Connect with us

Sports

On the ‘GO!’

LGBT sports group offers several resources

Published

on

Fallon Fox, MMA, GO! Athletes, gay news, Washington Blade
Fallon Fox, MMA, GO! Athletes, gay news, Washington Blade

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Fallon Fox. Combating the type of transphobic commentary she’s faced is part of the mission of GO! Athletes. (Photo by Rolando de la Fuente; courtesy CFA)

With the LGBT sports movement reaching new highs over the past three years, there has been some crossover in the advocacy groups in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish.

One of the many things discussed at the LGBT Sports Summit in Portland last June was the need for collaboration among the various groups and establishing niche targets for their advocacy.

One group that has found its niche is GO! (Generation Out) Athletes. The group was formed in 2008 by seven current and former LGBT athletes who came together to discuss the different issues and challenges that are common among LGBT athletes. The result has been to create a national network of current and former LGBT student-athletes and allies at the high school, collegiate and post-graduate levels that serves to educate and empower.

Their services include confidential peer support, consultation and workshops for coaches, staff and athletes, leadership meetings, providing education materials and speaking at school and community events.

They are currently in the midst of two international Twitter campaigns utilizing their LGBT sports network to respond to negative blog posts and commentary about two hot button topics — Fallon Fox and the Sochi Olympics. The underlying goals of the campaigns are to educate and raise awareness for specific events or causes.

The #fight4fallon campaign was launched to combat transphobic commentary and disrespectful treatment towards Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Fallon Fox. UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter Matt Mitrione, who was suspended and fined for his transphobic rant against Fox, recently made a public apology, due in part to the backlash from the GO! Athletes campaign.

“We had several people reach out from the MMA community,” says Anna Aagenes, executive director of GO! Athletes. “The #fight4fallon campaign has served to build unexpected connections.”

The second campaign, #out4olympics was launched to support the LGBT Olympic athletes who will soon be competing on the world stage despite the severe anti-LGBT laws currently in place in Russia. The campaign will be retooled in the coming months as the Sochi Games will begin onFeb. 7, 2014.

Once a month, GO! Athletes representatives hold conference/network calls with their national network of student-athletes. The calls, which sometimes include as many as 35 athletes, are a way for people to check in about their lives. The student-athletes can either speak or just listen.

“We have begun to reach out to K-12 student-athletes,” Aagenes says. “The network is comprised of closeted and out athletes and the conversations vary from empowerment to choosing an LGBT-friendly college.”

Based in Philadelphia, GO! Athletes have recently taken the steps to establish national chapters with Washington being the pilot city. The group is hoping to develop a mentorship program in D.C. aligning former athletes with current athletes to help them through the coming out process.

“We are lucky to have positive momentum with athletes and administrators,” says Brian Goldthorpe, a D.C. resident and director of communications. “We are looking to fill critical needs and delivering for folks at the highest level. In 2014, we will begin establishing connections with the LGBT sports teams of Washington D.C.”

Another facet of the GO! Athletes organization is their Collegiate Ambassadors, who serve the critical role of representing the voices of the LGBT student-athlete community and connecting universities with the national GO! network.

One of the athletes in D.C. is Craig Cassey, a Georgetown University student and former track athlete.

“One of my roles is to reach out to athletes and administrators on campus,” Cassey says.  “I help them to understand so they can make better decisions in the future. It has been inspirational for me to help shape our own culture.”

As the organization continues to grow, they will be trying to create sustainable national chapters and student groups in multiple cities across the United States.  More information on their outreach is available at goathletes.org.

Fallon Fox will fight in a Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) match on Oct. 12 in Coral Gables, Fla., against Ashlee Evans-Smith.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team

Published

on

Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

Continue Reading

Sports

New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics

Published

on

Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

Continue Reading

Sports

Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels

Published

on

Tom Daley (Photo by sportsphotographer.eu via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular