Discrimination lawsuit in gay softball world series

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    May 11, 2010 9:44 AM GMT
    http://www.examiner.com/x-17829-Bisexual-Examiner~y2010m4d24-Gay-softball-league-sued-for-discrimination-against-bisexual-ballplayers

    Gay softball league sued for discrimination against bisexual ballplayers
    (Not the first instance, apparently:
    http://sfist.com/2010/04/23/softball.php)

    The National Center for Lesbian Rights filed suit this week against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA: organization that puts on the Gay Softball World Series) for discrimination against three bisexual ballplayers and their team after a one and a half year fight to settle the case.

    It’s really unheard of for one LGBT organization to sue another for discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the discrimination against the bi ballplayers was so blatant and outrageous that NCLR felt they had no choice but to sue, after all attempts to settle the case were rejected by NAGAAA.

    Ironically, the discrimination visited upon Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles, Jon Russ and their team was against NAGAAA’s own anti-discrimination policy, clearly stated in their website’s welcome statement that their activities are “for all persons regardless of age, sexual orientation or preference, with special emphasis on the participation of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.”

    D2, a softball team from San Francisco, had been playing together for seven or eight years but had been a losing team. In 2008 they got tired of losing and were determined to become winners by stepping up their game. They trained and practiced very hard all year in hopes of winning the Gay Softball World Series.

    Their hard work paid off. At the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, held in Seattle, they won so many games they made it all the way to the championship game. But during the playoffs, the last team D2 beat prior to their championship game were pissed off about losing and lodged a protest. The opposing team charged there were too many heterosexual players on D2’s team and therefore the team should be disqualified and their wins thrown out. Despite NAGAAA’s non-discrimination policy on their website, they have a two heterosexual player rule per team for Gay Softball World Series games. Apparently presuming that being heterosexual makes you a better ballplayer…an odd assumption for a gay athletic league to make in the first place. Especially one that’s been around over 30 years.

    So teams that are inclusive of whoever wants to play during their practice and local games are confronted with this discriminatory rule when they participate in the Gay Softball World Series and are forced to start discriminating against members of their own team, if they are straight, even those who were founding members of the team. In this case, D2 had several bisexual players, so they should have been in the clear, even of the questionable heterosexual quota.

    D2 was informed before their final game for the championship, that they would be called into a hearing right after the game, questioning the legitimacy of all their winning games in the Series. Under this additional stress, they lost the championship but still scored second place for the Series.

    Immediately following the game, five of D2’s players, accused of being hetero, and their coach were called into a hearing. They were interrogated by a panel of six judges about their sexual orientation, to determine if they were “gay or non-gay” but were not allowed to claim bisexuality. The hearing was not even held in private, but a crowd of 25 strangers were allowed to wander in to watch the players being grilled in a humiliating and invasive fashion.

    Five players from the D2 team, accused of being straight, were forced to declare whether their predominant sexual interest was in members of the same sex or whether their predominant sexual interest was in members of the opposite sex. NAGAAA’s judging panel refused to entertain the idea that the players could be bisexual. In response to a player’s statement that he was attracted to both men and women, an NAGAAA member responded, “This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.” The player was judged non-gay and was disqualified.

    Another refused to answer on the grounds that the questions were offensive and none of their business. He was judged “non-gay” and was disqualified. Three of the five players in question were disqualified. Not coincidentally, all three were men of color. The predominantly white judges did not disqualify the two white players, even though one gave an answer that was identical to the answer one of the disqualified men of color gave.

    The players judged non-gay were disqualified from the team and the team was stripped of its second place win, which was bestowed on the third place team instead. The same team that had lodged the protest against D2.

    NAGAAA, which organizes the Gay Softball World Series, has refused to change the discriminatory rule that excludes players based on sexual orientation, to apologize to Apilado, Charles, and Russ for the traumatic and humiliating public interrogation they endured, or to disavow the practice of interrogating players about their sexual orientations in protest hearings.

    “When you play softball, you never expect for anyone to corner you and ask you personal questions about who you are and what you do,” said Charles. “It was emotional for me as a coach to go in there and not only get grilled, but watch my team be put in this situation. This had me angry, had me in tears, contemplating whether I even want to be part of the league anymore after being in it since 1999. The rationale that straight players should be limited on a team because they are better athletes is wrong, and it's insulting to the many strong LGBT athletes of today. A player is a player.”
    I searched NAGAAA’s rulebook and found the “heterosexual player rule” on page 24. Rule 7.05 states, “A maximum of two Heterosexual players are permitted on a GSWS roster.” And their Softball Code has two definitions amongst all the sports terms that seem out of place but were obviously used in this case:

    “Gay - means having a predominant sexual interest in a member or members of the same sex and includes both gay men and lesbians.”

    “Heterosexual - means having a predominant sexual interest in a member or members of the opposite sex.”

    There is no definition of bisexual. And apparently, although the word bisexual and the abbreviation “LGBT” are on NAGAAA’s website, it’s for window dressing only—they don’t seem to know what those terms mean.
    According to NCLR, NAGAAA claims that their two heterosexual cap per team rule is necessary to prevent LGBT players from being subjected to homophobia from straight players. This was their excuse for not settling the case. But this seems disingenous because homophobic straight people wouldnt want to play on a queer team.
    My straight brother, as it so happens, plays on gay football and basketball teams in the Boston area. He was invited to a new local pickup football game by a gay friend of his straight best friend. The gay friend had seen an ad in Bay Windows saying something like: I'm showing up at the park on Saturday with a foottball...who wants to join me? My brother, his friend and the gay friend all showed up to play and became three of the first four or five founding members. Every week, more players showed up and they formed a team with my brother and his best buddy as the quarterbacks. However, when they entered their team in the playoffs, my brother was not allowed to play because of a similar two heterosexual per team cap that only allowed one straight guy on the field at a time. His team tried
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 1:55 PM GMT
    WHO FUCKING CARES, GET OVER YOURSELF.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 11, 2010 2:24 PM GMT
    godandsatan saidWHO FUCKING CARES, GET OVER YOURSELF.


    I hope you're referencing how hypocritical the NAGAAA is being and not the fact that no one cares about this article because discrimination against bisexual men, especially by the gay community, is an important issue and you're a douche bag for posting your response considering all the OP did was post a relevant, gay sports article on a gay fitness page. In conclusion, you're either inarticulate or plain scummy.
  • mtneerman

    Posts: 476

    May 11, 2010 4:54 PM GMT
    calibro said
    godandsatan saidWHO FUCKING CARES, GET OVER YOURSELF.


    I hope you're referencing how hypocritical the NAGAAA is being and not the fact that no one cares about this article because discrimination against bisexual men, especially by the gay community, is an important issue and you're a douche bag for posting to your response considering all the OP did was post a relevant, gay sports article on a gay fitness page. In conclusion, you're either inarticulate or plain scummy.


    all the above
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 5:29 PM GMT
    mtneerman said
    calibro said
    godandsatan saidWHO FUCKING CARES, GET OVER YOURSELF.

    I hope you're referencing how hypocritical the NAGAAA is being and not the fact that no one cares about this article because discrimination against bisexual men, especially by the gay community, is an important issue and you're a douche bag for posting to your response considering all the OP did was post a relevant, gay sports article on a gay fitness page. In conclusion, you're either inarticulate or plain scummy.

    all the above

    Ditto
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 7:13 PM GMT
    WOW!