said, times are changing and I think it is becoming less so.


    This example speaks to so much about why the gay rights movement is so important. Self-loathing is a rotten condition that spreads across people like gangrene.
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    Aug 18, 2008 5:59 PM GMT
    I read that article about Kenyon Smith. I guess I only reason I feel he should be allowed to compete is because being a male is not a physical advantage in synchronized swimming. But then again, I really do not "get" synchronized swimming anyway. I have seen it and I could not tell you who was good and who was horrible. It all looks like an old Busby Berkely movie to me. (OK, I just really dated myself).
  • MSUBioNerd

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    Aug 18, 2008 6:52 PM GMT
    It's possible to be surprised by sex differences in sports. The Olympics feature separate men's and women's competitions in shooting, which seems so much less likely to have substantial physical differences in the sexes to me. As far as synchronized swimming, I'd imagine possible differences in terms of lung capacity, how far out of the water the swimmer can be propelled, etc. The only sports I can think of in the Olympics where gender isn't an issue are the equestrian events, where teams are often made of variable numbers of men and women, and sailing. Sailing's the more surprising one to me, where I would imagine strength would be a big factor in adjusting sails rapidly. As for the equestrian events, well...I've always felt that the horse was more of the athlete than the rider. Any event where some of the top competitors in the world are in their 60s and compete wearing top hats strikes me as not particularly athletic.

    And, yes, I realize there are mixed doubles in some racket sports, but that's a different matter. When a team is defined as one male and one female, gender is inherently an issue.
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    Aug 18, 2008 7:01 PM GMT
    Sedative saidWhy the fuck would they claim exclusive intellectual rights on the term 'Olympics'?

    It's from the Greeks and not their invention. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Nike much?
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    Aug 18, 2008 7:03 PM GMT
    Rune saidA "Gay Olympics" or "Gay Games" seems just as discriminatory to me (or possibly more so.) I wonder what people would say f we had a "Straight Olympics."

    And as for this guy, if he's the only male in the sport who is he going to compete against? Generally sporting events are split into male/female.



    Exactly!
  • MSUBioNerd

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    Aug 18, 2008 7:03 PM GMT
    And, while I agree with you, Triggerman, that it could be more of an issue in the more subjective sports, isn't it curious how most of those are the very sports where a man is most expected to be gay?

    There are a ton of subjective biases in the acrobatic sports but I admit I enjoy watching acrobats and thus still enjoy them. I think most of the Olympic sports, though, are pretty objective. There's very little judging involved in track, swimming, weightlifting, archery, rowing, etc, and while officiating is part of the team sports like basketball and even some individual sports like tennis, it's fairly transparent, and biases based on national origin most likely swamp any involved in sexual orientation. Gymnastics and figure skating seem the most open to such problems - I've always thought diving seemed the most objective of the inherent subjective sports, because a bad dive gets an execution score in the neighborhood of a 3 out of 10, while a bad gymnastics routine got (in the old days) an 8.9 for the men or a 9.3 for the women, and these days gets, oh, a 13. And yet these are the same sports that are perceived to be the most open to gay men. I wonder how much of a bias is actually present in these, as opposed to what is perceived either to us outsiders or to the athletes who write about it.
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    Aug 18, 2008 7:14 PM GMT
    blink777 said
    Sedative saidWhy the fuck would they claim exclusive intellectual rights on the term 'Olympics'?

    It's from the Greeks and not their invention. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Nike much?


    Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες icon_wink.gif
  • MikePhilPerez

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    Aug 18, 2008 9:33 PM GMT
    groundcombat saidWhile I'm all for social networking and promoting gay activity outside of drugs, sex, and bars, we don't need a "Gay Olympics." Gays should be in the Olympics with everyone else. That's kind of the point. What's next the White Olympics?


    I have to agree.
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    Aug 19, 2008 3:29 AM GMT
    Gay Games

    The Gay Games is the world's largest sporting and cultural event organized by and specifically for LGBT athletes, artists, musicians, and others. Originally called the Gay Olympics, it was started in San Francisco in 1982, as the brainchild of Tom Waddell, whose goals were to promote the spirit of inclusion and participation, as well as the pursuit of personal growth in a sporting event.

    The Gay Games is open to all who wish to participate, without regard to sexual orientation. There are no qualifying standards to compete in the Gay Games. It brings together people from all over the world, many from countries where homosexuality remains illegal and hidden.

    The Federation of Gay Games is the sanctioning body of the Gay Games. From its statement of concept and purpose:

    The purpose of the Federation of Gay Games is to foster and augment the self-respect of lesbians and gay men throughout the world and to engender respect and understanding from the nongay world, primarily through an organized international participatory athletic and cultural event held every four years, and commonly known as the Gay Games.[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_Games