How many gays and lesbians do you know play sports? How many GLBTQ people watch professional baseball, football, basketball, tennis, the Olympics?
On Saturday afternoon, the Washington, DC Reel Affirmations Festival played a documentary entitled, Brighton Bandits that features gays involved in sports. The marketing promotion for the film described it as aiming to ""debunk the popular myth that gay men don't play sports."
Has the community not buried that myth long ago?
There are so many interested GLBTQs involved and interested in sports that there are two current international grand sporting events serving the communities, Gay Games and the Out Games. Organizers described the recently completed Out gAmes 2009 as "Copenhagen World Outgames 2009 a successful tribute to the global LGBT community and a fantastic celebration of diversity and love." Obviously, home country Denmark led in participants with nearly 1000. But both Germany and the United States sent over 630 participants each. In total nearly 5000 sportspeople came from the top 25 countries.
The Gay Games anticipate even more success for 2010. Held in Cologne, registrants currently account for 32 countries and number over 1700.
Nearly every US city has gay and lesbian leagues in softball, flag football, soccer, and tennis among many others. Cleveland's was active enough to beat out Washington, DC and Boston to win the Gay Games in 2014. These local leagues, such as the Capital Tennis Association in Washington, DC, include hundreds of participants and illuminate the falseness of the belief in gays disinterest in playing sports.
Gay males are active watchers of sports. Yes, for more than the beautiful bodies too! DC has a gay sports bar called Nellies. Look at the link and see the list of all the sports groups in this one city. There is also a yahoo based gay sportsfan club (email@example.com). Then, there's the biggest gay sports fan group (www.outsports.com).
While Brighton Bandits was intriguing on its own merits, the idea of breaking a myth has long past. Paired with another documentary Butch Factor, which comments on the intertwined nature of masculinity and homosexuality, these movies raise important issues about the limiting perspective of associating success in sports with supposed masculine behavior.