Friday, April 23, 2010

Balls Out

Homo Superior is disgusted by this story, and so am I:
According to SFGate, the [North American Gay Amateur Sports A]lliance kicked three players off the amateur softball team they belonged to and stripped the team, called D2, of its second-place standing because the players were in fact bisexual, not gay.

Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ are now suing the Alliance with the backing of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, claiming that while at the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle, they were each led into a conference room and questioned about their sexuality. Charles, the team's former manager, claims that he was told "This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series."

I'm actually a bit shocked by it, because I had the impression that gay sports were mostly pretty inclusive -- the Gay Games, for example. They even let straights in. That seems to be common, though not universal, for minority activities. At IU, for example, the Afro-American Choral Ensemble has a lot of white members; I was pleasantly surprised the first time I went to one of their concerts.

On the other hand, I'm sympathetic to, and largely supportive of, minority-only space; I don't think it's either sinister or discriminatory. The trouble, as the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival knows, is defining and enforcing it. If you want to have a gay-male only team, you should be able to have one. But a surprising (to people who've never heard of Alfred Kinsey, at least) number of gay men have bisexual histories. Sometimes those bisexual histories continue into the present, but that's history for you.

But I'm also amused, in a snarky and Schadenfreude-laden way. I have mixed feelings about the standard sort of civil-rights legislation, but this story made me think that it might be good if ENDA passes after all. A lot of biphobic and misogynist gay men will discover in a hurry what I've been explaining patiently for a couple of decades now: if you pass a law against discrimination based on sexual orientation, it will not protect only gay men. It'll protect (gasp!) lesbians and (moan!) bisexuals and (eek!) heterosexuals too. Which is not what many gay men and lesbians meant at all, it is not what they meant at all.