Good long read from Deadspin, about how Athlete Ally, in getting overzealous, virtually outed Gordon while he was preparing to come out publicly (this was after his family and teammates were told):
Deadspin"We have been privy to confidential info," read the email, sent to UMass administrators, coaches, even some of Gordon's fellow students. "A UMass basketball player is coming out as gay next week."
When John Sinnett, UMass's associate director of media relations, received the email, he was in the midst of balancing Gordon's wish for secrecy with the need to prepare for the coming press storm. Sinnett was aghast: "Were they really going to people and telling them Derrick is gay before he's ready to come out?"
There was general bafflement in the UMass athletics department, not to mention anger among those who were walking Gordon through the most trying time of his life. But for Gordon himself, more than anything else, the email hurt. It had been forwarded to him by a UMass administrator, and Gordon showed it to his mentor Anthony Nicodemo, a recently out high school basketball coach who had spent months with Gordon trying to prepare him for the spotlight, always assuring him that his coming out would happen only on his terms. Gordon had one question for Nicodemo: "Why would they do this?"
Athlete Ally's actions exposed a rift that led to the ousting (I'm guessing, temporarily) of the group from the recently-organized LGBT Sports Coalition. The org had a relationship with UMass students/staff already, and looked to take advantage of that, but didn't coordinate well with Coalition members in advance of their e-mails to UMass athletic department officials, specifically some who didn't know (and weren't expected to know, yet).
Through admins forwarding Athlete Ally's e-mail to figure out who in the department already knew about the situation, UMass staffers and some student interns found out a player on the hoops team was coming out soon, opening up unnecessary speculation. The fallout from what appeared, to Gordon, to be an intentional leak compromised his relationship with individuals he entrusted to keep his coming out process a momentary secret.
Hudson Taylor and the Athlete Ally board just need to reconfigure their external communication procedures. And the LGBT Sports Coalition needs to either consolidate (and include their straight allies in the consolidation) or greatly improve their coordination practices when they're apprised of an athlete like Gordon wanting to come out but on his/her own terms.
I think Athlete Ally goofed bigtime, but in an electronic information age, it's The New Normal whenever an individual in the public eye (athlete, celebrity, politician, media member, etc.) begins the coming out process. Someone, somewhere, is going to spill the beans thinking that, because they now personally know, everyone already knows, or should know as well.
Related: Last fall, Patrick Burke stepped aside as the director of You Can Play, and encouraged straight athletic allies to begin to move out of the media spotlight, in deference to already out LGBT athletes.http://www.outsports.com/2013/11/7/5076086/straight-allies-lgbt-sports-movement
Patrick Burke, via OutsportsPutting it in sports terms, the men's professional sports world has named Burke, McQuade, and Taylor the starters. Billy Bean, Jason Collins, David Testo, Robbie Rogers, Esera Tuaolo, Dave Kopay, Kwame Harris and John Amaechi have all been put on the second team. With a growing number of out athletes in every sport, there are LGBT athletes ready, willing, and able to speak on their own behalf. Why am I explaining what it must feel like to be a gay athlete when I am surrounded by dozens of gay athletes more than capable of sharing their own stories? Where are our gay voices, and why are we suffocating them?