When I moved to the Boston area some six and a half years ago, I knew that I’d have to stop discussing baseball. Those who grow up as Yankees fans know it’s rather pointless, if not downright foolhardy to talk about the national pastime right in the middle of Red Sox Nation.
I for one decided it was far better to keep my normally fat mouth shut regarding the boys of summer. However, I have elected to break my silence because of a recent piece of news that dropped into my inbox a little over a week ago.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (see NCLR press release here) has filed suit against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA) on behalf of three bisexual baseball players on the San Francisco D2. The players were questioned about their sexual orientation and subsequently disqualified following the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle.
According to the article “Ballplayers Sue Gay Softball League” by Andrew Harmon of The Advocate, it appears that the three players, LeRon Charles, Steven Apilado and Jon Russ, were deemed “nongay” by the NAGAAA. Furthermore, the only choices the players were given during their questioning were “heterosexual” and “gay” when it came to describing themselves. Charles, as stated in Harmon’s article, maintained that he was attracted to women and men, which the NAGAAA committee did not accept.
Are you still with me?
I was incredulous to say the least. The NCLR press release, The Advocate article, and the response by the NAGAAA (see the organization’s open letter at outsports.com) left me with my mouth hanging open. Digesting this information took a while. I had no idea where to go with it. I have to admit that my first reaction to friends was rather sarcastic. It seems last year we were lying homosexuals and this year we’re deceitful heterosexuals, I quipped.
What gives? Really, what gives?
It seems to me that as bisexual men, our so-called true sexuality—that is when people patently ignore the words I’m bisexual as they come out of our mouths—depends on the convenience of others. For writers such as—but not limited to—Dan Savage and Michael Musto (see my post from March 24th of this year) , we are straw men to be bashed and trashed, because we are lying to ourselves and others about our supposedly true natures.
We are also fodder for scientists as Benedict Carey’s 2005 New York Times article, “Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited” demonstrates. Apparently no matter what we say, think or feel we really don’t know who we are.
But wait. If we want to take part in activities within the BGLT community, we mustn’t take places away from those who are authentically gay.
It seems to me that other people’s agendas define who we are. If others need us to be gay in order to get their point across, then we’re gay. If others need us to be straight to satisfy their agenda, then we’re straight. That is what angers me. It is positively maddening to be at the mercy of others and to feel like a pawn in their games.
It makes me want to holler, break down and cry
I can’t imagine what bisexual men have done to deserve such disrespect. I can’t imagine because the answer is nothing. We are just living our lives.
It’s high time for fair play for bisexual men, on the field, in the boardroom, in academia and on the street.