Connect with us

Sports

These 5 out gay guys will make history on Super Bowl Sunday

Historic moment in sports and for the LGBTQ community

Published

on

Courtesy of the National Football League/The Los Angeles Rams

INGLEWOOD, Ca – While Cincinnati’s got the “Ben Gals,” a traditional all-female cheerleading squad, the hometown L.A. Rams will be cheered on this Super Bowl Sunday by five energetic, out and proud gay men, accompanied by the team’s own scantilly-clad squad of 23 women

“It’s like a dream,” co-captain Napoleon told the Los Angeles Blade in a media availability on Friday. “I feel like we’re bringing this army of out gay, proud men with us.” 

With the big game just hours away now, he described the feeling as being caught in “a whirlwind.”

“First, having it be at home in L.A., it feels amazing, seeing all the banners everywhere,” said Napoleon. The Super Bowl LVI logo adorning all those banners and everything else related to the big game is actually the work of a transgender woman. More about her story later on.

Inglewood, CA: September 12, 2021: Los Angeles Rams host the Chicago Bears at Sofi Stadium. The Rams beat the Bears 34-14(Carrie Giordano/Los Angeles Rams)

Read more at Los Angeles Blade by clicking here

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Sports

Brittney Griner to tell all to Robin Roberts and ESPN

WNBA star released from Russian gulag last December

Published

on

(Bigstock photo)

Pro basketball player Brittney Griner announced she’s cut a deal with Disney ABC, the owner of ESPN, to at long last tell her story. One year after her release from a Russian gulag, Griner says she’s decided to share her experiences with Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America, herself a former basketball player and, like Griner, a married lesbian woman.

“The last two years have been the most harrowing, transformative and illuminating period of my life, and I am grateful to be in a place now to share my story with the world,” said Griner in a press release, announcing multiple projects. “I’m proud to partner with ESPN and Disney to share this very personal story because of its incredible potential to inspire hope around the world and their proven ability to do just that.”

Except for news conferences, this will be the first time the world will hear Griner speak at length about her arrest, trial and imprisonment in Russia, her release and return to the hardwood.

Griner and her wife Cherelle announced the projects just days after posting a holiday message on their Instagram to mark the first anniversary of the WNBA player’s release from that Russian penal colony, as the Washington Blade reported.

“One year ago today, because of President Biden, his team and the support of many of you, our family was one of the 58 families made whole by this administration,” the Griners wrote in the message, which was posted to Instagram.

In addition to her first sit-down interview with Roberts, the Phoenix Mercury star will also appear in an ESPN documentary.

Griner’s wife will serve as an executive producer on the projects, Cherelle Griner said in a statement. 

“Throughout BG’s detainment and in the time since, ESPN, ABC and Disney were supportive and caring in regards to the human side of this saga,” she said. “Love and family were at the center of the fight to get BG home, and with that in mind, there is no better, more trusted partner to tell that story with us.”

According to the Griners, the documentary will feature exclusive footage and rare archival material that will shed new light on their story, including the circumstances that led to the Mercury center playing overseas in her off-season, what she experienced during her long detainment and her separation from her wife, as well as the fight to gain her freedom and her advocacy for the release of other wrongfully-held detainees.

Brittney Griner’s life story will also be developed for a limited series from ABC Signature, again with her wife at the helm.

No air date was given for these projects.

Continue Reading

Sports

Gay Games 11 begin in Hong Kong and Mexico

Registrations are reportedly far below expectations

Published

on

(Photo courtesy of Gay Games 11 Hong Kong organizing committee.)

Organizers call it the world’s largest inclusive sports, arts and culture event: The 11th Gay Games, delayed by a year and cohosted by the cities of Hong Kong and Guadalajara, Mexico. They got underway Friday, and for the first time in the 40-year history of the games, they are being held in a city in Latin America and another city in Asia. 

More than 2,300 athletes from 45 countries, including the U.S, Britain, South Korea and China are expected to take part in the Hong Kong games, according to organizers. Soccer is the main event this weekend. 

Dodgeball, soccer, swimming, powerlifting and track-and-field are among the events this weekend in Guadalajara, according to that event’s website.

But according to reports, the number of athletes and spectators at both venues is far below the standards set in previous Gay Games.  

These games were originally planned for just one city, Hong Kong, this time last year. The intent was for Gay Games 11 to serve as what organizers called “a beacon of hope” for the LGBTQ community in a Chinese-ruled region that challenges restrictions on gay rights. 

While it is legal to be gay in China and many of its major cities have thriving LGBTQ social scenes, same-sex marriage and adoption by gay people are illegal and there are no legal protections against LGBTQ discrimination.

To many Chinese government officials, being gay is “a malign foreign influence that is stopping youth from getting married and having children,” Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, recently told NBC News

That and the summer shutdown of the Beijing LGBT center by the government in May, affirmed the decision to divide Gay Games 11 across two continents, which was at first driven by Hong Kong’s strict COVID-19 protocols, as Reuters reported. Organizers postponed the games for 12 months due to the city’s strict COVID-19 protocols, and it was decided to divide the competitions with runner-up bidder Guadalajara in western Mexico.

Despite the locales being more than eight thousand miles apart, organizers have coordinated a series of sporting events under the slogan, “unity in diversity.” 

“Everyone aged 18/+ is welcome to participate,” according to the Hong Kong venue’s website, “regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity or even training level.” 

Inclusion isn’t as much of a problem at this Gay Games as is the lack of participants and spectators.

Original estimates for the 2022 event in Hong Kong was for 12,000 participants, 75,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers from 100 countries. The 36 events were to include Dragon Boat Racing, Dodgeball and eSports.

But for 2023, Reuters reports registrations fell far below expectations, due in part to ongoing worries about COVID-19 and LGBTQ rights in China and concerns over safety in Guadalajara, where crime and kidnappings are common. 

One week ago, organizers in Guadalajara had registered only 2,458 participants, and Hong Kong had under 2,400, for a combined 4,839 athletes. It’s unheard of for a Gay Games to have fewer than 8,000 participants.

The games were first held in San Francisco in 1982. Organizers boast this is “one of the largest global events of their kind,” according to the Gay Games 11 website, bringing people together” to experience unforgettable moments of joy through a unique combination of sport, community and culture.” 

But according to Reuters, what is bringing people together in Guadalajara are the criminals who prey upon visitors. The city is located in the state of Jalisco, where drug cartels operate freely. 

Wayne Morgan, a senior Australian athlete who has competed in six prior Gay Games, told Reuters he was drugged and robbed last year when he visited Guadalajara for a planning conference related to this year’s games. He said he made his way to the police station and found himself in a long queue of other crime victims, where he was told: “This happens a lot.” 

A spokesperson for the Federation of Gay Games told Reuters the decision to split the event had a “significant impact on registration numbers” but added that the organizers believed the choice of two locations “allows even more people from around the world to celebrate LGBTQ+ sports with us.”

But to Morgan, splitting the host cities was “a mistake” and that low numbers could deter corporate sponsorship in the future.

“In my heart of hearts, I wish the whole thing was canceled and we could skip to Valencia in 2026,” he said. The next games are planned for Valencia, Spain.

Taiwan’s competitors withdrew their registration from the Hong Kong event in August, citing fears their participants could be arrested if they display the island’s flag or use its name. Human rights activists called for the games in Hong Kong to be canceled, accusing organizers of aligning themselves with “pro-authoritarian figures responsible for widespread persecution against the people of Hong Kong.”

In response to the low registration numbers, Hong Kong organizers canceled several events, including field hockey and Rugby 7s as well as some in the category of track-and-field. 

Gay Games 11 runs through Nov. 11.

Continue Reading

Sports

Republican governors demand ‘guaranteed’ fairness on trans athletes

Kristi Noem’s joint letter filled with lies, inaccuracies and transphobic claims

Published

on

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, anti-trans pundit Riley Gaines and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem meet at the 2023 Republican Governors Association gathering in Aspen, Colo.. (Photo courtesy of Republican Governors Association's Facebook page)

Nine Republican governors, several of whom have signed laws banning transgender student-athletes from competing as their authentic selves, sent a joint letter Monday to the National Collegiate Athletics Association and its Board of Governors about its transgender student-athlete policy.

The first signatory is Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. She and her fellow GOP governors make it clear they are telling the NCAA to abandon its current policy, which changed in 2022 from allowing trans competitors to compete, to putting the onus on individual sports organizations to decide participation rules. 

Not good enough, say the governors. 

“The NCAA has the chance to guarantee an environment where female college athletes can thrive without the concern of inequities,” the wrote. “We trust that you also want to guarantee just such an environment. But this policy allows the NCAA to avoid responsibility for ensuring the fairness of collegiate sports — therefore it must be changed.”

In addition to Noem, the letter was signed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Gov. Mike Parson of Missouri, Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana, Gov. Joe Lomardo of Nevada, Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming. 

Among the many bogus claims and transphobic statements, including labeling out trans NCAA All-American Lia Thomas a “biological male,” the letter misrepresents what happened after Thomas tied with a cisgender competitor, Riley Gaines, at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta. In March 2022. The two women tied for fifth place in the 200 freestyle. But the governors’ letter claims Gaines was denied posing with “the first-place trophy that she rightfully earned.” 

Unlike the governors, the Los Angeles Blade was at that event and witnessed the heat, as well as the podium ceremony that followed. Not expecting a tie finish for fifth place, officials handed Gaines a trophy for another event for the photo op following their contest, and chose to give Thomas the fifth place trophy. The NCAA mailed Gaines her trophy at a later date. Gaines never finished first at that event, and has turned her alleged slight at the championships into a national anti-trans media campaign.

The letter goes on to repeat false misogynist claims about Allyson Felix being unable to compete against high school boys, accusations that trans athletes are “average male athletes stealing” the honors due women athletes and falsely claims that the issue of fairness has been determined by science. 

The letter was condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming in a statement Tuesday. 

“Whatever Gov. Gordon and this letter’s cosigners might say, this isn’t about leveling the playing field for student athletes or protecting fairness in women’s sports. If it were, these governors would be tackling the actual threats to women’s sports, such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest that women and girls are weak, and pay equity for coaches and players,” said Libby Skarin, deputy executive director for the ACLU of Wyoming, in a press release.

“This letter to the NCAA is just another attempt to erase transgender people from society while stirring up support from their base of anti-trans activists with fear-mongering tactics and discriminatory rhetoric that harm some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” Skarin said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular