Soccer player Robbie Rogers comes out

Robbie Rogers

Robbie Rogers, a professional soccer player decided to come out as gay and quit the sport. At the age of 25, he was released from the Leeds United last month and explained why he quit soccer on his website.

“Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest. Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.”

Roger’s played for the Columbus Crew of the MLS before playing for Leeds and most recently League One’s Stevenage. Born and raised in LA, currently living in London.  By coming out, makes him one of a small number of pro-footballers since Justin Fashanu in 1990 to announce publicly.

The Chicago Fire of the MLS owns his rights and head coach Frank Klopas said this after hearing about Rogers’ coming out: “Yesterday I thought he was a very good player and I still think that today. Should Robbie want to return to the game, we would still be open to him being part of the Fire.”

Roger’s also writes on his website:

“For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations.   Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret.  Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.”

He tweeted by writing this on his twitter account:

@RobbieRogers “http://www.therobbierogers.com/ Just getting some sh*t off my chest. http://fb.me/2G6VcA57v

Support for Professional Soccer Player Robbie Rogers is spreading across the world. He wrote Saturday a update on his twitter account by saying:

@RobbieRogers “Thank you everyone for all of the support and love. Wasn’t expecting this.”

Share your support or opinions in the comments section. Do you think it was a good decision to step away from the sport to deal with his own personal issues reguarding his sexuality? Should he return to soccer in the future? Share your thoughts.

Former England Player Says Times Right For Gay Players

A top former England international football player and now TV pundit says that he thinks players would now accept a gay teammate in the changing room.

Popular former player and manager Gareth Southgate claims the real problem might well be the fans on the terraces that may not be quite as open, tolerant and welcoming to gay players not the sportsmen themselves.

Garreth Southgate

Garreth Southgate

Speaking with BBC Sport, Southgate said: ‘I’m sure there might be some reaction from crowds, but within dressing rooms I think it would be accepted.’

There has been a surprising amount of rather high-profile male and female athletes and sportspeople choosing to come out and be open in public with their sexuality, such as professional boxing’s Orlando Cruz, Rugby’s Gareth Thomas not to mention many of the British Olympic Team. However, there has not been a single top flight British footballer to come out since Justin Fashanu back in 1990.

Gareth Southgate who used to live in Northgate in Crawley made the comments in reaction to Manchester United’s goalkeeper, Anders Lindegaard saying ‘homosexuals are in need of a hero’. Lindegaard said the attitude of fans doesn’t encourage gay players to be open about their sexuality. “They are in need of someone who dares to stand up for their sexuality. But homosexuality in football is a taboo subject and the atmosphere on the pitch and in the stands is tough.” he said. “The problem for me is that a lot of football fans are stuck in a time of intolerance that does not deserve to be compared with modern society’s development in the last decades. While the rest of the world has been more liberal, civilised and less prejudiced, the world of football remains stuck in the past when it comes to tolerance.”

“It will take someone who is brave enough to be open and honest,” said the ex-England international, Southgate who was a key fixture of the line up of the national squad from 1995 to 2004. He added “Players mix with players of different nationalities, races and religions so I don’t see it being an issue in the dressing room. We can’t control the reaction of all supporters, so unfortunately there will always be an adverse reaction to parts of society. But the honest answer is that we don’t know until somebody steps forward.”

Homophobia is still regarded as one of the biggest problems in the modern UK football industry, despite various campaigns to ‘Kick Homophobia Out’ of the sport.

Closet Scores Goal

There are very few openly gay professional soccer players in the world today and the Dutch Football Association have taken an innovative and humorous stance in encouraging gay players to come out.

The small European nation’s official football association has made a wonderful commercial which has already been shown on local TV featuring a gay man playing soccer – in a closet. Yep, we see the closet running on the pitch, warming up, tacking another player, scoring a goal, showering in the changing room and enjoying post match celebrations.

“Why not step out of the closet?” it asks in banner headlines before adding “Your team is on your side” and finishes with the tag line — “Gay? There is nothing queer about it.”

The commercial has been greeted warmly and commended by many gay rights commentators and sports fans. “I think it’s great, I wish the UK FA would do something similar” Dean a football fan told me today. “It is about time that an official sports body publicly opened its arms and accepted gay sportsmen in this way” another sports fan commented.

 

 

Romney Will Let Gays and Lesbians Die Alone

A history of dying alone

Gay people had long faced a cruel and inhumane limitation on their rights imposed across the United States by certain states and hospitals when they were denied the ability to visit their partners in hospitals.  Many gay men and women died alone as their loving partners waited outside the hospital doors due to stringent rules prohibiting non-family members from having hospital visitation rights.

Lisa Pond was with her three children playing basketball on the first day of a 2007 cruise vacation when she collapsed from an aneurysm. The 39 year old mother was rushed by ambulance to a Florida medical center where she fought for her life all alone. Her partner of 18 years was not allowed to see Lisa.  She and their children were never given the chance to say goodbye as her please to be at her partner’s deathbed were not granted because the couple from Lacey, Washington were lesbians.

This is just one story of countless documented cases where members of the gay community were treated without even a shred of common decency or humanity.

Help finally arrives

Thankfully, help finally came two years ago when President Obama mandated that all hospitals grant same-sex couples all the same rights as married heterosexual couples including visitation rights. Hospitals partaking in Medicare and Medicaid, under the new regulations,  must allow all patients to decide visitation rights, as well as who to entrust with making medical decisions on their behalf, regardless of sexual or gender identity.  According to the White House blog, “This policy impacts millions of LGBT Americans and their families. The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this.” White House deputy director of public engagement Brian Bond wrote.

A human rights issue or an election issue?

In most of the civilized world, this would be considered a human rights issue, but this week it is simply an election issue –“Red Meat” for the base if you will.  Following the last Presidential Debate, Bay Buchannan, in the spinroom, told buzzfeed, “Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights.”

Mitt Romney’s website proudly states:

Like any family, the Romneys have faced hardship: Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and more recently fought a battle with breast cancer. She credits her husband’s unwavering care and devotion to her for helping her through these ordeals.

So, while Mitt and Ann have a complete understanding of how important it is to be with your partner when facing a health crisis, he has promised to allow states to prohibit same-sex couples from having the same hospital visitation rights that he and Ann share. When it comes to exercising “unwavering care and devotion” it seems that is something only straight couples are capable of doing.

This is just one stark example of the 22 rights that gay and lesbian couples have now granted under the years with Obama in the White House that are almost guaranteed to disappear if Romney wins the presidency.

When it comes to common decency and being a good steward of humanity, Mitt Romney just isn’t looking out for the millions of gay and lesbians across this country who may face the very will prospect of starting to die alone once more.

Fitness Guru Shaun T Comes Out – Quietly

Is coming out becoming so normal that it’s not worthy of “insane” media publicity and high production values?  After Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean recently came out to much fanfare, fitness guru Shaun T quietly slipped out of the closet this weekend via a simple retweet.

Shaun T created Insanity, a 60-day program focusing on “maximum-intensity exercise with short periods of rest.”  The program promises fast results without leaving the house and has been wildly successful. Shaun T followed up his continuing success with the “Hip-Hop Abs” video which had men and women swooning across the country.

With so much success and having such a high profile, Shaun T could have attempted to milk his coming out for additional publicity, but his coming out story is much simpler and void of all fanfare. Alex Coloreo, an attendee at the wedding, tweeted an Instagrammed shot from the wedding:

Shaun then retweeted this and followed up confirming the holy matrimony…

And that was that.  A simple and sincere moment captured via Instagram and Twitter to two newlyweds!  No product tie-ins or advertising blitz. Congratulations to Shaun T and his new husband Scott Blokker!  We wish you the all the best in your new life together!

A Reply to Matt Birk’s anti-gay video

It’s not uncommon for American sportsmen to be extra vocal regarding their hatred of gay people and supporting opposition to equal rights for gay people. One of the latest being Baltimore Ravens’ player Matt Birk who took to the media and made a video disclosing his opposition to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in a new video for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

“Supporting the basic rights of children and the authentic rights of people with same-sex attraction are not mutually exclusive, and we must resist the forces that are telling us otherwise,” Birk claims in the anti – equality video.

Over the weekend the footballer told a local newspaper that marriage needs “protection” so it can remain as being between one woman and one man.

This comes from a country that holds so much regard for the ancient institution of marriage that you can get married in under 5 minutes to someone you’ve known for less than a day by someone dressed as Elvis.

However, Birk’s latest remarks have pulled in a quick response from Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe, who is a keen supporter Equality and was recently on the cover of Out magazine. “If you want us to understand why same-sex marriage is bad for kids, you need to provide some sort of substantial evidence” the sports star said.

In a recent interview he used the Bible to illustrate why it was important to support equal marriage, “It’s all about the Golden Rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s that simple. It’s something that needs to be spoken about, and it’s something I can do while fulfilling my job as a football player.”

Like most of us, when he was growing up he had used homophobic slurs, however he now realises how harmful the use of such words can be, “Unfortunately, as kids, sometimes you don’t understand what your words can mean because you’re not emotionally mature enough,” he said “As you grow up and start learning about the world you realize, Hey, some of this stuff is hurtful.”

Birk had previously been awarded the accolade of humanitarian of the year by the NFL, although how you can be a humanitarian by denying others the rights you take for granted is a question that will be asked by many inside and outside the world of sport.

Gay Soccer Player Its Too Dangerous

A top German professional soccer player fears he could be attacked by fans and even by other footballers if he goes public with his sexuality and officially comes out.

“I don’t know whether I will be able to take the constant tension between [being] the model heterosexual player and the possible discovery until the end of my career,” the unnamed top flight player said in an interview with Germany’s Fluter magazine.

He told them women friends act as “beards” at public events to disguise his sexuality, acting as his girlfriends. He confesses sadly that his last gay relationship was “poisoned” and destroyed by all the secrecy.

The German player thinks the increased media attention regarding his private life would have a big and detrimental impact on the pitch for him. “In the situation in a stadium or after the game, any tiny thing within the group would be made into a big deal.” More worryingly, he added, “I would no longer be safe if my sexuality was to be made public.”

He is not however an isolated case, there are other gay yet closeted sportsmen who share the same feelings, worries and anxieties. “I would love to come out and be open about my sexuality, but I just don’t think the UK is ready for an openly gay player yet.” a UK based professional football player told me in secret earlier this week.

“We thought racism was a thing of the past, but then you had that John Terry and Anton Ferdinand business and you hear the occasional racist remark or chant from the terraces and you realise that perhaps we haven’t moved forward as far as we thought we had.” he tells me.

“If we haven’t stamped out racism yet and it’s now 2012, what hope have we got for homophobia?”

“There isn’t a training session or a match day that doesn’t pass without some sort of homophobic remark or joke banded about the changing room or on the pitch. Sure, most of it is just banter between guys with ego’s far larger than their IQ’s, but even that can be discriminatory and sometimes hurtful. They just don’t think about it, its a normal part of the ’lifestyle’ and therefore its accepted and if its accepted then its considered to be ok.”

“Of course there are some deeply homophobic players as well, they say they’d never tolerate a ’queer’ on the team, on the pitch, sharing changing rooms and all that sort of stuff. Thankfully guys like that are getting few and far between, at least I think so, of course I can’t be sure and homosexuality isn’t really talked about a great deal. Unless it is the basis of a joke or something like that, homosexuality is somewhat of a taboo subject.”

In a recent interview with the Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) Clarke Carlisle, Kick It Out ambassador and York City player said “You know it is one of the biggest bugbears for me that no player feels able to come out and talk openly about his sexual orientation”.

Clarke said he had spoken with eight gay players recently, “Seven of the eight said they didn’t want to come out because they were worried about the media. Nothing came of our conversations with these players so I guess we are back to square one”.

He continued “You have to understand that the use of language in football, in the changing rooms, between players and managers and of course on the terraces is at a pretty base level… so any player thinking about doing this would need to be very brave”.

Whilst Clarke remains worried that any out gay footballer would be “driven out of the game,” because of pressure from the fans and the media, the anonymous player however believes that’s only part of the fear and an equal amount of pressure would come from within, “Football is run much like an ‘old boys network’ and I don’t think they are either ready to support or willing to accept an openly gay player. There is a lot of hostility there and those attitudes don’t just change overnight.”

More Gay Athletes Than Ever

The London Olympics are simply a matter of hours away now and these 2012 games look set to be the most gay and lesbian inclusive in the history competition.

There will be at least fourteen openly gay and lesbian athletes participating during the games in the UK’s majestic capital. The information comes from OutSports.com, who published the list last week yet simple statistics would suggest that there are many many more gay or lesbian competitors taking part, yet for whatever reason are not publicly ‘out’ about their sexuality. Even if it was just one per cent of the total athletic contingent of 12,602 were gay or lesbian then we’d be talking of a number around 126, rather than the fourteen currently accounted for.

Some of the courageous athletes known to be openly gay or lesbian include:

Matthew Mitcham (Australia, diving);

Edward Gal (Netherlands, equestrian);

Lisa Raymond (U.S., doubles tennis);

Judith Arndt(Germany, cycling);

Seimone Augustus (U.S., basketball);

Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing);

Megan Rapinoe (U.S. soccer);

Marilyn Agliotti (Netherlands, field hockey);

Maartje Paumen (Netherlands, field hockey);

Natalie Cook (Australia, beach volleyball);

Alexandra Lacrabère (France, handball);

Jessica Landström (Sweden, soccer);

Carole Péon (France, triathlon):

Jessica Harrison (France, triathlon);

There is still a perceived or actual fear of hostility and / or rejection by many sportsmen and women which may indicate the relatively low number of out athletes. Whilst most sporting bodies purport to be inclusive and non discriminatory in their selection process many insiders suggest an athlete typically stands a better chance of making a national team if they remain in the closet.

 

Va. gym to allow gay parents to join

Roanoke Athletic Club

 

Finally some good news to share.  Gay couple in Virginia win acceptance after causing internet firestorm.

Va. gym to allow gay parents to join

"ROANOKE, Va. (AP) A Roanoke fitness club has changed its membership policies after a gay man sued after it sold him a family membership, then revoked it after realizing that his family consisted of two dads and a son."

Here is a couple that stood up to the system and changed minds.  Congratulations to them for advancing rights for other gay parents.

Gym membership revoked!

In Virginia, at least one gay couple finds working out to be impossible after Roanoke Athletic Club revokes membership.

Virginia Gay Couple Sues Roanoke Athletic Club After Stripping Them Of A …

Gay Couple

“Two Virginia-based gay men are suing an area health club after denying their son access to a swimming pool and stripping them of a family membership after learning they were a same-sex couple. The Roanoke Times reports that Will Trinkle and partner …”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/virginia-gay-couple-roanoke-athletic-club-lawsuit-_n_1647476.html