Gay sports men should not go public

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trebor
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Gay sports men should not go public

Postby trebor » Thu May 20, 2010 10:58 am UTC

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/s ... 5868871934

A prominant AFL player has recently made comments about gay sports men, and urged them not to declare their sexuality as the 'sport may not be ready to cope with homosexual players'

Football clubs are very different environments. Locker room nudity is an everyday part of our lives and unlike any other work place. I believe it would cause discomfort in that environment should someone declare himself gay.

I have played with a gay player in the twos for Mayne in Queensland in the mid-1990s who was happy to admit his sexual persuasion. He was a great guy who played his heart out and was respected by everyone in the team.

The only time I noticed a difference was when I was showering with 10 other players after a good win and I turned around to see all 10 heading out in a second with their towels. Sure enough, our gay teammate had wandered in.

For some reason I felt uncomfortable, so I left. I am sure most players these days would do the same.


In an athletic environment the rules are different from the cultural rules for men.

Never in a mall will you see two straight men hugging, a--- slapping and jumping around like kids after an important goal.

Locker room nudity and homoerotic activities are normal inside footy clubs.


Young people from the ages 15-24 are the main participants in organised sport in Victoria. Some of them must be gay and I hope they thoroughly enjoy their sporting lives without having to experience any form of prejudice.

But if they are thinking of telling the world, my advice would be forget it.


I personally don't agree with the notion that if a player was homosexual and they chose to make it public knowledge that they shouldn't. However some interesting points are made, and I do agree most sporting instutions are ill equiped to handle homosexual players.

Some points I believe are debatable:
-Is allowing gay players into locker rooms where nudity the norm allowable? is it different than a female in the mens locker room or a male in the females locker room?
-Should a player coming public with their sexuality be national news? Should it cause such a fuss?
-Does it even matter what a players sexuality is? A number of players are bound to be gay and it hasn't mattered so far?
-Are homosexual players in female sport really accepted? or is less attention payed to female sports as a whole?

In women's sport - tennis, golf, cricket, hockey and soccer - being gay carries no stigma. But men's sport is well behind in acceptance.

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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu May 20, 2010 12:04 pm UTC

I don't think there's a problem, with gay people in locker rooms, I've always looked on it like they're an ugly woman I'm not attracted to them, if they're attracted to me I don't lose snything.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu May 20, 2010 12:04 pm UTC

Just wanted to point something out:
trebor wrote:-Is allowing gay players into locker rooms where nudity the norm allowable?
...
-Does it even matter what a players sexuality is? A number of players are bound to be gay and it hasn't mattered so far?

Well, yes, obviously it is allowable, and clearly it doesn't matter. You refuted your own first question (which wasn't any good anyway, it's the exact same as a common argument for DADT in the US military, and it requires you to ignore the fact that there are already gay soldiers/athletes. or at least, there are probably gay athletes) with your third.

Let me clarify: it doesn't matter to the sport - obviously gay players are just as capable. Or to the team, or if it would matter to the team if a given person was gay it's their teammates' problem, not theirs. Just as obviously, it does matter to this columnist who doesn't want gay people ruining his sports. All his other reasons make lousy chaff. Can't have sports teams getting publicity! Yeah, if you buy that I've got some oceanfront property in Nevada to sell you. Or if that's not your thing, some beautiful mountainside plots in Iowa.

But they're not important on this subject. A gay athlete's sexuality is important for the same reason that a minority elected official or other leader's race (Obama, Marshall, Sotomayor), gender (O'Connor), sexuality (Milk, Frank), or other minority trait is important. It's a symbol of another way that bigotry has been overcome.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby EmptySet » Thu May 20, 2010 1:17 pm UTC

In related news today, Victoria University released this study on homophobia in sport, Sydney coach Paul Roos and captain Adam Goodes say Aker's comments are ridiculous, and Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade distances his club from Akermanis' comments while speaking at the launch of the VU study, as part of the AFL's recent gestures towards being gay-friendly. Also gay Olympic swimmer Danial Kowalski is not happy.

So, anyway. Akermanis has always been a bit of a jackass, so his being a homophobic jerk doesn't particularly surprise me. It is nice to see that some coaches and AFL officials are saying clearly and publicly that gay players should be accepted and that Aker's comments are not the kind of attitude they wish to encourage.

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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Vaniver » Sat May 22, 2010 3:34 pm UTC

I find myself mostly agreeing with the article, and find it heartening that it's a "you might make your teammates a little uncomfortable" instead of "you ought to fear for your safety or career." I think the multiple coaches are right on that the league doesn't care, and that the coaches would be supportive, but there really isn't much you can do about introducing gay guys to a homoerotic culture of straight guys. A friendly ass slap isn't friendly anymore.

How much is that a part of team cohesion? I don't think it's all that much, and I think a team will be fine with gay players. I share Akerloff's stated hope that it gets to the point where coming out isn't a big deal- but I think he misses the point that that's not going to happen unless gay players start coming out. If the burden is too much for one individual to bear, why not pick a date in a year or so and suggest that multiple people come out then?
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat May 22, 2010 3:47 pm UTC

Your avatar looks ten times as devilish with that postcount.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Vaniver » Sat May 22, 2010 4:00 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Your avatar looks ten times as devilish with that postcount.
Indeed!
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby WaterToFire » Sat May 22, 2010 6:10 pm UTC

And there, you went and ruined it :P

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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Vaniver » Sat May 22, 2010 7:43 pm UTC

WaterToFire wrote:And there, you went and ruined it :P
I suspect it was 6660 at the time he posted, so I haven't ruined it quite yet. But I doubt it will be much longer.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby WaterToFire » Sun May 23, 2010 3:48 am UTC

Ah. When I read the post your post count was 6667, so I assumed he had made that comment when it was 6666.

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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Devoni » Sun May 23, 2010 5:44 am UTC

I can understand what he's trying to convey and also believe that he's correct in saying some athletes would feel uncomfortable having a known gay player 'in their midst'. But I disagree with the conclusion of not outing themselves. It seems like their should be more importance placed on refuting the notions of those that are uncomfortable by bringing this out into the open rather than staying quiet and letting misconceptions brew. The 'problem' won't be addressed until it's brought to the fore. Although it would probably be a few rough weeks for the first to out themselves in the AFL with a myriad of opinion pieces and interviews about something which really shouldn't matter. Not to mention more, shall I say, 'targeted' taunts through matches.

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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Mot » Sun May 23, 2010 8:33 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:A friendly ass slap isn't friendly anymore.


Or perhaps it's too friendly? ;-)

This reminds me of the time a few years back when there was a similar issue in our res about gays in res and how to deal with the "situation". We also had communal showers so that was a big part of the issue. I believe it's the same mentality applied here. ("I don't wanna shower with no homogay, he'll look at my winky" was a common concern.) In our case it was mostly bunch of bigoted idiots causing a commotion and calling for separate housing for gay and straight students.

The gay teammate isn't standing in the shower with a massive erection after every game, else people would know something's up (excuse the pun). So obviously he can control himself and not start to masturbate or rape his teammates in the shower all of a sudden. It's ridiculous.

I can understand if they feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but its really not like hes never seen a penis before in his life.

Also they should remember that it might be awkward or uncomfortable for the homosexual players as well. This is apparently unimportant.

I agree that a much better way to deal with it is for the team to discuss any issues someone has, rather than staying in the closet.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby JoeKhol » Sun May 23, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

It seems to me that he has been very clever to spin this to make it sound positive while at the same time saying that his homophobia (apparently shared by a number of his colleagues) isn't the problem but the players being (known to be) homosexual that is. His solution to the problem isn't to do anything to deal with the homophobia - he appears to accept it as normal in the environment - but to continue to force homosexual players to live a lie.

What I find very strange is the reference to "homoerotic activities" in sport. Me hugging another man to celebrate winning a game and standing next to him in the shower aren't sexual acts so how can they be homoerotic?

As with all other areas, bringing it the recognition and acceptance than some people are homosexual isn't going to be easy but that is the worst possible reason not to do it.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun May 23, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

JoeKhol wrote:What I find very strange is the reference to "homoerotic activities" in sport. Me hugging another man to celebrate winning a game and standing next to him in the shower aren't sexual acts so how can they be homoerotic?

Actually this is a topic I have put some thought to recently. That is, there is a tendency amongst my friends to engage in explicitly homoerotic behaviour, especially when we're out and drunk, such as faux-humping each other, declaring our love for each other, propositioning each other with sex: we're all, near as I can tell, heterosexual. I like to think of it as positive behaviour. That is, we're declaring our stance against homophobia, but then...

A friend of mine is in the Royal Army, and he's told me stories about what goes on there. Like the game "Naked Bar". What happens in "Naked Bar" is when they're all out at a bar someone yells, "Naked bar!", and every off-duty soldier in the bar takes off all their clothes. So, in a matter of moments, there are suddenly a dozen-or-so naked men in a pub. They'll also play a game called "Stiffy". He told me about the time he played. Essentially, two men fondle each other's genitalia until one gets an erection.

"So," I asked him at the time, "Did you win?"

"Mate," he replied. "No one wins."

Most tellingly, he said that, "In the army, to prove you aren't gay, you have to do the gayest shit". The 'ultimate' game is "Gay Chicken", where two (nominally heterosexual) men must make an advance on each other, in turn, until one gives up. That is, one pets, the second kisses skin, the first kisses lips, the second grabs genitals... until one quits. It can go one for quite some time.

So, there is this anti-homophobia dimension to heterosexual, homoerotic behaviour, and there is also this anti-homosexual, homoerotic behaviour. Outside of the army, I have also heard of tales of the latter in football clubs, where men will constantly see one another's genitals, but there is this stance that homosexuality is not okay. It is a strange contradiction, where homosexuality is both a concern, and something you must participate in as a parody of homosexuality. It is like Blackface, or something. You had people mocking African Americans by applying make-up to appear as caricatures of them, and, also, although a little later, people paying homage to African Americans by doing the exact same thing. I wonder if others have thoughts to contribute on this.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Vaniver » Sun May 23, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:I wonder if others have thoughts to contribute on this.
Gay chicken is really common among many college guys I know, but not my close friends. People generally didn't play it with me, which I suspect is due to my serious nature, but over the last semester I was part of a play where homoeroticism was really common among the cast, and as far as I know the rest of the guys are all straight. I wasn't out to any of the male cast members since I didn't know any of them previously, naturally blend, none of them were facebook friends with me until the end of the semester, and none of them asked- and so it was a sort of odd experience, with guys propositioning me to dance or to kiss me or other things. Would they have been willing to do that if they knew I was willing (well, for some of them) to take it further? It seems like the "let's insult each other to show how strong our friendship is" behavior- it's "let's attempt to arouse each other to show how unaroused we are by each other." I mean, would you drunkenly proposition your drunk gay friend for sex? Or could that go someplace you don't want it to go rather quickly?

If someone wins at stiffy, you're not going to play with him again. Unless you win too, I suppose.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Nordic Einar » Sun May 23, 2010 10:51 pm UTC

To be fair, plenty of my straight male friends play gay chicken with some of the openly gay members of our GSA; but with straight allies, YMMV. I'm not sure that's indicative of much.

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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Mot » Sun May 23, 2010 11:52 pm UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:To be fair, plenty of my straight male friends play gay chicken with some of the openly gay members of our GSA; but with straight allies, YMMV. I'm not sure that's indicative of much.


How sure are you they are straight? I mean, how do you play gay chicken with an openly gay person and not lose? (unless you are in fact also gay in which case both win, I guess)
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon May 24, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Mot wrote:
Nordic Einar wrote:To be fair, plenty of my straight male friends play gay chicken with some of the openly gay members of our GSA; but with straight allies, YMMV. I'm not sure that's indicative of much.

How sure are you they are straight? I mean, how do you play gay chicken with an openly gay person and not lose? (unless you are in fact also gay in which case both win, I guess)
Not all straight guys maintain proper hygiene?

Vaniver wrote:It seems like the "let's insult each other to show how strong our friendship is" behavior- it's "let's attempt to arouse each other to show how unaroused we are by each other."
I'm not 100% sure how to parse this (I think you accidentally left out a word), but I do agree it may be more of the latter than the former, which isn't really a positive thing. As you said, it may be a way to sniff out the guy who "loses" at stiffy too quickly. "I am going to subject myself to explicitly homosexual activities, and not get aroused, to prove how heterosexual I am." And, really, that's a little bit not-cool.

But, I still maintain that amongst my friends, homoerotic behaviour is not about trying to reveal the homosexual guy. That it is a bonding exercise without any homophobic element to it. But then I can't prove that.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Mot » Mon May 24, 2010 4:08 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Mot wrote:
Nordic Einar wrote:To be fair, plenty of my straight male friends play gay chicken with some of the openly gay members of our GSA; but with straight allies, YMMV. I'm not sure that's indicative of much.

How sure are you they are straight? I mean, how do you play gay chicken with an openly gay person and not lose? (unless you are in fact also gay in which case both win, I guess)
Not all straight guys maintain proper hygiene?


Good point. I guess some are ugly as well.
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby Griffin » Mon May 24, 2010 4:18 am UTC

How sure are you they are straight? I mean, how do you play gay chicken with an openly gay person and not lose?


As mentioned before, these games are definitely not about winning. :P

To expound upon this, I know straight guys who essentially play what amounts to "Chicken" with a certain group of other straight girls. It is... really weird, actually, and hard to describe. The whole thing is incredibly complicated. Mostly, it seems you "lose" if you ever stop making out "ironically" and start doing it for real. At which point the other player should instantly back off to prove they have won.

So imagine playing with a gay guy would be sort of a combination of gay chicken and that. Who knows, though?
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Re: Gay sports men should not go public

Postby JoeKhol » Mon May 24, 2010 6:49 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:I like to think of it as positive behaviour. That is, we're declaring our stance against homophobia, but then...
I'm sure you'd like to think that.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:So, in a matter of moments, there are suddenly a dozen-or-so naked men in a pub.
What does being naked in public have to do with sexuality? That just sounds like an embarrassment challenge.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Most tellingly, he said that, "In the army, to prove you aren't gay, you have to do the gayest shit".
Exactly. The point is to prove you're not gay because being gay is being perceived as a bad thing. Rather than deal with the problem of the perception of homosexuals, the commonly accepted "solution" is to make sure you filter out those gay men.

I think the article in the OP is, if only subconsciously (though sadly I'm not sure), an attempt to do that. Forcing gay players to live a lie will only discourage them from playing at all. From the homophobes point of view, that's a solution.
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