Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lawsuit Brings To Light Discrimination Against Bisexual Softball Players

One of my pet peeves is the transphobia and biphobia that can rear its ugly head within the gay community.  One unfortunate example is the case of D2, a gay softball team that had placed second in the Gay World Series of 2010.

After a stellar playing season, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance stripped the team of it's standing, not based on any lack of merit regarding their playing, but instead citing regulations that stipulate only two non-gay athletes may be on a team in the alliance.  D2's violation?  Three self-self identified bisexual men were on the team.

"The three plaintiffs — Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ — played on a team called D2 that qualified for the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, which is organized by the alliance.

"The alliance's rules say that each World Series team can have no more than two heterosexual players. According to the lawsuit, a competing team accused D2 of violating that rule.

"Each of the three plaintiffs was called into a conference room in front of more than 25 people, and was asked 'personal and intrusive questions' about his sexual attractions and desires, purportedly to determine if the player was heterosexual or gay, the lawsuit alleges. The alliance has no category or definition for bisexual or transgender people in its rules, the plaintiff's attorney said.

"At one point during the proceedings, the lawsuit alleges, one of the plaintiffs was told: 'This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.'"

This week, the alliance filed a motion of dismissal, which was refused by the judge overseeing the case.  The judge allowed the rule against too many straight players to stay in place, while deciding to continue with an August 1st court date for a trial to determine if the alliance violated statutes protecting bisexuals within the state of Washington.  

It's a common complaint amongst bisexual individuals that they are discriminated against in any community-- both straight and gay-- and this is just another example of insidious biphobia.  While the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance is a private organization and can probably pick and choose who they allow to play with them, what sort of mean spirited motivations were present in that body to decide that "bisexual" just isn't gay enough?

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