Friday, April 23, 2010

Gay softball league sued for supposed rule about too many straights -- and enforcing it

Here is a case of reverse discrimination and strange political bunkmates: the National Center for Lesbian Rights is litigation against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, (link)  -- note the "AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR MEMBERS AND FRIENDS" on the home page) after the sexual orientation of members of a winning softball team was questioned in order to determine if it had “too many straights.” Imagine if something like that were to happen in Major League Baseball.

The story by Henry K. Lee appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 22, with link (“not gay enough – softball players sue”) here. The league even looked at the Facebook profile of one player to see that he was married to a female, an ironic twist given the Prop. 8 situation in California.

When I played on a softball league in Dallas in 1984 (mostly with teams representing bars like JR’s), there was a similar rule: a team could have only “two straights.”   Even then, the rule seemed to suggest and give in to  the societal stereotype that gay men are physically less competitive in sports. (After all, I had always been viewed as "not a regular guy.") On one team, there were two fraternal twin brothers, one of whom (also a tennis player) was gay. But the straight one always said “hairy chests are for sissies.”

Believe it or not, there was some quality pitching in the league. Pitchers (especially one from Houston) who could slow pitch with a very high arc and get the ball over were hard to hit, and shutouts actually happened.

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