You Throw Like A Boy

Some bizarre backroom dealings at the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance’s Gay World Series. The softball league has strict rules that only allow two straight men on each club. The D2 team out of San Francisco were disqualified after being challenged for having too many straight men on the team. After a game, 6 players were taken to a meeting with officials and asked what sex they were they were “predominantly” attracted too. I guess it’s only fair since it’s a gay league, but it does seem amazingly silly that we refuse to allow straight people to play with us. You would think it would be seen as an advance that so many straight guys enjoy playing ball with gay guys. I agree with one of the players, “The rule made sense back in 1977. But it’s the 21st century now. What kind of message are you sending?”

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  • Ethan

    Then what would be the point of having a gay team…?? Just disband the whole league accordingly…right.

  • DairyQueen

    What I am baffled by is how come they couldn’t find enough gay guys from SF? WTF?

  • ChicagoJimmy

    Isn’t the point more about being out and proud than checking out who’s sleeping with who? I was in a Gay Men’s Chorus and we had a straight girl singing with us! Who cares? If these straight guys want to stand together with the gays and are proud to play on a gay team in a gay league, then let them.

  • Vito in PSP

    This article makes me think of pro baseball. Prior to the color barrier being broken, you had the MLB and the Negro Leagues; after you had integrated teams but you had the demise of the Negro League. One would conclude, as No.1 says, why have gay teams or a gay league? Unfortunately, pro and semi-pro sport leagues are often openly or covertly homophobic (Remember PE class?); until that issue is resolved, gay sport teams and leagues remain valid and NAGAAA’s rulings make sense. Personal experience with this is the leading reason why my partner and I founded a GLBT sport group and have competed in local and international GLBT competitive tournaments. While I too think that the GLBT community is more inclusive, e.g. No.3’s example above, a GLBT team/group without a majority of GLBT members risks losing its purpose. I’ll get off the soapbox now, thanks.

  • Renegades in DC

    Our “gay” rugby team is about 50% straight.

  • Distingué Traces

    This is particularly weird in that the format of the question seems designed to exclude not just straight men, but bisexual men whose Kinsey number is below a certain cutoff.

  • Jaroslaw

    Boy this is a tough one for me. I understand being inclusive but I also agree with Ethan – what is the point of having a Gay team? I wouldn’t want the flavor to change because straight guys took over but then maybe it wouldn’t. They joined willingly. I’m kind of on the fence on this one.

  • KP

    One of the primary purposes of NAGAAA leagues has always been to provide a place for LGBT players to play softball and to feel safe and secure doing so. Games have also provided an additional important social outlet. In more progressive cities being LGBT has become less of an issue and but certainly in many places it is still very difficult to be out. Player after player have attested as to how NAGAAA provided them a safe haven when they felt they had none.

    The reasons for limiting NAGAAA leagues to two straight playes are varied. One is to continue to facilitate the growth of NAGAAA nationwide, to provide a safe environment, to promote socialization, etc. The rules are universal to all NAGAAA cities so as to provide a level and consistent playing field to teams that travel to various tournaments around the U.S. and Canada. One big reason for the two man rule was because some teams cheat. In the past (and evidently in the present), teams would load up their team with ringers (players of a greater skill level; and often straight) at tournaments because teams wanted to win the tournament or a trophy. Clearly this is what the SF team did — their desire to win was greater that following the spirit of being a NAGAAA team. This question has been often approached by NAGAAA and frankly is a very difficult one. While wanting to integrate any player who is supportive of other LGBT players on one hand, the repeated loading of teams with straight players in the past has led to those “straighter” teams winning all the games and qualifying to go to tournaments with the result that LGBT players would lose interest and not return to play again. Ideally, there would be enough LGBT players to make this a non-issue. The reality is that many leagues struggle to find enough competitive players at all skill levels (NAGAAA men leagues have four skill levels, with A being the highest, down to D level). At levels C and D the softball teams are very competitive, but the skill levels are such that teams loading up with three or four really good straight players can make a real difference and allow a team to win tournaments and trophys. This also means those teams play more games at tournaments (not being eliminated early on) and teams that are eliminated early who follow the rules play fewer games and this can make the considerable expense of traveling to tournaments a bitter pill to swallow. One way some teams resolve the issue of straight players who want to play with a “gay” team is to also play in “straight” leagues and to play NAGAAA league games with the two man limit, often rotating straight players so as to comply with the rules. There is no perfect solution to this issue and resolution will continue to evolve as member leagues and society evolves.

  • Tomcat

    Why is it that straight society’s never ending quest for gentrification and social hemogeny is just considered to be ‘the way it is’ but when the gay community does something to state “we aren’t the ones who are going to change or hide, it’s you (straight society) that needs to compromise this time” it’s a major act proving that we choose to be isolated.

    We didn’t create the social dicotomization or segregation that we have to deal with, so why should we be the ones to have to compromise in order to lower it? when the major leagues stop creating such a hateful environment that pushes guys to stay closeted (or the USA bullshit of don’t ask don’t tell, which come on, is a.k.a. act straight) then leagues like this can be more allowing. No one shows us more than an ounce of social liberty, and haven’t for centuries now (homophobia isn’t as old as most people think, socially) so why is it that once again we are the ones who have to start? we know it won’t be reciprocated anyway. may as well protect the few avenues we have to express ourselves, otherwise they will just be slowly destroyed by those with power.

    This over reaction comes from the backdrop of melbourne, Australia where it seems more and more, the few gay bars and clubs we have are slowly going from Gay-centric to ‘all accepting’ to ‘gay friendly’, which, come on, is really straight but saying that we won’t throw bottles at you if you enter. that is not equality, it’s subversive gentrification, we don’t see any straight venues becoming gay friendly or ‘all welcome’, so it’s really just doubling the str8 clubs and making us feel unwelcome (or force us to go to the tacky scene-queen venues).

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