February 8th, 2007
Update: An brief interview with Cleveland standout LeBron James appeared in the Columbus Dispatch showing the bind that gay athletes find themselves in.
Outsports is reporting that John Amaechi, a former player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic, has become the first NBA player to come out as gay.
He has a book coming in a couples of weeks. In Man In The Middle he talks about the difficulties of being a closeted professional athlete in the NBA. Ironically, it wasn’t until he was on contract with the Utah Jazz in the middle of conservative Mormon country that he felt secure enough to begin spending his off time in gay establishments and hanging out with a mostly gay circle of friends:
“Those grumpy social conservatives who continue to insist that gay life is lonely and unhappy have obviously never met my friends,” Amaechi wrote.
…He also acknowledges that those in gay clubs like New York’s Splash and Los Angeles’ Abbey who have claimed in the past to have spotted him there while he was with the Jazz may, in fact, have done so.
“By the end of my second Utah season, I was practically daring reporters to take the bait and out me,” he wrote. “But it never happened. My sexuality, I felt, had become an open secret, which was fine by me. I’d left enough open to interpretation that suspicions were gaining momentum.”
Rumors about Amaechi had swirled for quite a while, egged on by his enjoyment of gardening, writing poetry, and listening to opera before gametime.
An interview with Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reveals the impossible double-bind in which gay athletes in the professional leagues are placed. On the one hand, LeBron doesn’t think an openly gay athlete could survive in the NBA. But on the other hand, the fact that a gay athlete has to hide presents problems as well:
“We spend so much time together, honestly, that we’re kind of like a family,” James said. “We take showers with each other after practice. You’re on the bus talking about a lot of things. If you’re sitting there and you’re conversing with us but you’re not sincere about it … you’re kind of hiding it.
“As teammates, you have to be trustworthy, and if you’re gay and you’re not admitting it that you are, you’re not trustworthy.”
And yet, if you’re gay and you are admitting it, you’re running around on the court with a bulls-eye on your back. That’s a lot to deal with. For gay athletes in the major leagues thinking about coming out, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Young people often look to sports figures as role models, and unfortunately many of the examples set by athletes are questionable at best. LGBT youth need good role models more than anyone. So far, they’ll have to settle on retired athletes. But if the excerpts from his forthcoming book are any indication, it looks like John Amaechi will make a fine role model.
Welcome out, John Amaechi.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.