After almost two decades spent fighting against equality - including 15 consecutive years worth of failed shareholder resolutions to put the four words in the company’s nondiscrimination policy - ExxonMobil will once again prove that they are the worst of the worst.
Connor Taras had always tried to hide the fact that he was gay; when he finally came out, he says, “it was the first time I went to race and was actually there for myself… . I got to be me.”
It’s official, athlete’s coming out is now the it thing to do. From several Olympians (including former swimming tycoon Ian “The Thorpedo” Thorpe) to NFL draft hopefuls and NBA, MLS players. Welcome the age of being out in sport.
There are a number of LGBTQ sporting organizations within Toronto. From soccer, to water polo, to dodge ball. Teams and organizations range in their competitiveness from friendly to intense or “fierce”, They range in size from teams of half a dozen to leagues of over 500. For a city that only had a handful of LGBTQ sporting organizations in 2000 Toronto has seen an explosion with now close to 50 teams and organizations for people to choose from, and it isn’t alone, cities across the continent have experienced a growth in LGBTQ sports. Why?
First and foremost are the numbers. With greater acceptance more people have come out of the closet. The HIV-AIDS epidemic that decimated the gay and bisexual male community has become more manageable and infection rates have decreased with safe sex practices and awareness. This means there are a lot more people within the community. More people means more interests and more people to join teams and build out new sporting organizations.
As the queer community has gained greater acceptance within society the fringe aspect and counter culture that thrived within it, while still there, is no longer as prominent as it once was. People, younger people in particular, don’t particularly identify themselves by their sexual orientation, it is simply a small part of them. Being gay doesn’t make someone as “different” as it once did. Joining a sports organization before might have been seen as an attempt to appear macho, or pay lip service to the oppressive societal norms that so many had rejected and is no longer the case for many.
Community, love, and friends. It can be hard finding people to date, whether you’re Queer or Straight. While there are bars, clubs, dating sites, and applications like Grindr or Scruff, they often leave a little to be desired. Sporting organizations have allowed people to interact with other Queer people, expand their friendship circle and explore another, more organic, way to meet potential partners. When I first came to Toronto joining a sporting organization was where I met most of the friends i have today and I continue to recommend joining a team or organization to anyone new to this city or any other.
While I believe that the increase in numbers, and greater acceptance has allowed for a greater burgeoning of sports organization within the Queer community, I feel it is the desire to meet new people, develop new relationships (romantic and platonic) that has been the key contributor to the growth,
Do you think there are any other contributing factors to this growth I haven’t mentioned or feel one of the others is more important?
The hacker group Anonymous has come to the defense of a number of different groups, and has cyber attacked various organizations and countries in response to discriminatory policies and actions.
While the group has attacked the Westboro Baptist Church little has been done since with regards to standing up for LGBTQ rights. Russia has imposed their anti-gay legislation as has Uganda, the Olympics didn’t even bother condemning the law and even sided with Russia stating any athlete deemed to be “proactively protesting” would be punished by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). Nothing some Anonymous whatsoever.
Arizona moved to pass a law that would enshrine the right to persecute people under the guise of religious freedoms, nothing. Tennessee passed a law allowing people to deny goods and services to anyone who is LGBTQ, even though the state doesn’t even have any anti-discrimination laws in place on the basis of sexual orientation, still nothing.
Coupled with the lack of response that Russia’s invasion of Crimea has had from the group it has led us to wonder if they are even still functional. The has been little done in the past year and a half. Have members been arrested, started working for other organizations or governments? Or do they just not care about LGBTQ rights and the break up of the Ukraine and invasion of a sovereign nation by Russia?
Most puzzling considering the activity displayed in the past. It leads us to beg the question… Where in the world is Anonymous?
In case you haven’t been watching the news lately let’s bring you to speed on what’s been happening down in Arizona.
The State’s House and Senate passed a bill allowing people to deny someone goods and services on the grounds that doing so would go against their religious faith. The bill was meant to ensure that people of faith could deny doing business with LGBTQ people. It is important to note that, save a few municipalities with state with anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, the state of Arizona does not currently have any anti-discrimination legislation in place that would stop people from denying service, employment, housing, etc. to LGBTQ people. The House and Senate instead saw the need to further entrench discrimination into the state with this new bill. What they have ended up with is a bill that would also make it legal to for people to deny service to atheists, unwed parents, divorced people, people of a different faith, and the list goes on.
As LGBTQ groups and activists decried the bill so too did some unlikely sources. The NFL came out publicly against the bill, even hinting that the upcoming Super Bowl next year that is to be held in Arizona could be moved. Republican John McCain, and even talking heads at Fox News questioned the bill. Meanwhile back in Arizona legislators either back tracked on their vote or tried to justify their homophobia and discrimination by talking about possible future threats from same-sex marriage (which the state does not currently recognize or perform), even though it is already completely legal in the state to deny someone goods/services if they are LGBTQ (the current anti-discrimination legislation in Arizona doesn’t not recognize sexual-orientation or gender identity/expression, as grounds for discrimination).
Fortunately the Governor vetoed this law reminiscent of the 1950’s.
Another issue that came out of the state was that of racially charged and offensive jokes that were made by a state Republican politician at the roast of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Several offensive remarks about Hispanic people were made with little to no apologies being given.
All of this makes you wonder, WTF is going on down there? Did someone poor a bunch of hate in the water? Did Vladimir Putin visit recently?
What do you think Arizona needs to do in order to improve its image?
Anderson Cooper gets into it with an Arizona Politician (also running for Governor) on the Religious Freedoms bill that enables people to refuse others goods & services on the grounds that it would go against their religion. For example: if the person is gay, divorced, an atheist, of another faith, involved in an interfaith marriage, if the person is menstruating, had a child out of wedlock, etc.
Bell shows that despite being a national sponsor for the Olympic games it is not afraid to show same-sex acts of love (a kiss between a male couple at the 23 second mark), even though it would be seen by minors.