SWITCH HITTING

Bisexuals Now Allowed To Play Gay Softball. How About The Straights?

Remember when the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association decided that three bisexual players at the 2008 Gay Softball World Series were too straight to compete? The National Center for Lesbian Rights sued NAGAAA and their case has just been settled. But while NAGAAA will now allow bisexual players, they still limit the number of straight players to two per team, leaving the door for open for future discrimination and for secretly straight guys to (ahem) bat for the other team.

As this helpful Taiwanese animation illustrates, NAGAAA asked several players from a San Francisco team about their sexual orientation after a competitor accused them of being straight. After a brief meeting, NAGAAA decided the self-ammittedly bisexual players were too straight to be on the team and they stripped the San Franciscans of their second-place World Series win. After that, the NCLR sued on behalf of the team.

Well, the NAGAAA has reinstated the players and recognized their second-place finish but also say that the Constitution allows them to limit the number of straight players a team can have. However, according to NCLR spokesperson Erik Olvera, NAGAAA will co-sponsoring a panel discussion at the next Gay Softball World Series about possibly dropping the straight player limit altogether.

But while both the NAGAAA and the NCLR have both come out winners in this settlement, Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler Jr. worries about the pitfalls whether or not NAGAAA keeps their straight player limit:

The issue of limits based on sexual orientation won’t go away anytime soon. I had dinner Sunday night with someone who played on a good gay softball team who said flat-out that players claim they are gay or bisexual when they are in fact straight. Let’s face it: If a team wants to cheat, there’s simply no good way to enforce the rule other than trusting the integrity of the players…

On the flip side, lifting a restriction all together… [is] hardly in the spirit of these gay events that are largely venues for gay people to hang out together… [so if] many gay teams load their rosters with straight players in various sports, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise…

At the end of the day, the lawsuit… got NAGAAA to bring all LGBT people into their fold, which is incredibly important — no member of the community should be made to feel less-than at these events. It also brought light to the potential pitfalls of how NAGAAA determines who’s straight and who’s not.

Personally, we say the players should still have to list their sexual orientations while NAGAA does everything possible to make all players recognize the LGBT-ness of the games by celebrating at local queer venues and having LGBT personalities host events throughout the games. That way, at least the straight players will still appreciate all the gay-bi-lesbo-trans spirit that makes LGBT athleticism so distinctly important.

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24 Comments

  • Cam

    If they hadn’t settled they most likely would have won. The rights of clubs and teams to limit participation has been upheld again and again by the courts as long as they are not taking govt. dollars or in a public setting like a business, it’s why the Boyscouts can keep out gays, why gays can’t march in the St. Patricks Day Parade, and why Black engeneering student clubs, and Asian Student clubs etc… are allowed to screen members by race.

  • Tommy

    This whole thing seems blown out of proportion. Why would a straight guy want to join a gay sports league in the first place? The whole point of these leagues are for people to feel safe and not be discriminated against or bullied because of their sexual orientation. If you are straight, you don’t have that problem and can join any regular sports league.
    I don’t really see there would be a huge gigantic number of straight dudes pretending to be gay and bisexual so they can join these leagues. What’s the benefit to the average straight guy?
    The complaints seem to show a lack of understanding of how the world works. Straight people generally don’t go around pretending to be gay or bisexual just for the heck of it or to annoy gay people. It’s gay and bisexual people who claim to be straight to avoid the discrimination of society.

  • Princess Bexter

    What about people who support gay people having equal rights, dont they deserve the right to stand next to us despite being straight?

    The whole notion of restricting access to something based upon sexual orientation is as vulgar as it is opressive, and the irony is sadding to see.

    I had no idea there were such things as gay sports leagues, and now that I know of them the most enthusiasm I can muster up is to write this message of disdain at the thought of a non-inclusive sports league claiming to represent myself when it doesn’t. The whole thing sounds too 1970’s to be true.

  • Stephanie

    Where’s the irony police when you need it? I agree with Queerty on this one… gay marriage for some and tiny American flags for all.

  • Georgie

    Anyone else think that’s a hilarious name for an organization? What up NAGAAA?!

  • Lackadaicycle

    @Princess Bexter:
    Yeah, the notion of discriminating in this way is terrible, but this is a case in which it makes sense to do so (though not with malicious intent, of course). There’s a double standard here: we generally deem it wrong for the majority to make exclusive groups, but don’t pass the same judgment along to minority groups. We’re making up for the fact that the majority consistently oppresses minorities (I’m not saying that all members of a majority will, just that majorities normally do at some point) for their lack of ‘normalness’ (not being the most common in a community). Minority-centric groups make sense because members gain the feeling of being in the majority – a feeling they don’t get anywhere else.

    The real concern should be that we feel the need to join insular communities at all, not whether the generally (again, not always) oppressive majority feels shunned by the people they shun. In this case, people are coming around and accepting homosexuality , but there’s still a disconnect between the plights of straight and LGBT people that gives rise to a need for an LGBT community of some sort (we LGBT people need to associate with other LGBT people for romance, for example).

    LGBT allies are much-needed and surely appreciated, but they don’t necessarily have the same need that LGBT people do as far as building this particular community goes.

  • jason

    This was a very ugly episode in the history of the GLBT movement and made a laughing stock out of all of us. One conservative web site was having a field day at our expense, calling us Nazis and social engineers.

    If anything, I think bisexual men represent true liberation for the concept of same-sex sexuality. That’s because they can’t be segregated, either physically or conceptually. Unlike bisexual women, who pander to the fantasies of sexist and homophobic men, bisexual men are their own individuals.

  • Steven

    As it has been previously stated, this kind of discrimination happens in countless other activities for the sake of having a sense of belonging. This is just another case of “oh but you can’t have that”.

    @jason: Trust me, anyone that is not a cisgendered heterosexual is going to get some crap. Perhaps not as bad as gay people, but still.

  • meego

    Allowing straights into a gay sports team kind of defeats the purpose of having a gay sports team, doesn’t it? Why do straights feel the need to joing gay teams? Aren’t there enough straight teams out there? And don’t give me this “gay friendly” bullshit. I, as well as many other people, in many different cities, have seen gay clubs allow straights in. First thing we knew, the straights had taken over. Hmmmmm…..think about that one.

  • JayKay

    So womens’ softball teams have to start letting men play too, right? After all, blah blah blah discrimination, and blah blah minority blah. Furthermore blah blah fairness blah blah diversity makes us strong blah.

  • Flummoxed

    Let me get this right: The National Center for LESBIAN Rights sued to prevent gays from having a gay softball league???
    What in the what?!?
    Why are resources from a Lesbian legal fund being spent to fight AGAINST gays??? Is it run by Pat Robertson???

  • Dorothea from Germany

    @Princess Bexter: “What about people who support gay people having equal rights, dont they deserve the right to stand next to us despite being straight? The whole notion of restricting access to something based upon sexual orientation is as vulgar as it is opressive, and the irony is sadding to see.”

    I completely agree with you, Princess Bexter.

    If you demand to be treated equally by others, then the best you can do is to lead by example and treat others equally. Otherwise, you are a f*cking hypocrite, you lose all credibility and your demands won’t be taken seriously.

  • missanthrope

    @Princess Bexter:

    Just because a straight person has found the human decency not to be homophobic doesn’t mean that their entitled to have full access to our organizations. I’ve seen organizations that have put allies in key positions and the next thing you know they’re calling the shots. Wanting a space for yourself isn’t discrimination.

  • Max the Communist

    Let’s hope this puts an end to interrogating players about their sexuality–something the plaintiffs have always accused NAGAAA of and that NAGAAA goes into complete denial about. Really, it should be about the joy of the game, not some Nazi gestapo scene.

  • meego

    @missanthrope: Exactly!!!!!!!

  • Phil

    Pretty sure it’s not illegal to discriminate upon the basis sexuality for organizations such as this. That’s not necessarily a good thing but you play with the cards you’re dealt. When it comes down to it, this was a gay athletic association, not an LGBT-themed athletic association. (I’m not including the rest. It’s ridiculous.)

  • Cam

    I’ve noticed two or three women posters on here saying that these teams can’t discriminate because gays demand equal rights.

    Fine, then I also assume that these same women will be demanding that all female organizations now allow men in, that scholarships reserved for women now be open up for men, that women only gyms cease to exist, that lesbian bars now open their doors to men etc…

  • chink change

    NAGAA, LOL. Hilarious.

  • chink change

    *NAGAAA

  • Jeff

    @Max the Communist, well said. What happened here was biphobia and discrimination.

  • Mykell

    @jason: Most bisexual women I know don’t pander to the fantasies of straight men. Their bisexuality is just as innate and individual as bisexual men’s bisexuality, regardless of the stupid fantasies of straight men they have to put up with.

  • Mat

    I am a bi male and have been put through similar interrogation in a graduate school program by a gay professor who thought I was using the bisexual label to hide my gayness. The interrogation was traumatizing. But after the interrogation it was revealed by another faculty that I actually did date a woman for five years and had relationships with a dozen different women and half a dozen men openly and not on the downlow. There were 3 closeted bi guys in my program all escaped such interrogation because they were closeted. The lesson is the more you are out as bisexual the more you are a “coward”, the more you tell the truth the more you are a “liar”, and the more enlightened you are about your sexuality the more you are “in denial”, therefore a very arrogant gay man needed to intervene to liberate me from my bad habit of being a heterosexual. Gay liberation ought to be about the liberty to love who we choose!!!! Currently I am in a relationship with a bi woman, with a bi poly guy, and bi poly man who come around occasionally to share love and affection and sex very safely.

  • Mat

    I am a bi male and have been put through similar interrogation in a graduate school program by a gay professor who thought I was using the bisexual label to hide my gayness. The interrogation was traumatizing. But after the interrogation it was revealed by another faculty that I actually did date a woman for five years and had relationships with a dozen different women and half a dozen men openly and not on the downlow. There were 3 closeted bi guys in my program all escaped such interrogation because they were closeted. The lesson is the more you are out as bisexual the more you are a “coward”, the more you tell the truth the more you are a “liar”, and the more enlightened you are about your sexuality the more you are “in denial”, therefore a very arrogant gay man needed to intervene to liberate me from my bad habit of being a heterosexual. Gay liberation ought to be about the liberty to love who we choose!!!! Currently I am in a relationship with a bi woman, with a bi poly guy, and bi poly girl who come around occasionally to share love and affection and sex very safely.

  • Isaac C

    @Mat: What a disgusting worm you are. You have no place among us. Why is it that people like you always have to whine and try to attach yourselves to our movement? You can’t even make up your mind about who you are.

Comments are closed.