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.