Showing posts with label Gay in Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay in Sports. Show all posts

February 20, 2017

Professional Racing Driver Danny Watts Comes Out Gay

 Professional Racing Driver Danny Watts

The 37-year-old star has told his fans that he identifies as gay after years of struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.

The professional racing driver – who recently retired from the sport – revealed that he felt he had to keep his true self hidden while competing in the largely macho world of motor racing.

“There isn’t any one moment that stands out in my mind as the moment I realized I would need to live in the closet if I wanted my motor sport career to go anywhere; it was just a general feeling I got,” Danny explained.

“There were enough gay jokes and homophobic slurs to go around, and I felt like if I lifted my head out of the trenches, I’d be immediately annihilated.

“All the other guys in the paddock had girlfriends, so I got one to blend in. When that relationship ended, I got another one, and so I continued pretending to be straight for seventeen years.

“I knew from quite young that I preferred gay porn to straight, but kept that side of my life hidden to avoid upsetting people in my team, people in racing, and the wider public.”

Danny admitted that he became “one of the worst of the womanisers” in an attempt to conceal his sexuality, while adding that he didn’t have any gay friends in fear that “someone would notice and connect the dots”.

“Eventually, something in me flipped, and I couldn’t keep it in any more,” he said. “I came out to my wife, who told me she’d known I was gay for ages and she was happy I’d finally come out.

“We started the process of an amicable divorce while working to create the least impact possible on our son’s life.”

He added: “From there, my ability to keep it secret slowly unravelled. I came out to more and more people in my private life, which went well for the most part.

“I even got up the courage to wear a Pride bracelet and a pendant with the gay man logo to the track, and started hanging out with the fun people who noticed and commented on my jewellery in the autograph queue.”

Danny explained that coming out to his friends and family in his immediate circle has made him feel much more comfortable with who he is, but he’s very aware of the negative reaction he could receive from some motorsport fans.

“There are trolls in the motor sport community who could very well rear their heads to try silence me, but there’s a group of researchers keeping track of my Twitter mentions as I come out to help inform other queer racers wanting to come out,” he said.

“Their opinion no longer matters to me, though. I no longer need to kow-tow to sponsors; a bad reaction no longer impacts on my ability to earn.

“My ‘coming out’ interview with a racing journalist is pending publication,” he added. “I have no idea the kind of response I’ll get to that article. I hope that there are a few people who are supportive.

“If the response I’ve had from the queer motor sport community thus far is any gauge, I feel hopeful that I’ll find a supportive group to start driving change for my queer siblings in the sport I love.”

Danny Watts enjoyed a long and successful career in professional racing driving, which included winning the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race.

February 8, 2017

He Says He Risks Nothing by ’Coming out’: College Football Player

Kyle Kurdziolek

This is a page of written by 

Kyle Kurdziolek, an all-state high school football player, faced a difficult decision.
A boy he had feelings for gave him an ultimatum — Kurdziolek needed to tell his family he was gay or they needed to stop seeing each other. No one else knew Kurdziolek’s sexuality except this guy, who lived 50 miles away.

As he thought through scenarios, Kurdziolek felt his heart race; His lungs had no air. He started gasping. His younger brother, Colin, walked in the bedroom they shared. Recognizing the panic attack, Colin guided Kyle outside to get fresh air.

Until Kyle felt calm, they sat under the stars in Streator, Ill. — the birthplace of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered the dwarf planet Pluto. Sitting about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, Kyle decided he could not tell anyone he is gay, not while living in this rural town of 13,500 people.

“After that panic attack, it really set me back wanting to tell people,” Kurdziolek said. “I didn’t want to go through that panic attack again.”
That was near the end of March 2014, which was Kurdziolek’s senior year of high school. Though Kurdziolek did not see his route to telling people he is gay, he saw a model.

On Feb. 9, 2014, Michael Sam publicly announced he is gay. Kurdziolek never heard of a football player being gay until Sam. When the St. Louis Rams drafted the Univ. of Missouri All-American and he played NFL preseason games, Kurdziolek realized he could one day be an openly gay football player.

“Seeing Michael Sam come out like that was just refreshing to me,” Kurdziolek said. “I felt comfortable that I’m not the only football player [who is gay].”
Kurdziolek, now a Univ. of St. Francis linebacker who will be a junior this fall, told his first teammate he is LGBT in May 2016, and in the nine months since, Kurdziolek found acceptance from family, teammates and coaches.

It’s been three years since Sam’s announcement, but it remains rare for an active college football player to talk publicly about being LGBT. Kurdziolek is currently believed to be the only active college football player publicly out as LGBT. He is only the fifth player ever who came while active, joining Mason Darrow, Mitch Eby, Conner Mertens, and Chip Sarafin.
Kurdziolek is also the first one with an athletic scholarship.
“I don’t feel like I’m risking anything,” Kurdziolek said. “The life I’m living right now is the dream.”

Kurdziolek’s family moved to Streator from Syracuse, N.Y., when he was in second grade. He soon joined the city’s youth football league, which allows tackling starting in second grade.
“I’ve always loved the physicality of it,” he said. “Football is my chance to alleviate any stress or pain I have within myself.”

But football caused stress, too, because it included the expectation to be straight. Dozens of times around his football teams, he overheard parents say if they had a gay son, they’d force him to be straight.

“It wasn’t very accepting in my area,” said Kurdziolek, whose own parents encouraged him and his siblings to be accepting of their gay neighbor.

Kurdziolek never dated girls, and before high school, he decided to focus his life on football and academics. He excelled in football, earning Illinois Football Coaches Association all-state honors at linebacker his senior year at Streator High School. Kurdziolek said Michigan State offered him a preferred walk-on spot on the football team, but he opted for NAIA-member University of St. Francis, where academic and athletic scholarships combined to covered his tuition.

The dual focus on school and football wavered some his senior year of high school. A boy in Bloomington, Illinois, reached out to him on Facebook. He also was gay, and Kurdziolek doesn’t know what led to him reaching out. Throughout most of his senior year, they met once a month, and Kurdziolek started to have feelings for him.

When the ultimatum came, it induced his worst panic attack and the darkest depression he’s ever felt. His mom recognized the depression and took him to a doctor who prescribed Xanax, which put him on a road to managing the depression. He also stopped talking to the Bloomington boy.

“It got better because I just wouldn’t think about me being gay,” Kurdziolek said. “For me, it’s just trying to get over that hump of realizing my purpose in life and being comfortable with who I am.”

He enrolled at St. Francis, a Catholic university, in the fall of 2014. Kurdziolek, who was raised Catholic, sees the suburban Chicago school as welcoming to LGBT students but proving he belonged on the football team took precedent over telling anyone he’s gay. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Kurdziolek redshirted his first year. His second year, he played all 11 games and recorded 33 tackles.

After two years building relationships and showing his ability, Kurdziolek felt ready to take the next step. “Everything in life was going good,” he said. “It felt like there was one piece missing, and that one piece, personally for me, it was me coming out.”

For months, Kurdziolek felt close to coming out. When a co-worker at the clothing store Buckle asked about his relationship experience, he used that moment in May 2016 to tell someone straight for the first time that he’s LGBT.

Though Kurdziolek now identifies his sexuality as gay, he initially said he was bisexual “to get comfortable in my own shoes,” Kurdziolek said.

He told family, roommates, and teammates and received only acceptance. By the time practice started in August, Kurdziolek had told about 15 of his 103 teammates. He said none changed the way they treat him, but for some, there remains a conflict.

St. Francis running back Jordon Smith considers Kurdziolek a close friend, but he grew up Catholic and believes those philosophies. “I’m going to support my friend no matter what,” Smith said. “I’m not really for the whole gay rights thing, but I’m working on evolving. I’m trying to accept it more.”

By midseason, Kurdziolek assumed most of the team knew. Telling a coach felt like the next step. In early November, he ran into graduate assistant coach Josh Mander at the library. As they talked, Kurdziolek revealed he is gay.

“I told him, ‘I love you no matter what. It doesn’t matter,’” said Mander, who will be St. Francis’ linebackers coach in 2017. “I tried to just be comforting and let him know that he had my support.”

St. Francis’ 2016 season ended Nov. 12, and he played all 11 games for a second consecutive season. His 45 tackles ranked fifth on the team, and he accomplished that while playing most of the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, requiring surgery in January.
Kurdziolek held off telling St. Francis head coach Joe Curry until the season ended. He told Curry by text message in December and feared Curry would perceive his sexuality as a problem.

“I was happy that he told me,” Curry said. “I always tell the guys, ‘We want to build a relationship with you and not just be a coach.’ … I don’t treat Kyle any different. He is part of the program … and I’m extremely happy for him.”

Curry has coached at St. Francis since 2005, and he said Kurdziolek is his first player he’s known to be gay. The 2016 season was Mander’s first year coaching, but when he played at St. Francis from 2009-13, he said he didn’t know of any gay teammates.

“A gay man playing college football, something that you don’t hear or see ever, it’s one of those taboo things within the football world,” Mander said. “You wouldn’t expect a gay player to be here, but … maybe we start something that shows kids that it’s fine. You’re OK to be out and be a member of a football team.”

Kurdziolek turned 21 on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving, and to celebrate the milestone, he planned a trip to Chicago’s gay neighborhood, Boystown. Kurdziolek made the trip with a few non-football friends and offensive lineman Tyler James.
“I had a blast,” said James, who had never been to a gay bar before Kurdziolek’s birthday. “I did something that I wouldn’t have done normally because of my friend Kyle, and I got to experience this whole new, cool atmosphere.”

Because of Thanksgiving, many of Kurdziolek’s teammates were with their families and unable to attend, making James’ attendance meaningful.
“Having him come along, it just made me feel confident about myself and the people I have around me that love me for me,” Kurdziolek said.

Since Kurdziolek started sharing he is LGBT with family and friends, his panic attacks and depression are gone. Several people said he is a happier person. James said he’s never seen Kurdziolek enjoy himself more than the trip to Boystown in their two years as friends. Boystown provided an experience that Kurdziolek thought was impossible a few years earlier sitting outside, catching his breath under the Streator sky.

“The biggest thing was that there was no judgement about who you came with, why you came, or why you were in Boystown,” Kurdziolek said. “There was no judgment.”

Kyle Kurdziolek can be reached by email at, Instagram @KKurdziolek5704, or Twitter @KKurdziolek45.
Erik Hall is a member of the Associated Press Sports Editors. He can be reached by email at, on Facebook, or Twitter @HallErik.

January 9, 2017

FA ChairmanAfter Meeting Gay Players Suggests ‘Come Out as a Group'

Greg Clarke, the Football Association chairman, has spoken to gay footballers and suggested the idea of a group of players coming out together.

Clarke said last year that he “wouldn’t recommend” a footballer coming out at the moment because of the risk they would be verbally abused, but believes several players sharing the spotlight may be the answer. “I put the message out there that if a number of top-level pros want to come out, why don’t we synchronise it? So one person doesn’t have to come out on their own,” he said in an interview with the Times newspaper.

“The Premier League, the Football League and the FA could do it at the start of the season. At the start of the season everybody thinks it is their season, the crowds are happy, the sun is shining. I was asked [recently] if football is ready for top-level pros to come out and I said I’m not sure we were.

“There was a survey which said people would support gay people in their own team, yes, but I’m worried about what they said about gay people in the other team, not that they would do bad things, but I said we should prepare well.

“I’ve been asking the gay community: ‘How can we provide more support and orchestrate it so that people get the right level of support if people want to be open about their sexuality?’. I’ve met 15 gay sports people in the last four weeks to ask their views, including footballers.

“It is very difficult to get to a representative set of gay, top-level footballers because some of them are happy with their sexuality and just don’t want anyone to know. I don’t want to be part of a process that says: ‘You’ve got to come out.’ That’s not right. People are cautious. It’s a one-way street. Once you’re out of the closet, you’re out.”

Clarke also spoke about the possibility of the next England manager coming from the BAME community. “I can see a black England manager,” he said.
Asked in particular about the Brighton manager Chris Hughton, who was born in London and played for the Republic of Ireland, Clarke replied: “Why not? It would be wonderful to see a black England manager. It would put us forward 20 years.”

He continued: “We are trying to achieve more opportunities. When I talked to Football League owners about this, I said: ‘How do you appoint managers?’ [They said]: ‘I talk to my mates, ex-players, ex-managers.’

“Who are they?’ ‘White?’ Their friends are white.

“Does that mean it would be difficult to get on your radar if you’re black?’ ‘I hadn’t thought about that.’

“It wasn’t conscious racism. But there was a realisation that: ‘Shit, we have a system that is systematically biased against black people unintentionally.’”

Clarke, meanwhile, remains optimistic about introducing a winter break into the Premier League season, but reckons England can win a major title even without one. “I am hopeful about a winter break,” he said. “It would be good for player welfare. Tired players getting injured is not morally right.

“You can get to two weeks by getting rid of a few replays, moving a few things to midweek, but medical stats show two weeks is not enough. It has to be three or four weeks to make a difference. That knocks a hell of a hole in the season.

“I think we can win a tournament without a winter break. England probably should be a consistent top-10 performer in the world, occasionally being a top-four performer, becoming a top one or two performer.” 


November 4, 2016

Hockey Player Brock McGillis Comes Out

Brock McGillis Feb 2012
Brock McGillis is a former OHL, CIS and semi-professional hockey player who now works mentoring minor hockey and junior-aged players. He shares his story of coming out with Yahoo Sports: 
For years I lived a life full of lies. Growing up in a culture of hockey – minor hockey, the Ontario Hockey League, university hockey, and semi-pro in Europe – I felt I would never be accepted. 
For years I lived a life of denial, because I am gay. 
Hockey has always been very homophobic. I can’t count the amount of times I heard phrases like: That’s gay or what a homo in the dressing room over the course of my hockey career. Words like fag, p---y, and b---h are part of the daily banter. Those words are used to belittle players, to weaken and feminize them, because hockey is hyper-masculine, meant for the manliest of men.  
From a young age, I knew I was gay. I remember being a child and watching a movie with a gay character.  I asked my parents: “Am I gay?” Their response was: “I’m not sure but if you are, you are.”
So I was fortunate to grow up in a supporting household without judgment or negativity towards homosexuality. 
That was not the case with hockey family. Hyper-masculinity and hockey go hand-in-hand, so I had to lie to fit in with my teammates. I began dating as many girls as I could to avoid being exposed. I became a womanizer. In the OHL I had to have a girlfriend and she always had to be one everyone thought was attractive. It felt empty. I felt empty. I suppressed my sexuality to the point that I was angry at myself if I had sexual thoughts that weren’t heterosexual.  
The fear of exposing myself as a fraud was all-consuming and that, combined with the drive to continue my hockey career, was a toxic mix. I tried to isolate myself from my teammates. The depression was constant and I often found myself crying for what seemed like no reason at all. 
I was gay, but couldn’t share my secret with anyone. I trusted no one. I felt hollow inside. It started to manifest in my play and I was constantly injured. Playing hockey was where I always felt the most joy. As a kid I would skate 12 times a week. I was the boy whose parents would show up to the rink with dinner because I wouldn’t leave. The boy who would walk with his equipment to the arena down the street hoping a team was short a goalie for practice so I could skate. By the time I realized I was gay it had become my lone sanctuary; it allowed me to escape my thoughts and fears. 
View gallery
Goaltender Brock McGillis played in the Ontario Hockey League with the Soo Greyhounds and the Windsor Spitfires. (Photo: McGillis family photos)
Goaltender Brock McGillis played in the Ontario Hockey League with the Soo Greyhounds and the Windsor Spitfires. …
On the ice I could forget my secret and its consequences but when injuries took their toll, I had no escape. With hockey gone, there was nothing to live for and by this point I wanted to die. I had to face who I am and I didn’t know how to. Without hockey I had no place to hide from my thoughts and fears. I had an internal struggle with still wanting to be a hockey player and thinking that I couldn’t be myself and play the game I love. The injuries, the fears, the rehab, the secrets all seemed like too much. I didn’t see a point in living. In hindsight, I should have reached out to my supportive family, but the fear of them slipping up and inadvertently exposing my secret was so great that I felt I couldn’t tell anyone.
The decision to finally come out happened when I was 22 and playing hockey in Europe. One night I went on a gay dating website and saw a number of men married to women who were living double lives. Did I want to live that way too? How long would I have to keep up the charade? I began going out on dates in Toronto, a place where I felt I could be anonymous without being outed in the hockey community. When I began a serious relationship, no one could know. I was constantly paranoid. I used an alias for his friends and refused to let him meet anyone in my family. Even at that point, I was two years into a serious relationship but couldn’t come clean about who I was because I had intentions of continuing my hockey career. 
Eventually I went to play university hockey at Concordia in Montreal. Despite loving my partner I told him that I might have to sleep with women to keep up appearances. What a thing to say to someone you loved. It still hurts to think of how badly I wanted approval in a world that didn’t approve of me. The relationship ended shortly after and it is still one of the biggest regrets of my life. 
My second year in Montreal, team nights would end with me sneaking off to the gay village. There was no gay network for me or friends I could talk to about what I was going through. Then someone came into my life who put everything into place for me: Brendan Burke. 
Brendan, the son of Calgary Flames president Brian Burke, had already come out publicly as gay. He had his own NHL aspirations as an executive and I reached out to him. We quickly became friends. When you spend your life feeling like an outsider it was amazing to have someone understand your struggles. Brendan inspired me because he was so driven to create change in the way homosexuals are perceived in sports.
Tragically Brendan was killed in a car accident on Feb. 5, 2010. Two days before his death we exchanged messages on Facebook and he wrote: “I can’t wait until the day that you’re out like I am.” 
Those were his last words to me. 
He was the only person who knew my secret and he was gone. I cried for days. Shortly after I told my younger brother, who was also a semi-pro hockey player, and with his support I came out to the rest of my family.
When the injuries finally took their toll and my hockey career ended, it felt liberating. I could finally be free and experience life as a gay man without judgment from the hockey community. It didn’t last long. After finishing school, I began to work with athletes in my hometown of Sudbury, Ont., helping them with on-ice and off-ice training. I also started coaching players who were looking to advance to the next level (OHL or NCAA). 
View gallery
Brock McGillis training future OHL and NCAA prospects. L to R: Matt Mayhew, Damien Giroux, Brett Jacklin, Brock McGillis, Brad Chenier & Daniel Walker
Brock McGillis training future OHL and NCAA prospects. L to R: Matt Mayhew, Damien Giroux, Brett Jacklin, Brock …
For the last five years I have helped hundreds of players reach their goals – but I’ve done it with caution. I never divulged my sexuality to any of the athletes I’ve worked with and was always quick to shut down any homophobic language used in my presence. Eventually I noticed a change: when a player said something like, “That’s gay,” they would quickly apologize. Then one day, while talking to two hockey dads one used the term “c***sucker.” An hour later he called me to apologize because he respected me. He also said that he and a few others had figured out why I had been so adamant about trying to change the culture. That really hit home for me. Since then I’ve had parents try to set me up on dates and players tell me that they know and are cool with the fact that I am gay. 
There has also been backlash. Homophobia still exists in today’s hockey culture. Some people in the hockey community have blackballed me from working with certain teams. People – who were once considered friends – no longer speak to me. It has been challenging being one of the first out people in this hockey community, but that has made the reward even greater. Since coming out in my community, the rewards greatly outweigh the negativity. Being able to help players get to the OHL or NCAA and work with others to realize their dreams is incredible. From my own experience the biggest hurdle in terms of acceptance will come from older generations. Some adults still perpetuate homophobic beliefs and behaviours. That dialogue must be changed and everyone – players, coaches, management, and parents – needs to play a part. Words and actions are a learned behaviour. How many times have you heard a parent, coach or player use derogatory language at the rink? 
Cliches like "Boys being boys" and "Locker room talk" were never valid defences – this is why I’m telling my story. I’m telling my story to start a dialogue. If you are gay, lesbian or trans and playing hockey, know that you are not alone. Know that you are not the only one. 
Know that I am here for you, the way Brendan Burke was there for me, because it gives me an immense sense of pride carrying on his legacy by saying: “I can’t wait until the day that you’re out like I am.”
Brock McGillis
Special to Yahoo Sports Canada(Posted as it appeared on Yahoo Sports Ca.)
Brock McGillis is a former OHL, CIS and semi-professional hockey player who now works mentoring minor hockey and junior-aged players. Follow him on Twitter: @brock_mcgillis

October 18, 2016

Out Premier League Players Face ‘Significant abuse’

Ex-Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger revealed he is gay after finishing playing in England

Thomas Hitzlsperger

 Premier League players would still suffer "significant abuse" if they chose to reveal they are gay, Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has warned.
Clarke was answering Commons Select Committee questions at the government's governance of football inquiry.
"I'm cautious of encouraging people to come out until we do our part of the bargain and stamp out abuse," he said.
"I am personally ashamed they don't feel safe to come out."
Justin Fashanu became the first player in England to come out as gay in 1990, but took his own life aged 37 in 1998. No male professional player has come out while playing in England since.
Former Germany and Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger became the first player with Premier League experience to publicly reveal his homosexuality, in January 2014, after he had finished playing in England.
Former England women's captain Casey Stoney was the first active footballer to come out in England since Fashanu, in February 2014.
"I would be amazed if we haven't got gay players in the Premier League," Clarke added.
Clarke was questioned about a Daily Mirror article from 2015 that claimed two Premier League players, including an England international, had been preparing to come out.
The Mirror also alleged a Premier League player came out to his team-mates in 2011, but did not go public after a homophobic slur was painted on his car.
Clarke, 49, denied knowing the identity of the players - and told the committee members he would not name them even if he did.
Clarke also cited the weekend's League Two fixture between Leyton Orient and Luton Town, at which homophobic chanting was reported, saying he would "come down like a tonne of bricks" on anyone found guilty.
"If I was a gay man, why would I expose myself to that?" Clarke asked.

"Before we encourage people to come out we must provide the safe space where they have the expectation to play or watch football and not get abused.
"There's a very small minority of people who hurl vile abuse at people who they perceive are different. Our job is to stamp down hard on their behaviour."
Asked what would happen if a Premier League player came out, Clarke said: "There would be significant abuse because we haven't cracked the problem. 
"I was at Egham Town v St Albans in the FA Cup. There were about 300 people and everybody knew everybody else, there was no vile abuse.
"When you're in a big crowd, you're anonymous and the bad people get brave.
"The good news is we're not in denial. We may not have figured out how to crack it yet but there's a deep loathing of that sort of behaviour within football."
Clarke said he would next week attend his first FA inclusion advisory board, which provides guidance on all equality matters.


October 7, 2016

Barcelona’s Support for it’s Only Openly Gay Referee

 Jesus Tomillero, Spain's first openly gay referee


Spain's first openly gay referee will be invited to attend a Barcelona game in the coming weeks as the Catalan club look to lead the fight against anti-gay behavior in football.

Barca confirmed to ESPN FC that they have already been in touch with Jesus Tomillero, but they are yet to pencil in a date for him to visit Camp Nou. They anticipate it will be sooner rather than later, though.

As well as the presence of Tomillero, Barca also plan to organise other acts to take a stand against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) prejudice in sport, although the details of what exactly that will entail will be confirmed closer to the time.

Tomillero, 21, came out last year and was forced to quit refereeing in May after the abuse became too much. 

However, he decided to reverse that decision and returned to the game in September. The abuse continued, though, he said.

During a match in Andalusia's second division last month a supporter shouted an anti-gay insult at him after he had awarded a penalty. The game was stopped and the man removed, but he got back into the ground and shouted more insults at Tomillero.

The abuse then spread to social media and Tomillero reported it to the police and he has since said that he will "keep on doing what I like doing, whatever it costs, but I am really, really scared."

In the Premier League, Burnley striker Andre Gray is currently serving a four-match suspension for historic anti-gay tweets posted four years ago when he was playing for non-league Hinckley United. 

The tweets emerged after Gray had scored in his side's 2-0 win over Liverpool.

He stressed in a statement that he was a changed man from the one who posted such statements. Despite his apology, the Football Association still decided to ban him.

According to recent research from the UK's leading LGBT equality charity Stonewall, nearly 75 percent of British football fans have heard anti-gay abuse at matches during the past five years. A similar study is not available in Spain.

Barcelona now hope they can contribute to the crackdown of prejudices in football.

October 4, 2016

“Skateboarding for 20 Yrs Kissing Boys for 13” } Max Dubler

My name is Max. I am 30 years old. I have been skateboarding for roughly 20 years and kissing boys for 13.

My initial reaction to the news that Brian Anderson came out was, "It's 2016, we have openly gay soldiers and NBA players. What took us so long?" But then I remembered that it's because professional skateboarding exists to sell shit to teenage boys, and the pressures and scrutiny that come with being the First Gay Pro Skateboarder is tremendous.

So yeah. Good on you, BA. What you just did is fucking brave and radical, in every sense.

Now, I know some of you are going to jump down to the comments section and ask, "Who cares? What's the big fucking deal?" First off, let's dispense with the whole "nobody cares who you fuck as long as you shred" thing.

Sexual identity would be irrelevant to skateboarding if skateboarding wasn't so thoroughly identified with macho toughness and male heterosexuality. If you crack open a skateboard magazine, you're gonna see a lot of straight, mostly white dudes skateboarding, and some almost-naked chicks who probably don't skate advertising skate products. When women are shown actually skateboarding, they're usually presented to titillate the straight male viewers that brands consider their real customers. If you're a woman or a gay dude, the message is pretty clear: Skateboarding is a subculture for straight men, not you.

That's why your friends might tell you to "stop being a pussy and fucking go for it" when you hesitate on a trick, and why they might call you a fag if you back down. When Nyjah Huston said, "Some girls can skate, but I personally believe that skateboarding is not for girls at all," he was saying he didn't think women are tough enough to take slams. Calling someone a "faggot" is akin to calling them weak, cowardly, and feminine.

This is all some sexist, homophobic, jock-mentality bullshit. It cannot go away soon enough. But that doesn't mean skateboarding is super homophobic, right? "I mean, most skaters I know are cool with gay people," you say. Nah. With some notable exceptions, the skateboard industry has a long and occasionally repulsive history of homophobia.

Let us pause for a moment to recognize the difference between skateboarding, skateboarders, and the skateboard industry. Skateboarding has never given a shit about who I date: I've never hung up on a homophobic piece of pool coping or gotten pitched by a pebble that hates fags. The skateboarders I meet are mostly pretty cool about the gay thing. Aside from some casually homophobic language used out of habit, not malice, skateboarders by and large have never given me shit for being gay. But when I talk about the skateboard industry, the professionals, brands, manufacturers, and media outlets, that's a different story.

Look at skateboarding in the 1990s, for example. In 1998, Birdhouse am Tim Von Werne had his Skateboarder magazine interview pulled by his sponsors when they learned he planned to openly discuss being gay in it. Big Brother gave a gay skateboarder, Jarret Berry, the cover of the magazine, but the photo was him skating a handrail in chaps with his ass hanging out. Several times, Big Brother editor-in-chief Dave Carnie asked people if they "ever, you know, gayed off with the Bones Brigade." And while I shed no tears over the death of aggressive inline, it's undeniable that skateboarding harassed rollerblading out of existence with a relentless campaign of homophobic bullying, exemplified by the joke immortalized in a Big Brother rainbow rollerblade sticker: "What's the hardest part of rollerblading? Telling your parents you’re gay.”

Today, we continue to celebrate violently homophobic pro skateboarders. Jay Adams went to prison for his role in instigating the fatal gay bashing of a man named Dan Bradbury in 1982. This incident went unmentioned in most of Adams's obituaries, and instead his life continues to be celebrated by murals all throughout Venice. Josh Swindell, a former pro skater for Think, went to jail for 19 years for beating a gay man to death outside of a bar in 1993. 

Although it's unclear what his involvement in the fight was, Danny Way was also with Swindell and swung a punch earlier that night. Yet skateboard media don’t criticize these skaters or even talk about these incidents Representation matters. Skate media features all kinds of skaters—jocks, preps, stoners, drinkers, heshers, punks, hip-hop heads, pretty boys, people of color, hippies, old dudes, preteens, even severely disabled people—but no out gay dudes. So your average (male) teenage skateboarder never sees an LGBTQ person they can relate to, and LGBTQ kids never see a skateboarder they can identify with. 

 Brian Anderson has finally stood up and decided to be the first major dude to come out. That's fucking rad. Most respect. Coming out has always been the most powerful tool for securing LGBTQ people's social and legal equality. The appearance of an out gay pro is an important step toward making skateboarding more accepting of LGBTQ people (and, hopefully, making society more accepting of skateboarding). 

So where do we go from here? Will skateboarders freak out when they discover they are a fetishized masculine archetype among gay men? Are we going to see a new wheel company based on Tom of Finland graphics? Will a company with bara and yaoigraphics emerge to challenge Hook-Ups for the softcore anime porn skateboard market? Will this T-shirt replace Janoskis as the hot item at your local skatepark? Are gay dudes finally gonna get the skateboarder beefcake calendar we've never wanted? Will Alex Olson go full Nick Jonas and cultivate a gay fanbase more than he already has? Will the Bones Brigade finally, you know, gay off?  Probably not, but thanks in part to BA, here's to hoping it won't take another 20 years for skaters to feel comfortable coming out.

Brian Anderson. Photo by Mac Shafer

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This article was originally published on Jenkem.
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September 28, 2016

Legendary Skater Brain Anderson Comes out Gay

"A part of me was so irritated and angry from holding that in," pro skater Brian Anderson says. "So it made me more of an animal on my skateboard." Jared Wickerham/Getty  
Brian Anderson was named Thrasher magazine's "Skater of the Year" in 1999, the same year he won the World Cup of Skateboarding in Germany. During that time, as he was becoming an icon to skateboarders around the globe, he was hiding the fact that he was gay so that he wouldn't potentially sabotage his pro skateboarding career. 
In a new "Vice Sports" documentary with Giovanni Reda, Anderson discusses being gay publicly for the first time. "Hearing faggot all the time, it made me think at a young age, it was really dangerous to talk about it," he explains while being interviewed in his Queens, New York apartment, later adding that although many friends and family knew he tried to hide it publicly: "I was really scared. People would have perceived it differently if I'd said it 15 years ago."
Reda interviews other pro skaters such as Omar Salazar and Frank Gerwer who describe Anderson as "burly, like a monster," "the most manliest figure I've ever seen" and "badass." And Anderson admits it was his outward demeanor and perception that kept his sexuality hidden to many. "I was a big, tough skateboarder," Anderson says. "They're not gonna question that. Nobody thought anything."
One friend says she saw Anderson "drown his shame in booze," and he reveals that he did have "pent up aggression and shame" that "drove me to do crazy stuff."  
"A part of me was so irritated and angry from holding that in," Anderson says. "So it made me more of an animal on my skateboard."
Despite waiting until now to publicly discuss his sexuality, Anderson says he knew something was different when he was three or four and that he loved Bluto from Popeye cartoons. "I thought Bluto was so perfect with that flannel shirt and that beard; I was all about Bluto," he says. "I like that character, which is funny – because that's what I like now." 
He also says he was never attracted to other skateboarders and enjoyed when cops would kick skaters out of spots. "I was like, 'Yay, I get to check somebody out.' It gave me a smile the rest of the day."
Ed Templeton, founder of Toy Machine Skateboards, says people in the skateboarding community knew for years and when rumors surfaced, he would get phone calls. "The whole industry knew, but people loved Brian so much, it really didn't get out," Templeton says, explaining that he would have thought it was "awesome" and tried to promote Anderson as the first high-profile gay skater (Jarrett Berry and Tim Von Werne came out but were considered more marginal to the sport). 
Early on, Anderson was working 70 hours a week as a line cook and imagined he might go to culinary school and eventually "grow older, peace out and live in the middle of nowhere and never tell my family or anyone." But after he received acclaim, he says he felt more secure, since he had accolades that couldn't be taken away. "I consider myself a skateboarder first, gay second," he says. “I'm a skater, that's all I know."

Rolling stone

September 6, 2016

Openly Gay Soccer Star Kneels During Anthem


The 31-year-old from Redding, Calif., displayed support for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick Sunday night, kneeling while the national anthem was played before a Seattle-Chicago match.

United States women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe has joined a small but growing number of professional athletes refusing to stand during the national anthem.

 The silent protest occurred on Sunday night as the Star Spangled Banner was played ahead of a National Women’s Soccer League match between the Chicago Red Stars and Rapinoe’s team, the Seattle Reign.

Speaking after the match, Rapinoe explained why she decided to kneel during the anthem.

“It was very intentional,” said Rapinoe. “It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest last month, electing to sit down as the anthem was played ahead of a series of pre-season games. He later told, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Since then, other NFL players, including 49er teammate Eric Reid and the Seattle Seahawks’ Jeremy Lane, have joined the protest.

Rapinoe has also spoken out on the Black Lives Matter movement before. Last month, after the WBNA announced fines for players sporting Black Lives Matter t-shirts, Rapinoe told Excelle Sports, “I get sort of in theory where [the WNBA] is coming from, but it’s just so insensitive and so fucking stupid that they would fine players for a Black Lives Matter shirt.”

John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter

August 15, 2016

Women’s Olympic Basketball Players Hope for More Acceptance in NBA


 Less than a week after the subtle revelation that WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donneis gay  -- the third paragraph of an Aug. 4 story in Vogue magazine that didn’t even mention the news in the headline -- the story had all but died.
There were no follow-ups about how her Chicago Sky teammates might handle the situation when the Rio Olympics end or what it might mean for the LGBT community. This is nothing new in women’s basketball, where coming out is common and acceptance widespread.
Jason Collins becoming the first active NBA player to come out more than three years ago – and the only one since – this was not.
So after answering a few questions from reporters at the start of the Games, Delle Donne went back to the challenge of winning a gold medal with the Americans in her inaugural trip to the Games.
“It’s been normal,” Delle Donne said this week. “Nothing crazy. Obviously a couple of people wanting to talk about it here and there. A lot of support. It’s been really nothing too crazy, which is great. That’s where I hope our society moves to, where it’s not a story. It’s normal.
“I would love to see that (sort of support in the NBA), if there are any (gay men). No one should have to hide who they are.”
Yet as it stands, it appears they still do.

  • United States

  • China

  • Great Britain

  • While the NBA is progressive on this front – reconfirmed recently when it decided to move the All Star game out of Charlotte because of a North Carolina law that eliminated some protections for the LGBT community – the fact remains that no player since Collins has felt comfortable enough to come out. And that, as their female counterparts see it, is something that needs to change not only in basketball but men’s sports across the board.
    “I would love to see more (come out) on the men’s side, more players feel comfortable to come out,” said Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner, the former No. 1 pick who came out in an April 2013 Sports Illustrated article that was met with similar shrugs. “But I also understand it because as a player, I’ve been that person where it’s really hard to come out. It’s super hard. You’re just not comfortable with it. You’re worried about not being accepted, being rejected, being cast out. It’s tough. It’s really tough.”
    While projections vary greatly on the percentage of gay men in the population worldwide, the odds are that there are somewhere between a handful and at least a few dozen gay NBA players among the 450 total. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated in recent years that approximately 2% of American men are gay, but 10% has long since become the unofficial standard estimate. In between, a 2012 Gallup poll indicated that 3.3% of more-than-1,200 subjects interviewed said they identified as gay, bi-sexual or transgender. As Charles Barkley put it in a May 2013 interview, “Everybody (in the NBA) has played with a gay teammate.”
    Yet it seems as if Collins (who retired 18 months after coming out) and former Utah Jazz player John Amaechi (who came out long after retirement) were the only ones to fit the description since the league’s inception in 1946. Meanwhile, there are four openly gay players on the women’s basketball Olympic team alone: Delle Donne, Griner, Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, and Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream.

    , USA TODAY Sports

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