First of all, here is the link: http://www.athleteally.org/
Go there, sign the pledge. Even if you don’t want to read my inane ramblings on the subject, go there, sign the pledge.
Now, On to the ramblings.
With that out of the way, I’ve started with something near and dear to my heart. Sports. Because in the end, thats what this is all about. Everyone should be allowed to a chance to play. It’s been a number of years now since injuries and life removed me from the rugby pitch, but I still feel connected to that hunk of grass every time I pass it by.
The positive physical and mental benefits from being involved in sports is well documented. I don’t think I need to go over that. But I do need to go over why what Athlete Ally stands for is so important.
You see, we live in a world of “boys will be boys” gone mad. We have collectively written off bullying, taunting, and verbal assaults as kids being kids.
But if we don’t teach kids as kids that this isnt acceptable, we end up with adults like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rush Limbaugh, and others. We get adults who think its still ok to taunt, humiliate, and decry someone based on who they kiss, and who they love.
The Bastion of this has always been the sports community. I remember my own time in the lockerroom and the taunts and jokes, how “gay” was an insult that could lead to a fight, and the entire thing was justified as us just “fooling around.”
I never considered how a gay person might have felt, it never even crossed our minds. But we should have. We never noticed, but what we said must have hurt our prop, who (I found out much later) was gay. We never knew. But if we did, would it have changed anything? I hate to say it, but probably. It wouldn’t have bothered me, but I can’t imagine it would have been easy on him, nor can I speak to how others would have taken it.
In the end though, we were wrong. Being gay isnt an insult any more than being straight, or having blue eyes is.
In the words of Ben Harper “what we are is what we chose to be.” Gay athletes did not “choose” to be gay. They did choose to be our teammates, our friends, and our compatriots. They chose to practice late, and get up early with everyone else. They chose to defend us when we got into fights, and pick us up off the floor/ground when we got leveled.
At the end of the night, what matters is who has your back, not who they go home with.
Once again, that site is http://www.athleteally.org
Sign the Pledge.