Jake Weinraub

Softball Players Not Gay Enough?

Filed By Jake Weinraub | June 02, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay world series, NCLR, north american gay amateur athletic association, seattle, softball

Peanuts, cracker jacks, racism, and biphobia? The story continues of three bisexual-identified African American members of a gay softball teamimage6418712g.jpg who claim they were cut from the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle for "not being gay enough."

The men, members of a San Francisco softball team, say they were questioned in front of a room full of strangers about their sexual preferences after a protest was lodged alleging their team had violated a rule that limited to two the number of heterosexuals on any team.

The men, backed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, are suing based on charges of bisexual discrimination. U.S. District Judge John Coughenour's agreed that the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association operates as "a 'public accommodation' by inviting public attendance, charging a fee and providing a service, and therefore must comply with the state's anti-discrimination laws."

Coughenour has refused to dismiss the case - involved parties are anticipating a trial on August 1.

I understand the need to create intentional queer space and police it to some extent, but NAGAAA keep yourselves in check!

img src cbsnews

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The issue and evidence hasn't been processed in court, and already you're assuming them guilty?

"Guilty" in this instance means something kind of unique. They've already admitted to cutting the players for being sexually involved with women. The court case is not about whether or not that happened, it's on the record, but instead it seems to be about whether or not the organization has the right to engage in that kind of discrimination.

But regardless of what the law determines in this case, as community members and activists we can certainly suggest to them that the practice as it currently stands of interrogating bisexuals about their sexual practices and histories to root out those who fail an unspecified criteria (gender ratio of sexual partners?) for when they are not gay enough. It's invasive, it's biphobic, and it doesn't seem like an effective way of dealing with ringers.

Whether their policy is morally right or not, wasn't this covered in BSA vs. Dale? After all, if you can cut whole groups of people from being members for just self-identifying as gay (let alone having gay sex) I can see how the courts would uphold the right of private organizations who choose to limit the number of members who engage in heterosexual sex.

Paige Listerud | June 4, 2011 2:39 PM

I've pointed this out in plenty of blogs covering this story but it must be brought up here--NAGAAA is in violation of its own mission statement.

Their mission statement declares that they are an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes. The San Francisco team that included the bisexual-identified members were acting in the spirit of the organization's declared intention. You can't say a certain sub-group is included and then yank them out of the club because their sexual activity doesn't meet some ill-defined "gay" standard. On top of which, the public interrogation of these men was just dehumanizing.

How anyone could uphold the actions and decision of the NAGAAA officials is beyond me.

Paige, as is so often the case, you said it better than I could, and I agree with you completely.