Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lauren Lappin, Out Lesbian Olympian: It’s No Big Deal (And It's A Very Big Deal)

Here’s a great story about Lauren Lappin, one of the 13 publicly out lesbian, gay or bi Olympians competing in Beijing. Lauren’s story of coming out, first to herself and then to her family, coaches and teammates and now to the public is a success story on every level. The reactions of everyone close to her have enabled Lauren to be herself and focus on realizing her athletic goals without carrying the burdens of secrecy and fear that go with life in the closet. This is how it should be.

Olympic teammate, shortstop Natasha Watley, summed this up best in the article, "This team is very accepting. We don't care if you're purple, green, from another planet. We just don't care. It's who you are. It's no big deal. Now if Lauren went into a hitting slump, then we'd have a problem." It’s no big deal. That’s the way every team should be. Unfortunately, not all coaches and teams are so accepting, so it is a big deal that it no big deal.

Contrast the responses of Lauren's coaches, teammates and family with what happened in Ponce De Leon, Florida recently. When a student complained that she was being taunted because she is a lesbians, the high school principal told her being gay was wrong and told her to stay away from children. He then scheduled a "morality" assembly for students at the school. When other students supported this student who was taunted, the principal interrogated them about their sexual orientation. The ACLU was called in and a judge ruled that the principal was wrong. The principal was demoted to the classroom (demoted to the classroom?), but apparently some folks in the community and even the school superintendent don't think he did anything wrong. So, yes, teammate, coach and family reactions to Lauren's coming out are still a big deal.

Lauren says she would like to be an “ambassador” to help others through her experience. Lauren, here is an open invitation to work with It Takes A Team! I know we could find ways for you to help other athletes, coaches and families create the kind of respectful and affirming response you’ve enjoyed. I’ll be in touch.


Anonymous said...

I feel so sad for think that this is suppose to be your is a reflection of the way you were raised and the lack of JESUS in your life..he is the center of all...the sin of homosexuality is not a way of life but a choice..a sin...DOES NOT MEAN IN ANY WAY THAT THE PERSON IS BAD, OR NOT GOOD...just a sad life choice of error..and it can be changed through CHRIST...all is always forgiven through HIM. God is a loving father and awaits for all his children to surrender all to him....

Pat Griffin said...

Dear Anonymous: Please don't waste your time feeling sad for me or any other lesbian or gay person just because we are gay. Most of the lesbian and gay people I know are happy and living productive lives filled with love and laughter. Some of us are Christians like yourself.

Are there unhappy gay people? Sure, but the source of their unhappiness is often homophobia, discrimination, bigotry and judgement from others, not their gayness.

Your patronizing "love the sinner, hate the sin" perspective, in my opinion, prevents you from acknowledging and appreciating the fabulous gay and lesbian people you will never know in your life. For this, I feel sad for you.

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