Editor's note: After a dialogue with Our Group treasurer Jenelle DeVits, I invited her to express her concerns about the gay-sports community on our blog. Her entries will appear from time to time.
Coming across Outsports early in my collegiate career opened my eyes to gay media. Dominated by white masculinity I was bothered by the lack of personal representation. Understanding of the underground culture of gay athletes, I was surprised to see Outsports not only highlight gay athletes, but initiate networking and connection of these athletes. Although bothered by the lack of diversity, I was impressed by the amount of research and information Outsports presented. After realizing female athlete stories were rare and with the amount of gay male nudity, I decided to take a hiatus from visiting Outsports.
During this hiatus, I helped initiate a non-profit organization for student-athletes. Our Group was formed by multiple collegiate athletes who felt neglected, rejected, or underrepresented in the athletic arena. Currently, we have over 200 members and are taking progressive strides to create a secure networking and support system across the United States. If you are interested in becoming involved in Our Group, please do not hesitate to email me.
With my work in Our Group and activism at my own university, I have found a common trend: the LGBT athletic community lacks support for people of color, and male domination is not leaving. When looking at the LGBT athletic community, especially Outsports (which is known as one of the best LGBT athletic websites), there is an obvious illustration of this trend. The nudity (yes, sex does sell) of the white male athletes is, to many people, questionable. I understand the population Outsports currently entertains is exactly that: white men. However, I challenge Outsports to broaden its audience and try to attract new members of the LGBT community to its website.
I would love to see more women volunteer to tell their story and do lengthy feature stories. I would also like to see Outsports acknowledge its hegemonic trends and seek involvement from athletes of color. If there is a lack of either, I hope Outsports can at least present to its audience the energy it used in trying. It is important to give female athletes and athletes of color the support and advocacy that Outsports proclaims on their website. I hope people step up, come out, and speak their mind. The world can use more thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
Editor's note: We have always searched for out athletes of every gender and color to tell their stories. Still, we can do better, and we accept Jenelle's challenge. We're working with Janelle to bring a regular feature: profiles of the wonderful members of Our Group. We have other plans to reach more athletes in response to our recent poll. And we also implore all gay athletes reading this to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell their story. We want to hear from you!