‘Carthage must be destroyed’

Outsports finally notices that it isn’t the linchpin in the increasingly passé gays-in-sports issue. Jim Buzinski:

The result has been a wide-ranging dialog[ue] about gays in sports in print [and] on radio, TV and the Internet, which only serves to keep the issue front and center.

For now, sure. Eventually it stops getting covered and Outsports’s reason for being disappears.

I was underwhelmed when Welts came out, since I had known he was gay for years and felt he could have come out long ago without negative consequences.

Here again we endure the one-upmanship of journalists covering gays in sport: Well, I knew he was a fag all along and I could have blown the whistle anytime.

Buzinski is talking about Rick Welts, president of some basketball team or other, who finally came out – not incidentally after at least one lover left him because he couldn’t breathe locked up inside Welts’s closet. Now, what observation did everyone overlook?

What little he knew of gay culture was stereotypical, and unappealing, he recalled. “In my mind, it was effeminate, a way that I would not define as masculine.”

There is, as ever, no cultural home whatsoever for the naturally masculine gay man. He has no choice but to go where other real men can be found, in this case pro sports. Then he decides he isn’t real after all and lives in the closet. This is his mistake; the rest of it is ours.

It took an experienced wymmyn sportswriter I’ve read for a decade and a half, one with the demasculinized name of Johnette Howard, to put all the pieces together:

[I]t challenges an enduring canard[,] that revealing yourself as a supporter of gay rights is only slightly less risky than admitting you are gay.

Sean Avery’s support for gay marriage surprised many, but he isn’t alone among professional male athletes…. And yet, male pro sports continue to be portrayed as one of last unbreachable bastions of homophobia. When people speak of how the gay movement still needs its own Jackie Robinson, it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is that it will take a martyr, not just a sports hero with a social conscience.

But is that still true? Especially now that sports continue to present us with examples of how people such as [Don and Todd] Reynolds – and not Avery – face the bigger backlash for their views on gay rights?

This is a good time to start re-appraising all these things we’ve so long taken as “fact” – including the conventional wisdom that it would be impossible for a gay male athlete to come out during his playing career, rather than just in retirement.

Gays have to get used to the idea that we are in fact here and they are in fact used to it. Nobody’s surprised anymore when somebody turns out gay! If you’re still in the closet, you’re the one acting like something is wrong with you.

What this means is that the sporting life, packed to the walls with gorgeous straight guys in the peak of health, remains the only obvious place an actually masculine gay man can go. Of course that’s ironic, but to continue with Howard’s point, aren’t we the ones saddled with “an enduring canard”?

You don’t see many masculine guys out in gay society because gay society doesn’t want them.

Where does this leave the ugly, undercapitalized outport called Outsports, obsessed as it is with transsexuals and working under the misapprehension it is the node through which all discussion of gays in sport must flow? Don’t expect an answer to that question; like the Times, the operators of this paper of record manqué don’t respond to criticism. Like the Times, aren’t they untouchable?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.05.18 14:57. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2011/05/18/gaysports-yetagain/

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