[Editor's Note: Angela Brightfeather has been a transgender activist for 42 years and is National vice president of the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA).]
I'm really not sure how to write this or how to raise the question diplomatically on a blog that politicizes things so thoroughly, but I have a question about professional golfing.
Why aren't there any gay male professional golfers in major tournaments like the U.S. Open and why is it that straight professional female golfers complain about all the lesbians in their tournaments?
What is it with gay golfers? Don't they exist, or is it just such a well kept secret that no one wants to talk about it? It's amazing to me that throughout the entire history of men's golfing, I have never heard anyone say, or even allude in the tabloids to any male, gay golfers in the national standings. One would think that names like Gene Sarazen or Gary Player might raise a question or two, but neither are even remotely gay.
It is even more puzzling since I know they exist. I have played golf with gay men who love the game and are very good at it. They have never commented about the fact that they are gay men chasing little white balls all over the course. They never seemed conscious of that little innuendo. I won't even comment on the clothes the hetero golfers wear, even though those shades and pastel colors permeate most courses and stand out like walking flowers on the greens. Excuse me, but anyone who has ever watched someone like Jesper Panavick play a round with his cap brim turned up and the phenomenal clothes that he wears, has really got to question if he is gay or not, until his beautiful, blonde wife shows up.
Men's golfing is portrayed in the media as a family thing, which may be contributing to the speculation that there may, out of over 850 world ranked professional players, be at least one or two gay men, but they had better not say anything about it. What is with only hetero men holding up that silver cup at the Opens and giving it a big sloppy kiss, like they have invented a new way of having sex with a silver lining?
The strangest thing about it to me is that there are so many gay-compatible things about golf that it seems impossible that gay men simply could not resist the sport.
It's competitive, but in such a nice and non confrontational way.
I know that playing with "clubs" and being in them is not the same thing, but to a gay man playing a sport, clubs being such an essential part of it, must at least seem a bit familiar.
The cute golf carts are so nice and so quiet, all you need is a little Enya playing while you are teeing off, to make it an uplifting experience.
The clothes I have already mentioned.
The golf bags, whether hanging from the back of a cart or being dragged across the course or even carried by the player are remarkably diverse and you can hang almost anything from them and they look spectacular, almost artistic.
Quite often, a round of golf could be considered a social outing for gay men, even more than just a game.
Golf tournaments could be such a great fundraiser, with a party after in the clubhouse.
All this going for it, but in the history of golf in America and even abroad, there has never been any mention or even a whisper of a gay man winning a golf tournament.
On the other hand . . . I was watching the Golf Channel a few months ago and the program 19th Hole, when they mentioned in the surliest of terms that a Transsexual woman had just won the Women's World Driving Championship this year. The venom was almost dripping from the mouth of the announcer who broadcast the news. His face turned red and this look of hate and disgust became imprinted on his face as he stated that there should be rules against such a thing and that "it" should have never qualified for that competition in the first place.
I jumped up and was so mad when I heard and saw this, that I got on my laptop and sent an email to the show asking them why they were so abusive. I never got an answer.
Is it that gay male golfers who might qualify for a U.S. Open are afraid that when they are going to tee off, they swing back and hear someone standing on the side say "fag" or "queer" and they slice their ball into the woods? Gee, I think the game would be a lot more entertaining if there were a few queens in the stands and when Tiger sank a 40 footer, they all stood up and shouted "you go girl."
So there are obviously some really big areas of discrimination in men's golfing that still need to be addressed. The big question is who is going to break these taboos and be the first openly out gay man in history to win a major tournament or even in the mix? Instead of kissing his wife on the 18 green, he grabs the cup and gives his legally married male spouse, dragging their two adopted children across the green to congratulate him with a big hug and kiss. Then they all walk of together to the scorers table to turn in his winning score card.