Showing posts with label Gays Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gays Sports. Show all posts

August 31, 2015

La’crss Playr Andrew Goldstein with Scott Braeden ‘goalies W/ balls to score NCAA tournament’ and Come Out

"Nothing could prepare me for the numerous text messages I read going to bed one night this past February. My twelve-year-old son’s texts come to my iPad, but I rarely read them. This night, the sheer quantity of them led me to read. They all said the same thing: “Braeden, are you really gay?” Trying to keep calm, I started reading them to my husband, Scott. It was almost midnight and Braeden was fast asleep, but Scott insisted we wake him up and ask him if it was true. When we got him awake enough to ask and he nodded his head in what felt like resignation, pride was the most overwhelming feeling I felt. Fear was what my husband felt. Scott started asking all the wrong questions and when I felt it had gone on long enough, I asked him to leave the room. All I needed to know was that Braeden was okay. He told me that he had known for a few months and didn’t feel like hiding it anymore. I have never felt prouder as a mom. Scott’s pride would come. He just needed time. A My husband, who played lacrosse his whole life, now coached Braeden. The bond this sport gave them was one that Scott had shared with his dad, before he passed away when Scott was 24. Lacrosse is everything to these two guys in my life and Scott thought that his son being gay was going to make that difficult. He thought that Braeden wouldn’t be accepted into the fraternity that had been such a big part of his life” 
Braeden along with Courage Game co-founders Andrew Goldstein and Nick Welton(ESPN)

A DOZEN YEARS AGO, at the age of 20, Andrew Goldstein came out to his Dartmouth College lacrosse teammates. The All-American goalie had struggled with his sexuality since he was 7, and like so many gay and transgender kids, had contemplated suicide.

"I would lie awake thinking, like, 'God, I can't live that life,'" Goldstein says. "'I could hide, I could do this, or I could just end it and no one would ever know.'"

Earlier this year, another young lacrosse player realized that he was gay. Braeden Lange, a 12-year-old from outside Philadelphia, was in a group chat with about 15 people back in February when a friend started making jokes.

"There's nothing wrong with being gay," Braeden responded, "because I am gay."

Later, he explained, "I couldn't hide from the fake me anymore."

Things eventually got so bad that Braeden, too, began talking openly about suicide.

Goldstein's many and varied accomplishments -- on the athletic field, as an eye-opening trailblazer and in the laboratory as Dr. Goldstein -- are extraordinary by any calculus. But his greatest triumph may well have been reaching out, comforting and ultimately saving a desperate 12-year-old boy whom he recognized in himself.

"This is the greatest gift," Goldstein says. "I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world, because I get to have that conversation with the 12-year-old version of myself. I get to see the impact that my story had on someone."

The Lange family has come to a consensus.

"If Andrew hadn't come," Braeden says, "then I probably wouldn't have made it."

Says his father, Scott, "Unequivocally, yes. Andrew saved Braeden's life."

The story begins, as it should, on the field:

Even given the perpetual motion of YouTube, Andrew Goldstein's legs seem to be moving too quickly.

Playing in the cruelest of crucibles, the Syracuse Carrier Dome, before 25,000 fans, Dartmouth College's sophomore lacrosse goalie somehow has plucked Michael Springer's point-blank shot out of the air and starts sprinting up the curiously open left sideline. He veers left to avoid two converging Orangemen and nearly steps out of bounds at midfield before regaining his equilibrium and floating in on disbelieving Syracuse goalie Jay Pfeifer. When a defender hesitates, Goldstein takes two more strides and fires the ball into the far low corner, the toughest spot for the other goalie, who is also a lefty. Pfeifer never moves. Seventy-five yards in 12 seconds.

It's May 11, 2003, and Dartmouth, in the only NCAA men's lacrosse tournament game in school history, has tied the score at 5-5 late in the second quarter. It is the first NCAA tourney goal scored by a goalie in nearly three decades.

Among the 4,000 spectators in the stands, sitting not far from Goldstein's parents, is his new boyfriend, Ethan. Two months later, in something of an epiphany, Goldstein, 20, will come out to his teammates.

The two events, Goldstein says today, were connected.

"A week later I was named All-Ivy League and two weeks after that, All-American and team MVP," Goldstein explained recently in an email. "So I started the summer with a surge of momentum and confidence. It would have almost seemed crazy to not come out after all of that.

"I'm sure scoring the goal helped me have the confidence to come out, just as having a boyfriend for the first time gave me the confidence to score the goal. It was a pretty unbelievable time for someone who had always wanted to be great at sports and had been holding a secret inside for a decade."

As Goldstein would say later, "I guess it takes a gay goalie to have enough balls to score in the NCAA tournament."

Breaking barriers

When the Playboy Magazines came out at summer camp, Goldstein knew he was supposed to feel something. But he didn't. When his friends began having relationships with girls in middle school, he wasn't interested.

"You're trying to fall asleep and you start thinking, 'I'm not like everyone else,'" Goldstein says. "I always imagined that lies and hiding would be a large part of getting through the day."

He did his best to fit in, pretended to be straight, even had a date with a girl. But early in his sophomore year at Milton Academy, in his Massachusetts hometown, he told a friend, Christina.

It was liberating, even thrilling, but Goldstein's secret stayed between the two until July 2003, two months after he scored that groundbreaking goal at Syracuse. On the first day of weight lifting during the summer term, he told defender Matt Nicholson he had a boyfriend.

"Wow, man," Nicholson, who knew Ethan, had the grace to say. "He's hot."

Encouraged, Goldstein asked Nicholson to tell the rest of the team. There were several weeks of awkward uncertainty; initially, Goldstein wouldn't shower with the team after practices and games. He worried that on the team's first road trip that the "unlucky guys who had to be my roommates would complain about sleeping in the same room as the homo." He wondered if anybody would sit next to him on the team bus.

Soon, however, several teammates approached him to apologize for homophobic language and off-color-jokes from the past. They appreciated his toughness in a physically difficult sport and gradually came to accept his sexuality.

In the spring of 2005, two weeks before he graduated from Dartmouth with degrees in biology and biochemistry, ESPN dispatched a crew to Hanover, New Hampshire, to chronicle his story. A handful of notable professional team-sport athletes had come out after their careers ended and, to be sure, there were a number of openly gay athletes in individual sports at the Division I, II and III levels. Still, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound goalie was, the sports network concluded after researching the context, the most accomplished male, team-sport athlete in North America to be openly gay during his playing career.

Later that year he was drafted by the Boston Canons of Major League Lacrosse and eventually played for the Long Island Lizards.

Nearly a decade before American soccer player Robbie Rogers played for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, prior to Jason Collins stepping on the court for the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, before Michael Sam, a Missouri defensive end, came out in advance of the 2014 NFL draft, there was Andrew Goldstein.

"Andrew was the first openly gay male athlete to be drafted by a professional sports league in the United States," said Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of "And then he became the first to play in a professional sports league. So he broke two incredible barriers that years later we attribute to Robbie Rogers and Michael Sam.

"In 2005, the gay community didn't want to talk about sports and the sports community didn't want to talk about gay people. Andrew, being an active athlete at the very top of his game, helped change that. You can no longer say that gay men all just want to listen to show tunes. They can be strong powerful men who play sports as well."

The ESPN profile won a television journalism award from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In March 2006, after a clip of his goal was shown to the audience of several thousand at the Marquee Marriott in Times Square, Goldstein was greeted with a rousing standing ovation -- one that ran longer than the reception for winning director Ang Lee in the wake of his opus "Brokeback Mountain."

In 2013 Goldstein was enshrined in the inaugural class of National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, joined by, among others, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Greg Louganis.

Duneier and Goldstein

Today, at 32, Goldstein seems comfortable in his own skin.

A few months ago at a vegan restaurant, Phillip Frankland Lee's Gadarene Swine in Studio City, California, Goldstein delicately leaned back into the arms of his husband, Jamie Duneier, in the process of ordering a half-dozen small plates for the table. The cauliflower, the crisp yucca and the olive stuffed olives -- and two bottles of a crisp Chablis -- were all memorable, but that small, unconscious gesture was the one that confirmed he is happy.

Professionally, Goldstein already has made headlines. His groundbreaking laboratory at UCLA is making startling progress toward a cure of prostate cancer. After interning and working at two of the world's finest institutions in cancer treatment -- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute -- Goldstein moved to UCLA. As a molecular biology Ph.D. student under immunologist Owen Witte, Goldstein was the lead author of a July 2010 paper published in "Science Magazine" that identified a surprising source of prostate cancer.

"When a cell divides, it has to replicate all of its DNA," Goldstein wrote in a lengthy email designed, impossibly, to put his advances in layman's terms. "Sometimes the cell can make a mistake."

In cases of chronic inflammation and the unhealthy state, often caused by obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise, the immune system can miss some of those mistakes, leading to the production of more cells and, with that, more mistakes. When those mistakes reach a critical mass, cancer can develop.

Previously, conventional wisdom held that prostate tumors originated in luminal cells because tumor cells look similar to luminal cells. Under Witte's supervision, Goldstein isolated both luminal and basal cells from healthy human prostate tissue and engineered them to express cancer-promoting genes, called oncogenes. Then the cells were introduced into mice and allowed to grow for several months. Surprisingly, the malignancies did not appear in the expected luminal cells, but in the basal cells. When examined by a pathologist, the tumors that originated in basal cells were similar to those found in male humans, made up of tumor cells that looked like luminal cells.

"It was a simple result but had profound implications for how we think about the development of not just prostate cancer, but cancer in general," Goldstein wrote. "It says that what we see under the microscope doesn't tell us the history of that tumor because cells can change what they look like from one type of cell to another."

The Los Angeles Times and numerous other media outlets lauded the discovery. Goldstein, a rare "first author" as a graduate student, was the "senior author" in another groundbreaking paper published three years later in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This time, Goldstein's lab outlined the discovery that tumors that originated with basal cells could evolve to live without them, which should help researchers in their search for a cure.

None of this surprised his parents, Sue and Irwin Goldstein, who founded San Diego Sexual Medicine in 2007.

Irwin, a respected urologist, was a principal researcher in the early Viagra trials. Sue was a schoolteacher who supported her husband in his dreams of solving people's sexual problems before those dreams became hers, too.

"Taking normal prostate cells and manipulating them, well, that's pretty cool," Irwin said recently. "No one has ever played with the stem cell before, but that doesn't guarantee that doors are going to open."

Still, that story published in "Science" is displayed on the door of his office, Irwin said, "so every human being gets to see it."

Today, with the help of Sue, who is the program coordinator at SDSM and a certified sexuality educator, the two are collaborating in the pioneering trials of flibanserin, the so-called Viagra for women.

Goldstein has inherited his scientific curiosity and virtuosity from his father, as well as his mother's infectious personality and desire to help others.

"He has always been the good boy, the helpful boy," Sue says. "When he came out, he got calls from Oprah and Out Magazine around the same time. Andrew turned down Oprah, telling me he didn't want to be the token regular person next to all those movie stars. He knew he could be a role model to people in the right context. He did the Out interview.

"He got his message out there. He wanted to make a difference."

Coming out at 12

The Lange house, on a leafy street in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles west of Philadelphia, is a high-energy venue. Scott and Mandy live there with four children: boys Blake, 14, and Braeden, 12; girls Kendall, 10, and Abby, 7; dogs Lucy and Buster; a cat, Duce (named after former Eagles' legend Duce Staley); and two rabbits, Piper and Ziggy.

Lacrosse is the spine of their sporting lives, which is to say their lives in general. Scott's dad, Dick, who grew up on Long Island and went on to score more than 100 goals at Cortland State, coached Scott in youth lacrosse. The son scored 100 goals at West Chester University. Both played attack and wore No. 4. So does Braeden, who is coached by his father and joined in lacrosse by all three siblings. A typical spring week features about 15 practices and games for the entire group. Braeden, who already has a decent command of both hands -- unusual for a kid so young -- plays for three different teams. His goal is to play at Cornell, like his hero, Rob Pannell.

Last fall, Braeden began sixth grade in a new school.

""There are 3,000 men in the four major men's sports in the United States, and right now none of them are out of the closet.""
Brian Sims
"I would notice that a lot of people would make, like, homosexual jokes," he explains. "At the time I didn't know why, but it would offend me, really get to me. And then I realized that I was gay."

He had a girlfriend by the end of 2014, but it didn't feel right. When she texted him, asking when he was going to kiss her, he said he'd do it in March. In retrospect, he seems to have had a plan.

On the night of Feb. 9, his parents were lying in bed upstairs around 11, reviewing Braeden's texts on Mandy's iPad, when they found out.

"They all say the same thing -- are you gay?" Mandy says. "So we go into Braeden's room and ask him, 'Are you gay?' And he nodded his head.

"For me, it was probably the proudest moment of my life as a mother. I can't even put into words how brave it was of him. I mean, he's 12. I was like, 'Cool.' The next day I had my big cry in the laundry room, kind of saying goodbye to the life I thought my son would have."

Scott, on the other hand, says he felt like he had been punched in the gut. There is a list of things that you're not supposed to say in that situation -- and he managed to raise just about every one.

"Hey, maybe this is because of some attention you want to get?"

"You may not want to tell anybody yet because you never know."

"Maybe this is just a phase."

"How can a 12-year-old know?"

"It's pretty simple," Scott says now. "The age that you know that you are interested in girls is the same age that you know you can be interested in boys."

A dark spot

Scott came around pretty quickly and, frankly, the rest of the family wasn't too excited about Braeden's news.

"That's OK," said his older brother Blake after his parents told him. "He's still stupid."

The first few weeks went well enough, but soon those jokes began creeping back into the sixth-grade conversations. One boy at his school told Braeden he was going to hell because being gay wasn't mentioned in the Bible. And then there was the cyber-bullying on the app, It allows Instagram followers to ask and answer questions anonymously and, with that cloak of invisibility, the comments were brutal.

They said they didn't want to have sleepovers with him anymore because he might have a crush on them. He was called names. One kid wanted to fight him, but said he was afraid of touching him.

"He was just kind of devastated," Mandy says. "He didn't know who he could trust anymore. He went from being cautiously optimistic to, just, Braeden was gone.

"From there he would start talking about suicide, and I knew he wasn't just saying it. My mother committed suicide, so I'd been down that path before."

Scott, too, was terrified.

"He was about as withdrawn as a kid can get," Scott says. "Not leaving his room, crying himself to sleep almost every night. Saying things like, 'I wish I was normal. Why do people treat me differently?' Then he would go on to say he just didn't want to be here anymore. He wanted to kill himself."

Scott had found the statistics on-line: The suicide rate for gay teens is thought to be four times the national average.
"I felt like I was in a corner and I was all alone, even though I was the one pushing people away," Braeden says. "It was, like, a really dark spot for me."

Making a connection

Five weeks after Braeden came out, on March 16, the Langes found Andrew Goldstein.

Mandy remembered seeing a television piece on a gay lacrosse player and within a few minutes she had Googled the ESPN feature. Watching it with Scott, she immediately felt better. Scott, doing further research, discovered Goldstein was a doctor at UCLA. He quickly tracked down his email address.

Goldstein was eating lunch in his laboratory when he opened the email.

"I read just a few sentences," he says, "and it just broke my heart. These parents were watching their kid struggle, progressively watching them lose him, essentially."

When he returned to their then-Topanga home, Goldstein and his husband, Duneier, shot a video out on the back deck for Braeden.

Scott and Mandy showed Braeden the feature when he got home from school and, for the first time in weeks, he smiled.

The video arrived via email after supper.

"You're the bravest kid I've ever heard of," Goldstein told him. "It's a tough road, not every day will be easy. But it's all going to work out, it's going to be all good in the end. I look forward to going to Philly and meeting you."

Braeden, tears in his eyes, was awed.

"It was me saying to myself, 'I'm not alone, because there's other people like me,'" he says. "It really, like, gave me some hope knowing that if he could do it, I could probably do it, too."

Says Mandy: "He got that video, and everything was different. Braeden was back to being Braeden."

Seven days later, a package for Braeden came in the mail. When he opened it, surrounded by the family in the front foyer, it felt like Christmas. It was Goldstein's Long Island Lizards helmet.

The Courage Game

Thank-you notes are often a sign of good parenting, even if they are sometimes written under duress.

A flurry of emails, videos and calls had led to a meeting between the Lange family and Goldstein and Duneier, who were visiting New York City to be with Jamie's family on the upper east side for Passover. A few days before, Scott asked him to write a thank-you note to Goldstein, who also would be celebrating his 32nd birthday. No response. Five minutes later, Scott handed his son a piece of paper and made the request again. Fifteen minutes later, Braeden dropped a full-page, 8½-by-11-inch note in clean, earnest handwriting on Scott's chest and walked out of the room.

"Braeden is not one who has always gone above and beyond -- that's not Braeden's gig," Scott says. "I read his letter and was absolutely blown away."

The end went like this:

Thank you for making me realize that I'm not alone. Your video touched my heart and the day I got that video was the best day of my life. Your video and all of the other ones boosted my confidence to where I felt like I was unstoppable. ... So I wanted to thank you for not only being my role model but for being my friend."

The families had dinner in Times Square, bonding in almost madcap fashion, and Andrew and Braeden had a memorable lacrosse catch in Central Park.

On Memorial Day weekend, Andrew threw Braeden an entire game. On the day before the 2015 Division I lacrosse championship game between Denver and Maryland at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, a few miles away on the campus of Pennsylvania University, several hundred people, gay lacrosse players and their allies, gathered for The Courage Game.

"You want to know how much courage it takes for a 12-year-old boy?" asks Brian Sims. "There are 3,000 men in the four major men's sports in the United States, and right now none of them are out of the closet."

An enduring friendship

The Lange's black refrigerator is an impressionistic montage of their riotous life:

In the upper-right corner there is a picture of Scott -- he says Kevin James, to whom he bears an uncanny resemblance, will play him in the movie -- with Blake, then aged 11, and the trophy he won after he placed third at 95 pounds in his first wrestling tournament. You can see the happy tears in Scott's eyes. Slightly above, framed by a purple puzzle-piece frame, Mandy holds a then-6-month-old Kendall. To the left, Scott proudly holds the championship trophy won by his Gen3 marketing team -- after he scored a behind-the-back goal in overtime in the title game. To the right is a newspaper advertisement for Valotta Studios' summer camps, where Kendall learned to play the guitar. Just above is a photo of Andrew and Jamie, side by side, smiling broadly.

At their new place in Westwood, there is a picture of Braeden and Andrew taken at The Courage Game on a wall in the den. Braeden's framed letter is on a nearby wall and the quilt that Mandy had made of Braeden's lacrosse jerseys hangs on the wall of their bedroom. When Andrew feels a chill in the air, the Freedom Lacrosse sweatshirt, representing Braeden's Pennsylvania club team, comes out of the closet.

Goldstein used to fear that he would never be able to get married and have children, but society has changed appreciably in the past decade or two.

He and Jamie are planning to have a child; there is an extra room in their home for just that reason. Andrew's older sister, Lauren, donated an egg and Jamie provided the sperm. It's already an embryo sitting in a southern California fertility clinic freezer.

A few months ago, not long after the television cameras had left the house, Mandy sat on her living room couch, legs tucked beneath her, and talked about the growing relationship between the Lange family and Andrew and Jamie's and about her plans to visit them this summer in Los Angeles. She had offered, she said, to carry their baby.

"I feel like I owe them one."

The visit occurred earlier this month and, after a number of emotional discussions, “We all agreed it's probably best for our long-term friendship to keep things clean," Goldstein explained*, "and instead hire a surrogate we aren't friends with to carry the baby when we are ready. We thanked them deeply for the incredibly generous offer, but we assured Mandy that she doesn't need to carry our child in order to show her gratitude.

“Our friendship means everything."

  • Greg Garber, Writer, Reporter

    This story appeared today on ESPN adamfoxie intro.

August 7, 2014

Chris Kluwe, gay marriage and a reclusive billionaire is affecting who runs the Vikings stadium


Should the personal beliefs of a CEO matter when a private company does business with a public entity? 
That question has come up in the ongoing bidding process to run the day-to-day operations of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium when it opens in 2016. In the business, it’s called facilities management, and — not surprisingly — some of the best-known facilities management companies in the world have submitted their names to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) to win the contract.
It’s a group that includes two Pennsylvania-based companies, Global Spectrum and SMG; one local TV station, The CW23; and Los Angeles-based AEG, which already runs the Target Center in Minneapolis.
That last bit is where things have the potential to get sticky. AEG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, which is run by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz —well-known for quietly putting his money behind national groups that support conservative causes and oppose gay marriage. And the MSFA is making its decision at a time when the stadium’s chief tenant, the Vikings, have come under scrutiny for allegations made by former punter Chris Kluwe that the team fostered an intolerant, homophobic environment. 
AEG officials say Anschutz’s personal and political beliefs have never come into play in the operations of the company and its affiliates, which run more than 100 stadiums in the U.S. and overseas. Indeed, the company’s operation of the Target Center has gone smoothly for the city.
But for at least one local politician, AEG’s involvement raises concerns about whom the state chooses to do business with in operating a stadium built with no small amount of public money. The state is currently on the hook to fund $348 million of the nearly $1 billion facility, with another $150 million coming from the city of Minneapolis.
“It is an ethical dilemma,” said state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, who led the state’s successful effort to legalize gay marriage in 2013. “In [Anschutz’s] personal role he has advocated to limit the freedoms and rights of citizens to marry whom they choose. He is clearly anti-gay and supports anti-gay efforts. It should absolutely be taken into consideration.”
Complicating the matter is the Vikings’ recent run of bad PR around LGBT issues. Last month, special teams coordinator Michael Priefer admitted to making anti-gay remarks — including “putting all the gays on an island and nuking it” — in a 2012 conversation with Kluwe, who has been an outspoken champion of gay rights. The team gave a three-game suspension to Priefer, who said the comments were made in jest. 
Dibble recently joined 17 other lawmakers in calling on the Vikings to enact a tougher punishment on Priefer, and the current controversy over the coach’s “violently homophobic” comments, Dibble says, doesn’t make the potential of doing business with AEG look any better. “The Vikings say that this is unacceptable and they are taking steps to make sure their organization upholds the highest level of tolerance and respect,” he said. “But I think they need to think about who they are contracting with and doing business with.”

Anschutz philanthropy

Anschutz began his career as an oil explorer, hitting a large deposit in Wyoming that allowed him to expand his business empire to everything from professional sports teams to newspapers and the movie business. He owns The Weekly Standard, one of the most influential conservative magazines in the nation, and has had his hand in the production of several major films with moral and political messages, including “Holes,” C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia,” and the documentary, “Waiting for ‘Superman.’ ” In 2013, Forbes ranked Anschutz the 38th richest person in America, with a net worth of more than $10 billion. 
Philip Anschutz
REUTERS/Mike Blake
Philip Anschutz
Anschutz has used his billions to campaign against gay marriage and support other conservative Christian causes. In the early 1990s, he helped fund a ballot initiative in Colorado that aimed to overturn state laws protecting gay rights. The amendment passed on the ballot, but was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. He has also funded number of other conservative organizations, including the Institute for American Values. The think tank’s founder, David Blankenhorn, testified against gay marriage in the trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
But Anschutz giving stretches beyond his conservative views. Much of his money has gone to charities in his home state of Colorado through The Anschutz Foundation, which was established over 30 years ago as a private charitable organization and is separate from AEG. The only commonality between the two is that Anschutz serves as chair.
“In recent years, TAF has annually made in excess of 500 individual grants totaling $50 million to a wide variety of charitable non-profit organizations who focus on youth development and education, health, human services, core principles and quality of life. Included in core principles are constitutional rights which includes religious freedom,” AEG spokesman Michael Roth said in a statement to MinnPost. “The largest funding areas are youth development and education, health and human services.”

 Politics must be taken out of the process

The MSFA expects to award the contract sometime this month, but a spokeswoman couldn’t comment on the ongoing bidding process. “The MSFA is conducting a competitive bid process to choose a third party operator to operate, maintain and market the new Minnesota multi-purpose stadium,” MSFA spokeswoman Jennifer Hathaway said in a statement. “We cannot comment on proposers or their confidential proposals prior to the award of a contract.” Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson said it’s the team’s policy to withhold commenting on bids until after a contract selection has been made.
Other politicians are also distancing themselves from the MSFA’s deliberations, including the stadium’s biggest champion, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. “The purpose of the state's competitive bidding process is to remove politics from contract decisions,” Dayton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Hume said in a statement. “The governor believes it is important to respect the integrity of that bid process.” 
For Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Anschutz’s views are “unacceptable,” but she noted that the state’s laws will protect LGBT rights in the state no matter who ultimately wins the bid. “Fortunately, if AEG is selected as the stadium operator, it will have to abide by our laws, which, in Minneapolis and Minnesota, include some of the strongest protections in the country for LGBT people and working families,” she said

April 19, 2014

Tom Daley’s Boyfriend Speaks About ‘the naked pics”

 Daley at 19

Dustin would like everyone to know that he enjoys sex and he isn't ashamed by that

Tom Daley's boyfriend Dustin Lance Black has finally spoken out about his leaked gay sex photos.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter - who has been in a relationship with the Olympic diving hunk since 2013 - had intimate pictures of himself and an ex-boyfriend leaked onto the internet in 2009 but now he's made it clear that he's no longer embarrassed by them.
The Milk writer was invited to speak at a graduation ceremony at his former college - Pasadena City College (PCC) - but they withdrew the invitation citing the leaked photos and Dustin is furious.
Writing in the college's student newspaper, he said: “This morning, I woke up to the headline that I have been disinvited to speak at my Alma Mater. The reasoning: that I was involved in a ‘scandal’ in 2009 regarding extremely personal photographs that were put up on internet gossip sites of me and my ex-boyfriend.
“For too long now I’ve sat silent on this issue. That ends here and now and with this sentence: I did nothing wrong and I refuse to be shamed for this any longer.
“In 2009 a group of people surreptitiously lifted images from my ex’s computer and shopped them around to gossip sites in a money making scheme. These were old images from a far simpler time in my life, a time before digital camera phones and internet scandals.

“They were photos of me with a man I cared for, a man who shared my Mormon background and who was also struggling with who he was versus where he came from. And yes, we were doing what gay men do when they love and trust each other, we were having sex. “I have never lied about my sexuality. If you invade my privacy, this is what you will find. I have sex. It brings me joy, fosters intimacy and helps love grow. I hope anyone reading this can say the same for themselves and for their parents.” He continued: “In 2010 I took the perpetrators of this theft to Federal court and Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled unequivocally that the defendants had indeed broken the law.”  

He added: “In the eyes of anyone who has seen the devastating effects this trespass has had on me personally, creatively and professionally over these many years, in the eyes of my mother and friends who have held me as I’ve cried, and under the blind scrutiny of the law of this land, I am the victim of this ‘scandal,’ not the perpetrator.
“With this cruel act, PCC’s Administration is punishing the victim. And I ask you this: If I was a heterosexual man or woman with this same painful injury in my past, would PCC’s Administration still be rescinding such an honor?” 
                                    Relationship: Daley and Black met in London                                 

December 29, 2013

A Game Changer for Gay Rights in Courts and Legislatures

A landmark court decision to two professional athletes coming out, the gay rights movement had a game-changing year in 2013.
From California to Utah, nine states legalized gay marriage this year, making a total of 18 states where same sex marriage is now legal. Support for same-sex marriage also reached an all-time high, with 58 percent of Americans showing support in an ABC News/Washington Post poll. And from the armed services to professional athletes, prominent figures raised their voices for gay rights.
The shift toward greater acceptance of gays and lesbians came as the U.S. Supreme Court made its historic ruling in the case brought by Edie Windsor, one of 2013′s “This Week” game changers. Windsor and her partner of 42 years were married in Canada in 2007, and Windsor sued to have their marriage recognized in the U.S.
“When I first saw it, I was terrified,” Windsor said of the name of the case, United States v. Windsor, in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer this summer after the court’s landmark rulings. “I thought what have I done? And then I gradually … understood that the government wasn’t going to be personally mad at me.”
Although her partner Thea Spyer did not live to see the ruling, Windsor said she knows she would be proud of their role in helping to gain broader support for same sex marriage.
“I know what she would say. She would say, ‘You did it, honey,’” Windsor said. 
 A Game Changing Year for Gay Rights, From the Supreme Court to the Soccer FieldAnother game changer in the gay rights movement this year has been soccer star Robbie Rogers, midfielder for the L.A. Galaxy. Earlier this year after retiring from his British soccer team, Rodgers posted a personal note to his blog telling his fans he was gay. He soon became the first gay athlete to join a U.S. Major League Soccer team when he signed with the Galaxy.
“I was really, really nervous. And then instantly after I sent it, I was — I felt, like, so much lighter,” Rogers told ABC’s David Wright for “This Week.”
It’s been nearly unheard of for a professional athlete to come out in the prime of their career, but Rogers noted that the momentum of 2013 made it easier. And from soccer fans to his own family, Rogers says he has felt a great deal of support.
“I have had like, thousands and thousands of emails, and letters, and everything from people from everywhere, from everywhere around the country or the world,” Rogers said.
While Rogers says there have been a few derogatory remarks from the sidelines, he jokes that the locker room has not been awkward.
“In our locker room, the guys are very respectful. And, you know, we make jokes,” Rogers said. “I’m the first person they come to for, like, fashion advice.”
Veteran NBA center Jason Collins also came out in 2013, becoming the first U.S. professional athlete in a team sport to do so. In an interview this spring, he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that his advice to a young athlete who may be gay would be, “It doesn’t matter that you’re gay, but the key thing is that it’s about basketball.”
“Hopefully, going forward, I can be someone else’s role model,” Collins added.
But while Collins and Rogers hope to be role models, Rogers says he has yet to hear from any other gay athletes who have yet to come out publicly.
“Not one has reached out to me. You know, Jason and I are friends. We talk all the time. But besides that, I haven’t spoken to any other athletes that are closeted … No one,” Rogers said.
By Anja Crowder

December 20, 2013

Obama Takes with Him Substantial Number of Gay/ Lesbians Athletes to Sochi

Barack Obama’s decision to place a substantial number of openly gay and lesbian athletes on the official US delegation to Sochi is a brilliant bit of political posturing. It sends a clear measure of disapproval of Russia’s idiotic ban on “gay propaganda” while retaining just the barest pretense of deniability (the people in question are not randomly selected members of the LGBT community, but highly accomplished international athletes and Olympians). Obama was able to make the Russians look stupid without spending any money or jeopardizing any concrete initiatives. It’s a no-risk maneuver that clarifies the USA’s position while undermining the Russian one. All in all, it was very well done.
But here’s the thing: while it might be comforting to think that Russia is some uniquely awful manifestation of “Eastern” backwardness and autocracy, its treatment of gays and lesbians is very far from being the worst in the world. India, the world’s largest democracy, recently re-instituted an outright criminal ban on homosexual activity, meaning that the legal status of gays and lesbians there is even worse than it is in Putin’s decrepit autocracy. And, of course, America’s close allies in the Arab world, places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE, viciously repress their gay and lesbian citizens. The Gulf cooperation council, a who’s who of “moderate” US-allied regimes, has even attempted to ban the arrival of foreign LGBT visitors.
Even a brief perusal of the relevant information will clearly show that the United States, at the same time that it professes to find Russia’s ban on gay propaganda “disgusting,” has close economic, diplomatic, and military relationships with some of the most violently anti-gay societies on earth. You can yell at me for pointing this out, but even if you think I’m being a dastardly “whataboutist” you can be damn sure that the Russians are going to make the exact same point: “Who are you Americans to call us homophobes when you’re allied with the Saudis?”
By openly and pointedly criticizing Russia while remaining studiously silent on the far more egregious violations carried out by our partners in the Arab world we are not sending a message of universal human rights but one of contingency and relativism: the extent to which you repress your gay and lesbian citizens matters a lot less to us than the extent to which your foreign policy priorities align with ours. Now I happen to think that Barack Obama’s instincts with regards to Russia are the right ones. Full and equal rights for LGBT citizens are part and parcel of what it means to be a modern, civilized society, and  have no problem ”lecturing” other societies about the need to allow their gay and lesbian citizens to participate fully in economic, social, and political life. Arguments that other countries conceive of human rights differently are singularly unconvincing, as are any arguments about the need to prioritize “traditional” family relations.
All I’m suggesting is that we these principles consistently, to all countries, regardless of their political alignment. So if you want to criticize Russia for its treatment of gays and lesbians, great! That treatment deserves to be criticized in harsh and unsparing terms. But don’t stop there, because on a global Russia just isn’t uniquely bad in terms of its treatment of LGBT people. And when you look at the countries that are especially awful in their treatment of gays and lesbians, the US has a lot more leverage.

October 17, 2013

Openly Gay Soccer Player Robbie Rogers Coming Out with His Memoirs

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This Sept. 12, 2013 file photo shows Robbie Rogers at the Macy's Passport's Glamorama at The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This Sept. 12, 2013 file photo shows Robbie Rogers at the Macy's Passport's Glamorama at The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.

 Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional league, has a memoir scheduled to be published next year.
Penguin Books announced Thursday that "Coming Out to Play" will be published as a paperback original. Penguin says Rogers' book will track his rise from a "troubled, isolated child" to a winger for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. The 26-year-old Rogers will co-write the book with Eric Marcusm, who collaborated on Greg Louganis' best-selling memoir.
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File). This June 8, 2013 file photo shows LA Galaxy's Robbie Rogers before the first half during an MLS soccer game against Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah.Rogers retired from soccer in February, when he revealed in a post on his blog that he was gay. But he began training with the Galaxy in the spring at the invitation of coach Bruce Arena and was signed by the team in May.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

September 16, 2013

NFL Steve Young a Mormon Who Wants to Build Bridges with the Gay Community

NFL legend Steve Young.

SALT LAKE CITY — Legendary NFL quarterback Steve Young says he’s a Mormon who wants to build bridges with the gay community.
Young spoke Saturday night to about 400 people attending the New Frontiers conference of the group Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons.
The former BYU quarterback said his goal "is to build bridges with my gay brothers and sisters. We need to see each other as Jesus sees us."
Young also reminisced about winning the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers, and spoke about relying on faith.
"(Faith is the) fundamental fuel for the human experience," he said. "If the experience is to return to our Heavenly Father, faith is the fuel from beginning to end."
He introduced his wife, Barb, as an advocate for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
"There is not a day that goes by that you are not on her mind. She has spent countless hours advocating for you," Young told the crowd.
Barb Young, a Mormon convert whose older brother is gay, actively opposed California’s Proposition 8 in 2008, even though leaders of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enlisted members to work for its passage. The measure banning same-sex marriage was passed by voters.
She urged attendees to be "patient like Jesus" and to love LDS church members as they move toward understanding of their LGBT family members.
"One of the most beautiful things about this church is that it can evolve," she said. "It may not go as fast as everyone wants, but it is evolving."
In the end, Barb Young said, everything depends on how fully Mormons live their faith.
"If we consciously embrace Jesus’ teaching of empathy, compassionate, and love, the future world will be different," she said.
Judy Finch, who has a son and two grandchildren who identify as being gay, said she sees mostly LDS church members in her private practice as a psychotherapist.
"In my role (as a therapist) I provide hope and reassurance and encouragement," Finch told the crowd. "Heavenly Father loves our gays exactly the way they are — exactly the way he created them."
Perhaps people have been praying for the wrong thing when they ask for gay people to become straight, she said. Instead, they should ask to know God’s will in "respect to gays" and for the ability to fulfil it, she said.
The conference revolved around a theme of spiritual healing and reconciliation for those who identify as being LGBT.
The Mormon church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.
"Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters," the church website states.

February 21, 2013

Robbie Comes Out and Resigns } A Torrent of Loving Fans Ask Why?

Robbie Rogers in action for Stevenage
Robbie Rogers in action for Stevenage. Photograph: Tim Hales/PA
In an open letter on his website on Friday, Robbie Rogers came out as gay, announced that he is stepping away indefinitely from professional soccer and unknowingly invited a torrent of support from US fans that was not unexpected if you've been following along with the recent narratives of domestic soccer.
The announcement, only a year and a half after Rogers scored the equaliser against Mexico in Jürgen Klinsmann's coaching debut, has sent – and is still sending – shockwaves through the world of sport.
And, that response – from US soccer fans, at least – has been overwhelming and unwavering in its support for a 25-year-old who clearly has felt a weighted shroud over keeping his orientation private for long. It's hard to wonder what it is like to walk around a world that is often not speaking your language, through advertisement, through innuendo, through media or whatever.
I've had the great fortune of seeing a lot of incredible moments in US soccer history, but nothing has fuelled me with the pride that I have felt this past month as players and fans have stood united in support of human rights and dignity.
First, there was Jozy Altidore's level-headed, articulate and forceful response towards the racism he encountered during a Dutch Cup match against Den Bosch. Now, a community rallies around Rogers's powerful personal statement, which speaks honestly to the difficulty of revealing who you truly are, whilst also addressing the issue of homosexuality in soccer.
A mere discussion of homosexuality's existence in the sport is often labelled as taboo by those within the game. It is a silence that often obstructs any kind of legitimate discourse on the topic, much less any meaningful action in an attempt to ease the burden on "potentially" gay players (hint: they exist). Rules and disciplinary action for those that prejudice gay players may be prevalent, but efforts to truly integrate and push acceptance, nay, standardisation for those of an "alternate" persuasion are invisible.
Rogers eloquently and panoptically addresses the issue from the perspective of his own story– and it's an honesty that will no doubt help others in similar situations struggling with the same search for peace and true self-discovery in the future. And further, one can't help but wonder what struggles Rogers may have had to deal with growing up in a religious family.
Both Altidore's post-match interview and Rogers's letter represent astute, heartfelt and mature views of monumental societal issues at a time when too few, both within and outside of sports, are ready to admit that we have a problem addressing them.
Instead – had Rogers not made his statement – the narrative would have been about not creating faux role models out of athletes in the wake of the alleged actions against Oscar Pistorius.
Meanwhile role models are sitting there right in front of our very eyes.
These are two courageous actions from two men who make it rewarding and invigorating to be a US fan regardless of the result on the field and whether Jermaine Jones should start or not.
The great thing about the responses of Altidore and Rogers are that they've done more than bring issues of racism and homophobia to the fore.
Hearing these men deliver such powerful, moving and human rebuttals to prejudice has been, at the risk of sounding reductive, inspirational. To borrow the phrase Thierry Henry's anti-racism campaign used during his years in England, events like these enliven a desire to "stand up, speak out."
Altidore and Rogers have spawned responses that are more than plain indifference – a polite, accepting "OK" or "whatever floats your boat." They have solicited something much more than a blind eye.
Rather, for US fans in the past fortnight, they have engendered a pride in our diversity – a pride in our ability to recognise it, to embody it, to celebrate it and to defend it. The American ethos alive and well with cleats and a ball.
It has made me realise that the best part of being a fan of US soccer has nothing to do with goals or results, but the culture of openness, acceptance and togetherness that is emerging as part of the fabric of our game. At a time when tribalism and bigotry have unfortunately had such a huge impact on global football, it is a quality that cannot be taken for granted, nor can its importance be emphasised enough.
This isn't a forum for debate, but Sepp Blatter may have suggested that US soccer growth is not what his expectation was after 1994, but I say that US soccer is the beacon, is leading the sport. Sepp's overtones are to "grow the game ..."
Haven't Altidore and Rogers done just that?
I – US fan, writer, American – am proud of Robbie Rogers. I am proud of his US team-mates for their supportive words. And I am proud of US soccer supporters for embodying our nation's celebrated credo: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.
Here's hoping we see Robbie Rogers back on the field soon, in a sport that is more open and accepting than the one he left behind. As the great Eddie Pope so wonderfully wrote to Rogers on Friday: "Brave men like you will make it so that one day there's no need for an announcement. That day can't arrive soon enough."
• This is an article from our Guardian Sport Network. To find out more about it click here.
• This article first appeared on the Shin Guardian.

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