Categories
LGBTQ Sportsball

🏳️‍🌈 Straight-Up Whiffing

The Texas Rangers started using the tagline “Straight Up Texas” on June 1, the first day of Pride Month.

To quote the great Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Year after year, the Rangers refuse to acknowledge their LGBTQ fans. While every other team in Major League Baseball tells us baseball is for everyone — bring on the rainbow banners and Pride games — the Rangers have been content to sit on the bench and pretend gay people don’t exist.

Actually, this year, it’s worse than that. Instead of ignoring us, the Rangers straight-up insulted us. “Straight Up Texas” is the antithesis of saying baseball is for everyone.

Here’s the full story from Queerty: “Texas Rangers find themselves embroiled in another Pride Month controversy”

“Straight Up Texas” isn’t a new rallying cry. The Rangers have used it before. However, it’s hard to believe it’s a coincidence that they’re using this slogan during Pride Month.1

If this is the Rangers’ way of throwing shade at LGBTQ people, their pitching sucks. If you’re going to try to insult us, at least be clever about it. Apparently, they don’t teach camp at spring training camp.

The Rangers Are Batting .000

I’ve written before about the history of Pride games (cf. Take Me Out to the Ballgame) and what these events mean to people who aren’t part of the LGBTQ community (cf. Allies Go to Bat for Pride Games).2

Major League Baseball (the organization) and 29 teams tell us baseball is for everyone. But the Rangers aren’t getting the message.

To quote the great Yogi Berra, “They made too many wrong mistakes.”

Compare the stuck-in-the-mud Rangers with my beloved Tampa Bay Rays, a team that has been leading the way in embracing LGBTQ fans for more than a decade.

The Rays were among the first teams to record an It Gets Better video for the Trevor Project. In fact, I think they were the first team in all four of the major sports leagues (MLB, NHL, NBA, and NFL) to contribute to this critical and groundbreaking campaign.

The Rays’ first Pride event came days after the horrific Pulse massacre in Orlando. The team immediately realized they needed to do more than hand out rainbow flags. They removed the deck tarps, made every seat in the Trop available, and created an event where the entire community — not just LGBTQ people — could come together, grieve, show our resilience, and gain a sense of normalcy throughout nine innings.

Here are some Instagram posts from the Rays. Do yourself a favor and don’t wade into the comments section.

Inclusive Baseball Is a Home Run

The Rays, like everyone else but the Rangers in baseball, are moving forward. They’ve done so much, but there’s still more to accomplish.

To quote the great Yogi Berra, “It ain’t too far, but it ain’t close either.”

In contrast, the Rangers are headed in the wrong direction. That’s their prerogative.

To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, “If they don’t want out people to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”

Perhaps the solution is to send the Rangers down the minors. They keep striking out while everyone else is rounding the bases. They clearly have much to learn.

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1 A life lesson from Dave: Don’t give the benefit of the doubt to people or organizations that have already shown they don’t deserve it.

2 Fun fact: A gay player invited the high five!

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 Gaydar Detector

I’ve been asked if gaydar is a thing.

Yes, it is, but it’s limited.

That’s why I have Gaydar Pro, which unlocks full functionality and removes ads. It’s only $9.99 a month. Available on the App Store.

(Insert rimshot here.)

Gaydar is indeed a thing, but so is déjà vu, intuition, and the placebo effect. It exists but is hard to explain. That doesn’t stop people from trying to figure it out, though.

Psychologist Nicholas Rule at the University of Toronto, for example, has conducted many studies into perception and judgment. His research with gay men and lesbians shows:

  • Gay men can accurately identify another man’s sexual orientation just from a face photo.
  • Lesbians can do the same with a photo of a woman’s face.
  • It takes about 50 milliseconds for this to happen.
  • You don’t need to show a photo of the entire face. It also works if you show only the eyes.
  • The results are nowhere near 100% correct, but they are much too accurate to be explained by chance alone.

Perhaps the question shouldn’t be if gaydar is a thing, but what kind of thing it is.

As an amateur skeptic, I’ll immediately dismiss the possibility that it’s mystical energy and magical auras. It can’t be pheromones, since gaydar works with photographs. Nor can it be Farrah Moan, since she was eliminated in episode 8 of her season and didn’t make it too far in All-Stars. Oh, Ru!

Here’s my unscientific, unresearched, and most likely incorrect theory:

Gaydar is most likely related to body language, facial expressions, and social cues. Gay men instinctively learn, through trial and error, what actions and characteristics indicate a person is gay. I don’t think it’s an innate skill, but it’s driven by an inherent need to identify others like us.

If this is the case, gaydar should become more accurate over time as we learn which blips on our screens are truly gay men and which are Zaddy Zac Efron. This experience prepares us to extrapolate information from incomplete data, which explains how we can determine sexual orientation from a photograph.

Perhaps the best description of gaydar comes from a short story written by a straight author and told from the perspective of a straight narrator. It’s from “The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind” by David Guterson. I remember nothing of the book but the following passage, which has stuck with me for nearly 30 years:

When I was twenty-four I saw Wyman again in a bar in west Seattle. He was shooting pool with two other men, the three of them circling the table with their cues and leaning low into the smoky light there to take their shots with the utmost seriousness. It was not so much something in their appearance, or even in their manner, that suggested what I came to conclude from the scene: that Wyman was gay, a homosexual. It was rather their intimacy that suggested it, the way in which their pool game shut them off from the world and made them a society unto themselves, so that what the rest of the bar might think of them was a matter of complete insignificance. 

David Guterson, “The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind”

Perhaps that’s all gaydar is: A skill born of necessity to bring us together and protect us from harm over centuries of discrimination, degradation, and shame. If that ain’t worth $9.99 a month, I don’t know what is.

Categories
LGBTQ Married Life

🏳️‍🌈 Presentando a Mi Media Naranja

There are two words for husband in Spanish, but I only use one to refer to mi media naranja, the Complimentary Spouse:

Marido.

A few English speakers have tried to tell me that the correct word is esposo

Really? ¿Cómo te atreves a cuestionarme?

There are two reasons why esposo is not the right word. One is conventional, and the other has to do with same-sex marriage.

First, marido is the word I’ve always used for husband. Growing up in Madrid, marido y mujer meant husband and wife. No one used esposo y esposa in everyday language. They are formal words, like those you’d find in legal documents.1

Second, there is no feminine version of marido.2

That’s critical for me because I no longer speak Spanish well. I forget essential words and stumble over verbs all the time. Recently, I couldn’t remember the word for spoon and had to ask for un tenedor para sopa.3 The few times I have said esposo, the person I was talking to assumed I meant esposa. I’d assume the same if I were dealing with someone with the vocabulary and grammar skills of a discombobulated toddler.

With marido, there’s no confusion. People get it right away.

Because of how gender works in Spanish grammar, saying somos esposos is open to interpretation. Most people will assume it refers to an opposite-sex married couple. But somos maridos is unambiguous. It means we’re husbands.

Being out and visible makes a difference, no matter where you are or what language you’re speaking. Not only is marido the right word to use, but it’s also the right word to describe the other half of my orange.

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1 I think American schools teach esposo y esposa because it follows the simple, predictable pattern for pairs of masculine and feminine nouns. I’m talking about simple, well-known words like perro y perra, professor y professora, or cazafantasmo y cazafantasma.

2 The word marida exists, but it’s not a noun, and it doesn’t mean wife.

3 Britt says I speak Spanish better than I think I do. On a train from Segovia to Madrid a few years ago, I turned to him and said, “You know, I really wish I could still speak Spanish well.”

“At lunch, you explained Critical Race Theory to the couple next to us,” he said.4

“I’m not sure it made sense,” I said. “I probably sounded no smarter than a six-year-old.”

“They clearly understood you,” Britt said. “And a lot people protesting CRT sound no smarter than a six-year-old … in their native language.”

4 No, I did not turn to them abruptly and say, “Can you pass the salt and, also, do you want to hear about controversial U.S. social issues?” We struck up a conversation about how great the restaurant was, and we ended up chatting all lunch. They asked about CRT because something was recently on the news in Spain, but they didn’t fully understand it.

Categories
LGBTQ Sportsball

🏳️‍🌈 Allies Go to Bat for Pride Games

Updated on June 9, 2024, with more fabulous feedback from adorable allies!

The Complimentary Spouse and I spent this afternoon at the Trop, America’s best OKest worst godawfulest ballpark, and saw our beloved but bumbling Tampa Bay Rays lose to the Orioles. We had a gay ol’ time, despite the loss, because it was this year’s Pride game.

I’ve written about Pride games before (cf. Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Up High!), but I’ve never asked straight allies what they think about them. I reached out to a few friends to get their thoughts. Here’s what they said:

I feel proud to be part of a celebration of humanity. 🌈

It’s always great to celebrate humanity. It’s even better with hot dogs and beer.

I think of Pride games the same way I think of all such games. Whether it’s Jackie Robinson Day, Roberto Clemente Day, Jewish Heritage Day, or any similar day, it’s all about recognition. They demonstrate that baseball is for anyone and everyone. All people should be comfortable at the ballpark, whether playing or in the stands.

When I’m at a Pride game, or any similar type game for the matter, for whatever reason, I find myself looking around to see if there are any assholes who have a problem with anything that is happening. But I love seeing the people celebrating the day.

I wish we were at a point where such days weren’t necessary. But those who have a problem with it are the ones who get ostracized. That’s progress.

Yup, I see my fair share of sneers, whispered asides, and disdainful looks. But I know the assholes have to be on their best behavior at these events, so I feel more amused than endangered.

Their discomfort tickles and sustains me.

I think it’s fabulous! It opens the eyes of straight white heterosexual men in an environment they’re comfortable in.

Yup, I see this too! A lot of people in the stands aren’t used to being around so many out and proud LGBTQ folks. They see real human beings, not stereotypes from teevee or the bogeymen our enemies portray us as. Sometimes, I catch them waving rainbow flags, mouthing the words when the DJ plays a gay anthem, and applauding the same-sex couples featured on the KissCam.

Their comfort tickles and sustains me.

What is this thing you call “sporting events”?!

It’s that stuff that happens before and after the Super Bowl halftime show. No, not the commercials. The other stuff.

I remember one time I wore a red shirt to Disney. This was before the internet, and I had no idea it was Gay Day. People kept coming up to me to celebrate. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. I didn’t mind. I liked being part of something like that.

I think it’s the same thing with Pride games. People are celebrating something important to them. What’s the problem with that?

By the way, you guys need more than a month. Pride should be all year long.

“By the way, do you still wear red shirts?” he asked.

“No, we’re doing hot pink T-shirts covered with Swarovski crystals now,” I replied.

Fun for the whole family.

Not only that, but you’re guaranteed to hear Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.”

It’s pretty much the only time I go. My straight friends never invite me to baseball games.

I’m biased, but I certainly think events are more fun with LGBTQ people. Especially baseball, because every term related to the game is a gay double entendre.

I know you’re dying to learn what those sporty yet naughty terms are. Well, I’m not going to tell you here. You’ll just have to join Britt and me at an upcoming Pride game.

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 Naming a Plague

Before AIDS was called AIDS, it had another name. Actually, a few.

In 1981, doctors noticed an unexpected and alarming increase in pneumonia deaths among gay men. The cause was a sexually transmitted disease that attacked the immune system.

Researchers named the disease Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, or GRID. It was sometimes called Gay Lymph Node Syndrome, Gay Compromise Syndrome, and Community-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Some simply called it Gay Cancer.

By late 1982, it was becoming clear that gay men weren’t the only victims. Some people who had received blood transfusions or shared intravenous needles were also succumbing to the same disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began calling it Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

I grew up as the plague took hold, insulated from it but not ignorant about it. The word AIDS (or SIDA when I lived in Spain) was inescapable when I was in my teens, and I knew that it wasn’t simply a medical term. Those four capital letters could be more powerful and devastating than a nuclear bomb (another inescaple term from my teens) becuase led to pain, ridicule, shame, guilt, ostraciziation, hate, and death.1

I learned later that, for some, the word did more than strike fear and invite despair. The acronym of my nightmares ignited compassion, spurred action, transfomed people into activists and allies, and gave us the strength, vision, and moral impertive to push for acceptance, diginity, and equal rights.

The word AIDS connotes despair and darkness — rightfully so — but let’s never forget it also refers to love and hope. After all, what’s in a name? Whatever we want.

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1 An interesting but utterly inconsequential footnote: The Complimentary Spouse used to belong to an academic association called the American Institute for Decision Sciences. That meant he contributed to AIDS journals and participated in AIDS conferences. In 1986, for obvious reasons, it changed its name to the Decision Sciences Institute.

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 Three Words for Allies to Live By

Not long ago, someone asked what it takes to be a good LGBTQ ally.

The answer comes down to three words: empathy, education, and advocacy.

Empathy

Empathy helps you understand what we’re feeling and experiencing at a visceral level. With it, you bring emotional intelligence, compassion, and sensitivity to your allyship.

Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.

Daniel H. Pink

Education

Education doesn’t mean earning a degree or walking across a stage to collect a diploma — although commencement ceremonies are an excuse to get dressed up! Think of that gown as a little black dress or a muumuu. Either way, you look fabulous.

To educate yourself, actively watch, listen, and ask questions about LGBTQ issues. Be curious and eager to learn. Don’t worry about becoming an expert.

I remember speaking to a primary care physician about ten years ago and asking him what blood type I am. I didn’t know; it had never been recorded on my chart, and I wondered if he could run a test. He said donating blood was the easiest, fastest, cheapest way to determine my type.

He knew I was gay. But he had no idea that, at the time, gay men couldn’t donate blood. He said he had no idea when I told him about the ban.

I don’t think he was ignorant, and I know he wasn’t hateful or homophobic. As smart as he was about medicine, I wish he had been better educated about this issue. It made me feel like I was living in his blind spot.

A quick aside to my LGBTQ family: We’re also on the hook for education. It’s imperative that we educate our allies — in a way that’s constructive and encouraging — to ensure they’re informed. That’s what I did with my doctor.

And there’s no excuse for us not to educate ourselves. There’s nothing that infuriates me more than an LGBTQ person who doesn’t know about the very issues that affect their lives, livelihoods, and dignity.

Advocacy

As an ally, your most important role is to advocate for LGBTQ people, especially when we can’t advocate for ourselves. Be a champion.

Here are some things allies do that I appreciate:

  • Being visible at events like Pride: Just waving a rainbow flag is more meaningful than you can imagine.
  • Sharing your pronouns: Something as simple as adding he/him or she/her to your email signature can make a huge difference. It lets others know they can share their pronouns with you without fear, discomfort, or judgment. Consider putting pronouns in your social media profiles and using them when you introduce yourself.
  • Correcting others: If you hear someone use outdated or offensive terminology, set them straight point out the error. I had to do this the other day when someone called herself a “f– hag,” believe it or not.1 Unless I have reason to believe otherwise, I assume the speaker doesn’t know their language is offensive and attempt to address the issue respectfully.2
  • Calling out homophobia: Don’t let it slide when others make disparaging remarks, perpetuate stereotypes, or make hateful jokes. And don’t let the speaker turn the tables and claim you’re too sensitive or don’t have a sense of humor. The issue is what’s being said — not how you react to it.3

Being an ally can’t just be about nodding when someone says something we agree with — important as that is. It must also be about action. It’s our job to stand up for those who are not at the table when life-altering decisions are made.

Kamala Harris

More About Allyship

There are many resources for LGBTQ allies on the Internet, but none are as comprehensive as this Human Rights Campaign report.

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1 No, sweetie, that word doesn’t fly. I don’t care that all your friends thought it was funny 15 years ago.

2 But G-d help the next person who says “sexual preference” within earshot of me. Them’s fighting words, and I will cut a bitch.

3 Also, “I apologize if you were offended” is not an apology. “I apologize for what I said” is.

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 Do You Kiss Your Mother’s Guns With That Mouth?

I intend to write a post soon about the usage of “gay” as an insult — as in the expression “that’s so gay” — but I’m pressed for time today, so let me share the following article from the mother Advocate:

“Kyle Rittenhouse mocked for trying to make ‘gay’ a slur on the first day of Pride Month.”

— The Advocate, June 5, 2024

“Being called gay is not quite the insult Rittenhouse thinks it is. In fact, it’s a compliment. To quote Richie Jackson, “Being gay is, still, acting up and fighting back.”

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 Illuminating Pride

The war on LGBTQ people here in Florida is real. The bigots in the state legislature are coming for our books, entertainers, health care, dignity — and now our light bulbs.

But my queer peers in Jacksonville are fighting back with a bright idea. They spread across the iconic Main Street Bridge with flashlights to create a rainbow.

Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 The First Pride Was a Riot. And Don’t Forget It.

About four years ago, people infuriated by George Floyd’s murder turned to the streets. Most, but not all, of the action was peaceful. When people began to claim that the destruction of property never solved anything, I was quick to point out that the Stonewall Riots in 1969 launched the LGBTQ civil rights movement as we know it.

Someone challenged me and said Stonewall was a protest, not a riot.

Which is bullshit.

Stonewall was, by every conceivable definition, a riot. It was spontaneous, disorderly, violent, and destructive. It may have started with the shot glass heard ’round the world, but it quickly escalated.

Police officers, under attack, tried to barricade themselves in the bar they had raided just hours ago. Rioters attempted to bash the door down using a parking meter as a battering ram. They also tried to set the bar on fire, knowing full well that the building had no fire exits or running water.

The riots died down each morning and picked up again after dark. They lasted for five days and galvanized LGBTQ people. In just a few months, groups like the Gay Liberation Front took shape, pushing for activism over incremental change. A year after Stonewall, the first Pride march took place.

In recent years, I’ve seen efforts to make the Stonewall riots seem more peaceful and respectable. Hence, people claiming it was a protest and not a riot.1

In fact, a 2015 film whitewashed the Stonewall uprising. Literally. While the Stonewall Inn’s patrons were typically people of color, trans people, and drag queens, the film revolves around a white cisgender man who didn’t even exist — the character was created for the film!

You don’t have to condone violence. You don’t have to like what happened at Stonewall. But don’t deny the reality of what happened that night in 1969 and what it achieved.

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1 That being said, it was certainly a fabulous riot:

They [the police] formed a line trying to push the rioters back, but the crowd were having none of it. They started their own line, an impromptu chorus line at that, with synchronised kicking like the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall and singing a song to the tune of ‘Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay’: ‘We are the Stonewall girls. We wear our hair in curls. We don’t wear underwear. We show our pubic hair.’ This was something new – weaponised camp as part of a violent, disorganised, political uprising.

“Camp! The Story of the Attitude that Conquered the World” by Paul Baker

Categories
LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 More Musical Numbers

Yesterday, I introduced my Song Gayness Rating System, which is probably bunk but was fun to create.

Now let’s look at the scores for some well-known songs:

SongScoreNotes
“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga136.5Well, duh.
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor123.5If you’ve never seen anyone pantomime this song on the dance floor, you haven’t really been to a gay club.
“Vogue” by Madonna123.5Strike a pose.
“YMCA” by the Village People123.5You can hang out with all the boys.
“Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat115.5Downbeat lyrics with upbeat music.
“Believe” by Cher104The vocoder breaks new ground in terms of singing styles and camp.
“MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)” by Lil Nas X102Unapologetically gay rap song.
“Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgrave102I kissed a girl … in a country song? Groundbreaking!
“I Was Born to Be Gay” by Carl Bean99The only thing weighing down this score is that the song wasn’t a mainstream hit.
“I Want to Break Free” by Queen97.5The drag queen Queen video was so groundbreaking at the time that MTV banned it.
“Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland90Cue the hate mail from people who think this song should have been rated higher.
“Same Love” by Macklemore85I was sick of this song two nanoseconds after it came out.
”Last Dance“ by Donna Summer50Held back by the Donna Summer rule

Want to check my math or calculate your own scores? Download the Excel template here: