Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.
Various sports, 1997. With the subtitle, ‘True stories of America’s gay male athletes,’ Dan Woog’s book 'Jocks' opened eyes in 1997. This wasn’t one athlete’s story about being gay: This was over two dozen male athletes talking about being gay in various sports. That was quite a statement in 1997, and countless athletes have told us they found strength reading Woog’s book.
The reviews of the book on Amazon.com point to the timeliness of Woog's work. At the time, gay books about athletes were supposed to revolve around sex in the locker rooms and discussions about being physical with other men. Many gravitated to the book in search of those stories; Instead, Woog presented them with stories of the lives of gay athletes. Various readers gave the book a negative rating on Amazon because it didn’t include stories about sex…a testament to Woog’s work on the book.
Even the title of the book was provocative. It wasn't 'Gay Jocks' but simply 'Jocks.' It was a bold statement about the coming wave of athletes who looked, played and excelled just like any other jock. The stories told by Woog were about people who were athletes first, gay second. That was a very new way of looking at sexuality vis-a-vis sports in 1997.
Five years later Woog followed with 'Jocks 2' and another round of great stories, including that of Outsports’ Jim Buzinski.
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