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The Welsh Rugby Player’s Gay Sex Tweet Wasn’t Homophobic. It Was Just Crass. There’s a Difference

NFL star Larry Johnson gave Americans one of their first Twitter tastes of fag-bashing via 140 characters. And now Welsh rugby forward Jonathan Thomas, of the Ospreys, is giving the United Kingdom its own taste of scandal by tweeting a gay sex joke to a teammate. It’s been deemed homophobic, and Thomas apologized and deleted the tweets. Oh, who fucking cares.

“Legs and ass are in bits, can’t move,” tweeted teammate Ian Evans. To which Thomas posted in reply: “U gotta stop hanging round with Nigel Owens!” Owens is a Welsh rugby referee, who came out in 2007. The tweet was followed with: “For those ppl [people] who got the wrong end of the stick… it was from our savage training day yesterday, sorry about my friend fellow ppl.”

That was followed by a lengthier statement: “Nigel is a great friend of mine and there is absolutely no way I would say anything to him or about him publicly – or indeed privately – which I thought he would find personally offensive. There is no malicious intent in this message whatsoever. This was some childish banter between friends and I did not think for a moment that there may be other people out there reading it and/or taking it in the wrong way. “I made a very silly comment to something else that was written, but nevertheless, I would like to apologise to anyone who is or was offended by it. I have spoken to Nigel this afternoon and, as I knew at the time of writing, he is not offended and he remains a very good friend. I have now removed the offending comment and will be much more conscious of distinguishing between private jokes and what can be said in a public forum in future.”

Britain’s go-to mouthpiece, activist Peter Tatchell, complained: “Homophobic tweets are just as unacceptable as similar outbursts on blogs and message boards. This is not what we would expect from players such as Jonathan Thomas. These remarks are particularly disappointing as they come just weeks after Jonathan’s former international team-mate Gareth Thomas came out to such public acclaim and admiration. Many of us expected and hoped that this was a turning point and that Welsh rugby could kiss goodbye to homophobia. Sadly, Jonathan’s proved us wrong.”

For his part, Owens, who is friends with Thomas, says the tweet was “probably just tongue-in-cheek, something they said without thinking about it. If it had been other players that I didn’t know so well then maybe I might think, ‘Hang on a minute’, but with those two there’s definitely no issues.”

Indeed. And even if Owens didn’t know the players, we hasten to say this is an example of “homophobia.” At best, it was a rude sexual remark about a league official. It just so happens, when two men have sex, one partner often inserts his penis in the other man’s anus. If they have lengthy, vigorous sex, the receiving partner might indeed describe his ass as being “in bits” (if the receiving partner speaks in British slang).

This is akin to a woman joking with a lady friend, who complains of “not being able to walk,” remarking that she should “stop hanging round with” a well-endowed man. That wouldn’t be a “heterophobic” joke; it would be another crass sexual joke. If we’re striving for equality, guess what? The way we have sex gets to be a punchline. And not only is it perfectly okay, but it’s nothing to get riled up about.

In fact, let’s take pride: The way gay men have sex can leave a burly bloke bent out of shape for days. If that’s not a showing of machismo, we don’t know what is.

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 11, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,
  • 19 Comments
    • Same Crap
      Same Crap

      Sounds like the Limbaugh-Rahm “retard” double standard again, queerty.

      Nice way of Palinizing yourselves. Well, I guess you do share her sharp intellect already.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 11:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      Really? THIS is how overly sensitive you want to come off? I suggest midol for anyone offended.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 11:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      “This is akin to a woman joking with a lady friend, who complains of “not being able to walk,” remarking that she should “stop hanging round with” a well-endowed man. That wouldn’t be a “heterophobic” joke; it would be another crass sexual joke.”

      Ah. Except that there’s no attempt in your example to denigrate someone by implying that they are of a different sexual orientation then they actually are, and therefore inferior. The comment Thomas made wasn’t JUST about a sexual act; it was about denigrating Evans by suggesting that he takes it up the ass from other men, which would make him less of a “real man” in the eyes of many straight men. Part of the humor comes from the implication that Owens is gay, and therefore less than.

      It’s a more subtle form of homophobia, but it is homophobia none-the-less.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 11:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luke
      Luke

      Was Owens really suggesting that Evans was less of a man for engaging in gay sex, or are you just applying that without any real meaning? Just because some people feel that doesn’t mean that everyone does. It was crass, but homophobic seems to be reading a lot into a less than 140-character quote.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      This is hardly homophobic.
      Get a grip!

      Feb 11, 2010 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carter
      Carter

      Comments on the same post at Towleroad reflect a relaxed, realistic attitude.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 11:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      Tatchell puts himself out there, and I admire him for it. He really takes chances, but sometimes he can get over sensitive. I don’t think this tweet is anything but an off the cuff joke that any of us might have made. No big deal.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      If these two were gay, then it would just be a crass joke. To suggest that a straight guy can tell another straight guy to stop letting other guys fuck him ass and that it is 100% homophobia free is either disingenuous or divorced from reality.

      I’m not saying it’s a big deal, that I’m offended or that he needed to apologize. I’m just saying the assertion that there is no homophobia underlying the humor is a bit myopic.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      This is crass, not homophobic. I said it on Towleroad and I’ll say it here, straight friends do not need character references from the local gay mafia to make tasteless jokes.

      Queerty got it right. Crass =/= homophobic, and some of you need to stop playing victim.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lukas P.
      Lukas P.

      Why was this even made public? I know, I know tweets aren’t considered private, but I can’t get my knickers in a twist over this one. I don’t even think an apology was called for, but it was probably at the insistence of some poor PR person trying to earn her/his keep.

      My str8 male friend S. is trying to drop a few pounds. I’ve invited him to join me on my weekend walks along the lakefront, almost 7 km each way, and he often joins me. I walk rather fast, and at the end of our first trek we went back to the flat he shares with his lovely wife, also a good friend. First words out of his mouth upon reaching home were “I don’t think I can move another muscle.” Wife E. replied “see, I warned you about hanging with the gays!” We all laughed. If I didn’t know them, maybe I’d have taken umbrage, but in context of a long friendship, no offense whatsoever was meant or taken. I’d hate for the pair of them to have to censor every phrase they utter, because I sure as hell don’t while around them.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bellyup
      bellyup

      This guy is HAWT!!! I want to eat his legs!!!!!

      (sorry for not caring about the scandal)

      Feb 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rick
      Rick

      @Sam: Very well put

      Feb 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hephaestion
      hephaestion

      I fail to see the problem here. I wish more US athletes were as gay-friendly as these guys.

      Feb 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      he’s cute…whatever

      Feb 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC
      Robert, NYC

      Well, if its not homophobic, why is it necessary to mention
      Nigel Owens in the first place? Just what has his sexual orientation to do with some straight guy having a bad day in a training session. What is the relevance? Do we blame straights’ sexual orientation if we’re having a bad day? I fail to see the connection either way.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 4:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      oh come on, Robert from NYC. You know exactly why he was relevant to the joke. The connection is obvious, and hilarious. We all need to step back and realize that the best indicator that you’re well integrated into society is if people can make light-hearted humor about you. There was nothing particularly offensive about this joke (aside from its crudeness, which might offend prudes, I guess). At least, I certainly didn’t take offense. Honestly, if I were Nigel Owens, I’d take it as a compliment!

      Feb 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      free speech is a right…for everyone….even if we don’t agree with their speech…

      Feb 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dylan
      Dylan

      Yes free speech isn’t about people saying what ever they want and everyone else having to sit down and stay quiet about their opinions about what the first person said. They get to say what they think about it too. Basically you get to say whatever you want but if it’s stupid you are going to hear about it.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Millie_G
      Millie_G

      Bah…This is hardly homophobic. It made me burst out laughing, it’s just a joyous banter typical of the rugby environment. Rugby is a very tolerant sport, far from homophobic, and so are the players and the fans, so I suggest you not to get oversensitive here.

      Feb 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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