Wednesday, November 19, 2008

OUT Magazine's Out 100 List Falls Short

Out Magazine has named a list of “Out 100 Men and Women Who Made 2008 A Year to Remember. “ The list includes descriptions of honorees as well as some interesting photographs of each one. Most of the honorees are in arts, entertainment and fashion and most of them are white men. So the list ignores accomplished out LGBT people in many fields outside of this narrow focus as well as many women and people of color in all fields.

Diana Nyad is one of the 100, cited primarily for her accomplishments in journalism. Her photo is really cool too. However, many of us of a certain age also know Diana as an amazing athlete whose long distance swimming feats in the 1970’s defy the imagination. She still holds the record for a distance swim from Cuba to the US (102.5 miles!). Her athletic accomplishments were mentioned in passing, but it is primarily her journalistic career for which she is named to this list.

Two gay athletes are included in the list as a pair, rather than individually – Corey Benton and Jamal Brown – both out gay track athletes from Columbia and Dartmouth respectively. I think it is great that Corey and Jamal are honored by Out Magazine and they certainly deserve recognition, but I am wondering who the committee consulted with to identify athletes or coaches for the list.

Surely, in an Olympic year with several out lesbian or bi women athletes competing and medaling in Beijing they might have considered some of the American women for this honor. Lauren Lappin and Vickie Galindo (Silver medals in softball), Natasha Kai (Gold medal in soccer) would have been excellent choices. Shannon Miller, out lesbian coach of the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s ice hockey team, won the Frozen Four. She would also be a terrific choice. I plan to write to Out Magazine to encourage them to cast a broader net next year to honor more out LGBT people in athletes and to honor the accomplishments of more women and people of color.

The good thing is that my disappointment in the narrow focus of the Out Magazine list has prompted me to continue my own “Best of” list for 2008 (I did one for 2007) focusing on sports. Also, if you have a suggestion of someone to be honored, please let me know. Stay tuned


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