Monday, June 30, 2008

On The Road Yet Again!

I’m off to VA, DC and MD tomorrow and will not be blogging again until next week. I’m the keynote speaker for the National Education Association LGBT Caucus dinner in DC on Saturday evening. They have confirmed 700 tickets sold for the dinner and dance to follow. I wish I could claim that these 700 people bought their tickets to hear what I have to say, but, alas, no. The main attraction is the dinner and dancing. I play a small part in the evening.

My goal, however, is to be as entertaining as I can be in about 15-20 minutes as I provide them with some information about homophobia in school sports, the fab resources we have at and the roles they can play to make athletics a safe and respectful place for LGBT students in their school.

I’ll talk to you next week. In the meantime, I hope your July 4th is safe and fun.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dreams of A Techno-Challenged Homophobia in Sport Educator

A Sociology of Gender class at Penn State University has posted several public service announcements on YouTube that are very interesting. I found one about homophobia in sport featuring several male athletes at Penn State talking about their reactions to having a gay teammate.

Short clips like this with actual athletes talking about their attitudes are great educational tools. I’ve been thinking of doing something like this myself but am held back by my marginal technical skills. I am working on this and hope to be able to create and post similar clips on YouTube and the It Takes A Team web site soon. It would be a great way to spark conversations with coaches and athletes about LGBT issues in sport as well as a great way to educate the public. I’d like to feature men and women, gay and straight, athletes and coaches talking about specific issues within the broad topic of homophobia in sport: relationships on teams, Christian athletes and lesbian and gay athletes on teams, anti-gay name-calling, stereotypes of lesbian and gay athletes, negative recruiting, inclusion of trans athletes, issues LGBT athletes of color face…the list of ideas is endless.

I see a summer project developing…You, dear blog reader, can help me out. What kind of topics would you like to see addressed in a series of PSAs on LGBT issues in sport?

Monday, June 16, 2008

On The Road Again

I’m on the road this week and probably won’t post anything until next week. I was in Boston this weekend attending the Center for the Study of Sport and Society’s Power of Sport Summit. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with other activists, educators and scholars from around the USA who are committed to social justice in sport. I got home yesterday just in time to pack some fresh clothes and I’m off to New York for a meeting at the Women’s Sports Foundation today and then participate in a panel sponsored by the Out Professionals on Celebrating 25 years of LGBT Sports History on Wednesday. Have a great week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Washington State Adopts Policy on Transgender High School Athletes

Stepping in where no interscholastic or intercollegiate sport governing body has yet to tread, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has developed the first in the nation policy governing the participation of transgender athletes in high school sports. Kudos to the WIAA and the many consulting organizations who worked on this ground-breaking policy. We plan to post the policy on the It Takes A Team! web site as soon as we get all the bugs out of our new web site format (I debated with myself and decided to go ahead and blog about this even though I know it might be frustrating to not actually see the policy). You can check out the It Takes A Team! resource on including transgender athletes in the meantime.

Though the International Olympic Committee, in 2003, adopted the first ever policy establishing criteria for transsexual athletes to participate in the Olympics, the policy has been widely criticized by athletes like Canadian Olympic hopeful, Kristen Worley and professional golfer Mianne Bagger as well as others in the transgender rights movement.

The IOC policy, known as the Stockholm Consensus, is focused primarily on male to female transitions and focuses on completing a surgical transition as a criterion for participation. Even so, the United State Golf Association and USA Track & Field have adopted the IOC policy . The Gay Games Federation and the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) have also adopted policies enabling transgender/transitioned athletes to compete in the Gay Games and the OutGames.

The NCAA, unfortunately, has stuck to their position that athletes must compete in the gender indicated on their official documents: Driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport). This policy has many problems and is one lawsuit away from disaster in my opinion. It’s disappointing that the NCAA appears to be taking a reactive rather a proactive stance on this issue.

Because interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics have eligibility limits, unlike Olympic or professional athletes, school policy governing the participation of transgender athletes needs to be different. Plus, the short-comings of the IOC policy in general call out for a more thoughtful and practical second try at policy development, especially one that applies to high school and college athletics.
Enter the WIAA. It is notable and impressive that this state association has taken on the task of developing a policy that will serve as a model for, not only other state high school athletic associations, but for collegiate athletics as well.

The WIAA worked with several groups and individuals over several months to develop and revise this policy including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Advocates for Informed Choice and the Colorado High School Activities Association.

The collaborative process of developing the policy and the actual policy itself are models for other interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic associations to follow. Thank you, Washington State, for your leadership in addressing this emergent social justice issue in sport.

What policy does your school have governing the participation of transgender/transitioned athletes?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lesbian Baseball Fans Kissing Blamed for Onset of Little Known Anxiety Disorder

Seattle - Last week a mother attending a Seattle Mariners game at Safeco Field had an apparent attack of “Lesbian Public Display of Affection Hypersensitivity Disorder” (LPDAHD) when she witnessed two lesbian fans “kissing and groping” (her description) in the stands. Her attack led her to complain to a Mariners “seating host” about the PDA that brought on her attack because she said she did not know how to explain it to her son who was also at the game. I should explain here that one of the most common side effects of LPDAHD is disorientation that results in a sudden inability to answer children’s questions about why on earth two people would kiss in public.

Unfortunately the “seating host” was also a LPDAHD sufferer who immediately sought relief by telling the offending sapphites to stop kissing because their untoward behavior was bringing on allergic reactions from other fans who struggle with LPDAHD. Imagine the outrage when the lesbians were insensitive enough to insist that, a) the PDA was only a “peck on the check” not “groping,” b) many other heterosexual couples at the game were engaging in similar public displays of affection and they were not asked to stop, and c) they would not stop even though their behavior was causing emotional distress for the lesbian-challenged mom.

A recent study by a respected medical doctor shows that LPDAHD sufferers have a tendency to amplify or exaggerate their perceptions of PDAs when they witness these activities among women. This doctor has developed the “PDA Conversion Scale” to help LPDAHD sufferers understand their warped perceptions when in the throes of a full blown LPDAHD attack. I present it here for you now:

Two lesbians sitting close together = A heterosexual couple holding hands

Two lesbians pecking each other on the cheek = A heterosexual couple tonsil tickling
with their tongues

Two lesbians with their arms around each other = A heterosexual couple groping and

Two lesbians kissing passionately = A heterosexual couple having sex in public

It is commonly understood by many medical authorities that attendance at athletic contests is likely to precipitate another more prevalent anxiety disorder, Homophobic Tourette’s Syndrome (HTS). HTS is more common among heterosexual men and is likely related to testosterone poisoning which is brought on by being in close proximity to large groups of other heterosexual men, such as is the case at athletic contests. Sufferers of HTS are prone to blurting out words like “homo” or “faggot” at sporting events when referring to members of the opposing team.

Whereas LPDAHD has been considered serious enough that the lesbian PDAs provoking the onset of LPDAHD at sports arenas must be stopped immediately, HTS is generally more tolerated by other fans and sports arena personnel and no known cure exists.

The next time you are attending a sporting event and find yourself hyperventilating at the sight of two lesbians kissing or holding hands, maybe you should ask your doctor if “Get a Life” is right for you.