FanDuel - WFBC

November 29, 2011

Gay World Series Settles with Banned Bisexuals: A gay softball organization has agreed to pay three players who were disqualified from its 2008 Gay Softball World Series because of their perceived heterosexuality. Stephen Apilado, Laron Charles and John Russ filed the federal lawsuit against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance last year, claiming they had been discriminated against because they were bisexual. The men were questioned by a committee and judged to be insufficiently gay.

posted by rcade to baseball at 03:34 PM - 21 comments

Human behavior is bizarre. It's like there is a constant quest to find a way to exclude the other, even among people who are generally considered the other.

posted by bperk at 03:42 PM on November 29

Now that Chaz Bono is engaged I wonder which roster spot he would be eligable for?

posted by NEPABob at 10:23 PM on November 29

Human behavior is bizarre. It's like there is a constant quest to find a way to exclude the other, even among people who are generally considered the other.

Are you a member of a minority community, bperk? I think it's not quite as simple as you portray it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:54 AM on November 30

Why not? I think bperk's statement is pretty much consistent with human history, that every oppressed group looks for someone below them to shit on.

posted by yerfatma at 11:44 AM on November 30

Except erotic furries.

posted by rcade at 12:08 PM on November 30

I guess no one will be banned for a butt slap after a good play

posted by Debo270 at 12:21 PM on November 30

every oppressed group looks for someone below them to shit on.

I think that in this case, it's less "They're worse than us" than "This is our club, and we feel better choosing our own membership." Women's leagues aren't shitting on men, they just want to play on their own terms.

posted by Etrigan at 12:31 PM on November 30

What Etrigan said. bperk's comment was about exclusion; my response to that was and is, "exclusion" by minorities living in a majority culture is not a simple matter. More to the point, you don't get parallel situations simply by reversing the players (a majority group excluding a minority, a minority group "excluding" the majority).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:56 PM on November 30

Are you a member of a minority community, bperk? I think it's not quite as simple as you portray it.

I am, but I don't think I need credentials to talk about human behavior. And, I didn't say it was simple.

"This is our club, and we feel better choosing our own membership."

Just like an all-white country club. For a group that understands the realities of discrimination to join in it for something like a softball game is disturbing, no?

posted by bperk at 01:05 PM on November 30

Just like an all-white country club.

No, not just like. But if you don't see the difference, there's no way I'll be able to explain it to you. However, you might want to read this.

"I mean, everyone experiences racism, right? Like, when you're at a job interview, the guy doing the hiring is going to stereotype everyone. He thinks the black guy's a criminal, he thinks the Arab guy's a terrorist, he thinks the Mexican guy is an illegal immigrant, and he thinks the white guy likes football. Everyone is stereotyped, so we're all equal! LET IT GO!"

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:31 PM on November 30

I did not say all discrimination was equal, but the exclusionary attitude is the same. You are right that I fail to see how "this is our club, and we feel better choosing our own membership" based on sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. is defensible. The worst part of the whole thing is the complete arrogance of the protest committee to sit in judgment on another person's sexuality. I assume the race equivalent would be a person that self-identifies as black or mixed race being deemed too light to play in a black softball league. Then, perhaps that person could be subjected to questions to prove his/her blackness.

posted by bperk at 06:15 AM on December 01

I did not say all discrimination was equal, but the exclusionary attitude is the same.

It is in your view. I disagree that it is as a matter of hard objective fact, and I think I can give you plenty of examples of how it's different in different cases.

You are right that I fail to see how "this is our club, and we feel better choosing our own membership" based on sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. is defensible.

The most succinct explanation I can give is the "drop of ink in a gallon of milk" analogy: dump a gallon of milk on top of a drop of ink, and there's nothing left that can be identified as ink. Drop a drop of ink into a gallon of milk, and gosh, you've still got milk. The two situations are not the same.

The worst part of the whole thing is the complete arrogance of the protest committee to sit in judgment on another person's sexuality.

No argument that a committee shouldn't be telling you what your sexuality is, but in this case, the players self-identified as bisexual -- so is this a relevant argument here?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:45 PM on December 01

The players self-identified as bisexual, which the organization was supposed to treat the same as gay, except they didn't.

And, I just flat-out don't buy the idea that an organization has to have exclusionary practices to avoid losing its niche or whatever. Are there really such a great number of straight people that want to play in a gay softball league such that they would ruin the league? It sounds like they were trying to solve a problem that didn't really exist. The universities I have attended prohibited exclusionary practices for clubs, yet the campus BiLAGA and the Black Student Unions weren't being taken over by straights and whites.

posted by bperk at 10:44 PM on December 01

And, I just flat-out don't buy the idea that an organization has to have exclusionary practices to avoid losing its niche or whatever.

It might not in this case, but you seem to be completely against the idea in any case, based on the broad generalizations that you've stated repeatedly in this thread. That doesn't make sense to me.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:37 PM on December 02

Are there really such a great number of straight people that want to play in a gay softball league such that they would ruin the league? It sounds like they were trying to solve a problem that didn't really exist.

The fact that you cannot imagine a problem existing does not mean that it never does.

posted by Etrigan at 10:03 AM on December 03

The fact that the league instituted a discriminatory policy doesn't mean there was a problem. The onus should be on the people instituting the discriminatory policy to prove that it is necessary.

posted by bperk at 10:36 AM on December 03

And, I just flat-out don't buy the idea that an organization has to have exclusionary practices to avoid losing its niche or whatever.

You're flat-out wrong. Exclusionary leagues frequently find themselves in conflicts over outsiders trying to compete. Maintaining the identity of the group requires rules for who can participate.

As the judge stated in a ruling in this case, "It would be difficult for NAGAAA to effectively emphasize a vision of the gay lifestyle rooted in athleticism, competition and sportsmanship if it were prohibited from maintaining a gay identity."

How can it not be necessary to have rules to limit a gay World Series to gay players, a senior golf tour to players above a certain age, or women's boxing to females? The reason exclusionary leagues exclude is because people of a certain group want to compete against each other. The Special Olympics would be less special if they let me enter the 100-yard dash and leave those kids in the dust.

posted by rcade at 11:20 AM on December 03

The Special Olympics would be less special if they let me enter the 100-yard dash and leave those kids in the dust.

Just try it Cartman.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:11 PM on December 03

There are very good reasons why there are Special Olympics and women's league, and it isn't about being discriminatory. It is about the level of competition. It isn't about maintaining a certain culture. In this case, first, there is no evidence that the NAGAA's identity was in peril. Second, what evidence is there that discrimination is the only way to go about maintaining a gay identity?

posted by bperk at 01:18 PM on December 03

I think that is a good point. The reason there are women's leagues, a senior tour, and even weight classes in combat sports is to keep the playing field level. I think you'd be hard-pressed to show that bisexual or straight men or are somehow advantaged over gay men at playing softball. But really, my only problem is with the analogy.

I still have no objection to a private organization being exclusionary. If they want the league to be gay men only, then so be it.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:35 PM on December 03

... there is no evidence that the NAGAA's identity was in peril.

Wrong:

Geoff da Silva, the Treasurer of NAGAAA in 2008 and the former commissioner of the NAGAAA member league for Toronto, testified that Rule 7.05 was implemented in response to problems that NAGAAA had in its formative years. At that time, participation was open to all and predominately straight teams were playing in and winning the GSWS. Da Silva testified that "this was because some local bars at the time were building teams purely to win, for self-promotion, and they did not care about the spirit of NAGAAA or the Gay Softball World Series."

posted by rcade at 02:04 PM on December 03

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