Archive for the ‘sports’ tag
At age 37, Jared Max came out on his New York sports radio show yesterday. He came out to his mother 16 years ago, and has been out with close friends and family, but not professionally.
You can listen here. It’s 7 and a half minutes worth listening to as he talks about recent sports figures who’ve come out and given him the courage to do so too.
Are we ready to have our sports information delivered by someone who is gay? Well we are gonna find out. Because for the last 16 years, I’ve been living a free life among my close friends and family, and I’ve hidden behind what is a gargantuan sized secret here in the sports world. I am gay. Yeah. Jared Max. The sports guy who is one of the most familiar faces in New York sports isn’t quite like the majority. And while you already knew I was a little different, this might help make sense of it. But more so, I’m taking this courageous jump into the unknown having no idea how I will be perceived…
transcript via Towleroad
Mr Davies described how he faced the team for the first time after the coach told them he was gay. He said that each man shook his hand and told him he had done the right thing.
But he said that the strain of hiding his sexuality had been hard.
“If I am brutally honest, I never enjoyed touring because of my secret and having to conceal my sexuality,” he says.
“My friendships with the guys would reach a certain level, then I’d have to take a step back.”
Our first coming out story in a while comes from Irish political organiser and activist, Neil Ward.
Coming Out, as most people who have done so will attest, is a process rather than a moment. Every month of my life I have to come out to more people, and I have to continue examining how my sexuality has influenced my life, my values, my politics and my behaviour. Which makes any Coming Out a difficult story to tell.
To combat this, I don’t intend to try telling the story of my Coming Out, but rather the story of one night in that process – the first night that I consciously realised the meaning of the confusion which had occupied me for so long.
In early 2000, I was coming towards the end of my 9-month stint as an Arts student in UCD. While my academic performance was less than exceptional (to say the least) during that nine months, I had discovered that I wasn’t terrible at basketball. I had quick hands, and my height was naturally advantageous. And I fucking loved it – I’d practice, play and exercise for hours at a time – often getting to the UCD gym before noon, and leaving at closing time. Memories of that time still fill me with joy – I’m not much of a sporty person nowadays, but I still think back fondly to those carefree days.
The other enjoyable aspect of playing basketball for UCD, was the extraordinary boozing we’d do – a group of 10-20 teenagers and young men on the absolute lash. Our nights out usually ended messily (giving away my shoes at the Portobello bridge being the highlight of one particular evening), but they started so much more innocently. We could smile together, and that was what really bound us. We’d tease and torment, leer and laugh, chatter and chastise – all in the best spirit imaginable.
The combination of a bastketball match followed by one of those nights on the beer in March 2000, led to me walking fown the road in Stillorgan with one of the other lads, in whose house I was staying. As usual, we were setting the world to right – chatting about music and basketball, analysing the result of the evening (which I can’t for the life of me remember at this point), and talking about the big issues of our worlds.
Suddenly, with no apparent lead-up or prompting, I stopped dead in the street – sober as a judge. “Fuck me” were the only words out of my mouth for a while – I retreated into myself processing the most unimaginable thought I had ever encountered. To say this practically-catatonic version of me alarmed my companion is probably an understatement in hindsight, but he was either too wasted or too gentle to try and intrude too much on me.
What felt like hours later (and in fact was at least 30 minutes), I lifted my head and resumed walking, picking up the conversation where we had trailed off. In the most stunning revelation my life has ever experienced, I had realised that my fondness for men was partly sexual. And my life immediately made sense.
Nearly a quarter of all people playing, coaching or refereeing professional football personally know a gay player, according to new research into attitudes towards homosexuality in the game.
It also finds that almost eight out of 10 fans thought openly gay players would have the same positive effect on football as black players did in the 1980s and 90s when racism in the sport was tackled.
The findings are likely to raise expectations that football will soon follow other professional sports and see a top player come out. In recent years, rugby union, hurling and tennis have seen star players reveal that they are gay while at the height of their careers. But the survey, conducted by the University of Staffordshire, suggested such a move for a professional footballer would not be without risks.
Of the professional players, coaches, managers and referees who know gay footballers currently playing the game, a third believe they would face abuse from other players if they came out. Almost four out of five think they would face hostility from fans.
Things are moving on a bit! I mean, soccer really couldn’t be much gayer, but the only reason that’s ok is because the fans think they know the players are very very straight. Of course, not all of them are. They couldn’t be.
We’ve read the Gay Footballer Blog
I love playing football and I don’t mind being gay but sadly those two things don’t mix very well. It’s ridiculous that people form an opinion about you based on your sexuality but in the world of football and sports in general that is still the case especially at the lower levels. If I ever make it to the premier league I promise I will be openly gay…
via One In Eleven
(By the way, you have to read his “Coming Out Letter to My Religious Parents“… it’s perfect and hilarious.)
We’ve also read the story of John Fashanu — the footballer who came out publicly only to be disowned by his brother and then kill himself after being accused of sexual assault in America.
Still, I don’t think it’ll be long before someone with something to lose decides to come out. While there is likely to be some abuse from the stands — and I don’t want to belittle the effects of that (just ask Gareth Thomas) — I think society in general is very ready to be supportive and even to celebrate the footballer who decides to test the waters for everyone else.
We’ve heard a lot of sports coming out stories. Very few of these have been from people who are still active in their sports. Others have waited until retirement to get things off their chest.
Eighteen years ago, professional footballer, Justin Fashanu, came out in an interview with The Sun. His career and personal life suffered after the revelation. In 1998 he took his own life following an accusation of sexual assault.
Pink News has a feature on homophobia in football including Justin Fashanu’s story.
Disowned by his brother and England player John, increasingly alienated from football and embroiled in a sex-assault scandal in America, Justin hung himself in 1998. “I do not want to give any more embarrassment to my friends and family,” the suicide note read. Not a single British professional footballer has publicly come out since.
Read the rest at Pink News.
When he came out in 2006, he spoke to OutSports about growing up gay and feeling isolated.
He says later in the interview that he wanted to come out to be an example for kids who — like him — feel isolated and different. While many people (including whoever wrote his Wikipedia entry) chalked his coming out up to a gimmick and publicity stunt, it took a lot of courage. You can’t negate that he was the very first pro wrestler to be openly gay. Being the first anything is daunting enough — but being the first openly gay pro wrestler? I can’t even begin to imagine how scary that must have been.
Chris Klucsarits didn’t know how people became straight, or if there was such a process. He just knew that, at age 5, he was obsessed with a male friend of the family. The boy was good-looking, athletic, and a little older than him, Klucsarits recalls of his earliest same-sex interest.
“I don’t know why I thought this, but, I thought that once you kissed your first girl, it’d be like a light-switch and you’d turn straight,” he said.
So Klucsarits went for that first kiss at about age 11 while living in Queens, N.Y. He went roller-skating with his buddies, like normal, and found the girl who was going to be the one. He eventually skated her home and then, ironically, standing in the gutter while she was on the curb so as to not tower over her, they kissed.
“But there were no fireworks,” Klucsarits said.
They parted ways minutes later and, about a block away, Klucsarits realized, “I was gay, that I would be gay for the rest of my life and that my life would not be easy.”
He cried on the way home. He even had to stop to re-gain his composure before returning home.
“The next three or four months were brutal; they were really hard because I knew I was not like everyone else,” he said.
Gays are too often given a stereotype. Back when I was 18, and becoming serious about my sport and my Olympic goals, if I could have seen an athlete like myself out there – with whom I could relate to – my journey would have been a lot easier.
“[American figure skater] Johnny Weir meets a specific stereotype, I meet a specific stereotype and [Welsh rugby player] Gareth Thomas meets another. Being gay is just like any other personality trait: it’s multifaceted. I can’t personally relate to Weir or Thomas, and nor will many other young gay athletes out there. But maybe some of them will see something in me to relate to. The more types we provide, the more we’ll appeal to people [who are struggling with their sexuality].
This is really another one of those not really coming out stories. Blake Skjellerup is out. He said that if any interviewer would have asked him, he would have replied honestly. He also tweets YouTube videos about turning Zac Efron gay.
Speaking of tweeting, this Kiwi Olympian has a sense of humour too.
His coming out interview is featured in Australia’s DNA magazine Sports special edition, available now.
“Tell me now.”
At last, for the first time, he said, “I’m …” and then choked out the word that had repulsed him all his life.
He came home, and they both wept and walked around in a daze, trying to comprehend what the sledgehammer blow meant. She accompanied him to Toulouse when he returned to play a few weeks later. The marriage was hopeless, they knew, but the moment they ended a relationship that seemed so harmonious, they’d have to explain. “Tell them I cheated on you,” Alf pleaded.
Incredibly well written piece in Sports Illustrated.
“This wasn’t a big deal for me. This was something I accepted early,” he said. “There were some things in life that were more important.”
“Some things” basically meant hurling, sometimes called the world’s fastest field game. (Can’t picture it? Try YouTube.) Promoted by the Gaelic Athletic Assn., a cultural institution almost as omnipresent as the church, hurling inspires fanatical devotion in many parts of Ireland, including Cloyne, the village where Cusack grew up.
I’ve written before about why gay actors may think twice before coming out, but out gay sportsmen are still very rare indeed. This is no less true in Ireland — the country, that in 1993, became the last country in Western Europe to decriminalise homosexuality (and did so kicking and screaming).
Donal Óg Cusak is a popular hurler who says he was never really entirely closeted, that, “those who needed to know… knew.” However the time came when a newspaper decided it was worth reporting and his family found out. He confirmed the rumours to them and the newspaper ditched the story thanks to some pressure from an athletics association.
In his memoir, “Come What May”, published in October 2009, Donal Óg came out publicly.
He says he still gets homophobic slurs yelled at him from the stands, and that his father, while not happy about his son’s revelation, still watches him play.