Afternoon Fizz: Gay Softball League Sued for Discrimination

By Josh Feit April 22, 2010

Whoa. I hadn't realized the comments were adding up on this post from Tuesday. We're moving it up.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, along with K&L Gates, has filed a case in Seattle's U.S. District Court against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association for disqualifying three (male) players from the 2008 league championship in Seattle.

Here's the complaint (get ready for the serious complications of identity politics).

Here's the summary from NCLR:

When NCLR clients Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles, and Jon Russ traveled with their softball team to the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle, they encountered discrimination, hostility, and suspicion. Their team, D2, had been playing together in the San Francisco Gay Softball League for years. In 2008, they had practiced more than ever in the hopes of winning the World Series, and they made it all the way to the championship game.

During the championship, D2 learned that another team challenged their eligibility to play based on a tournament rule that each team could have no more than two straight players. Immediately after the game, five D2 players were summoned to a conference room for a protest hearing, despite NAGAAA’s stated mission of promoting “amateur sports competition, particularly softball, for all persons regardless of age, sexual orientation or preference, with special emphasis on the participation of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.” Each player was forced to answer intrusive questions about his sexual orientation and his private life in front of a room of over 25 people, most of whom the players did not know. The players were forced to answer whether they were “predominantly attracted to men” or “predominantly attracted to women,” without the option of answering that they were attracted to both. After each player was interrogated, a panel voted on whether he was “gay” or “non-gay.” NAGAAA’s committee refused to entertain the idea that the players could be bisexual. In response to a player’s statement that he was attracted to both men and women, a NAGAAA member responded, “This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.”
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