Thursday, August 02, 2007

Out and about early

More good news this week about positive trends in sports. Some colleges have dropped the "Lady" from their nicknames of women's teams, and now, it seems, young athletes are coming out as gay in high school and college and not getting the crap beat out of them.

The LA Times features the stories of a handful of young athletes who chose not to hide their homosexual identity and to continue to play sports. The article is not especially well-written, jumping from one athlete's story to the next with little transition, but it is important in that it showcases athletes who are challenging the norms set by sport and society about sexuality, gender, and athletic ability.

I actually disagreed with a GLADD rep, a former football player himself, who said that he thinks a superstar will come out eventually (I guess he thinks of superstars as men given that Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Amelie Mauresmo, and Sheryl Swoopes all came out during their playing careers and have some pretty superstar-like qualities). But he added that it will not create "enormous change." I don't know if enormous is the right adjective but I think it will create change. Sport certainly reflects society--we see things like traditional gender roles being played out in sport; but it also has the ability to change society--like expanding gender roles. When we're talking about homophobia and acceptance of members of the GLBT community I definitely see sport as a potential medium to effect great change in the larger society on these issues.

1 comment:

Diane said...

That's like the Logo Channel doing a news feature on John Amaechi's (or maybe it was someone else)commercial for a well-known product, saying it was the first time an important gay sports figure had appeared in a major commercial.

I don't know if they were dismissing Navratilova, Subaru, or both.