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An ill-informed commentary on gay sports

In my daily Google searching today I stumbled across a column at The Anchor (powered in part by MTV) attacking the Gay Games on a couple levels. What he really does is attack all gay sports teams, leagues and events. Columnist Andrew Massey writes:

...putting gay athletes in their own games does not garner them respect. If gay athletes are in their own games, Olympian athletes will ignore them. After all, they are not in the real Olympics, as far as they are concerned.

But the point of the Gay Games isn't to garner athletic respect from Olympic athletes. Everyone knows the Gay Games aren't athletically on par with the Olympics; I don't know anyone who would claim otherwise. The Gay Games try to build respect from the general population by demonstrating that the age-old stereotype of unathletic queens isn't true. The event doesn't challenge everyone's stereotypes (mostly because so many people still don't know of the event or haven't attended), but it has changed the minds of many.

The only way we are going to desensitize the world to the idea of homosexuality and get it on the path of acceptance is exposure. If the world is not familiar with the members of the LBGT community they will react however they were taught to react to these people when they finally meet. For some that may be acceptance, but for most it is fear, hate, or anger. The only way people will learn that the LBGT community is no different than any other is if they meet these people and get to know them.

And the Gay Games detracts from that how? The event empowers gay people to be more active in their own communities, to come out, to stand up for themselves. If Massey had been to a Gay Games or talked to a handful of participants, he might have figured out that the Gay Games event in Chicago in 2006 returned thousands of empowered athletes to dozens of countries and hundreds of cities.

Massey goes on...

So instead of focusing on giving LBGT athletes their own games and sanctuary, how about we try to make the Olympics and its athletes more open and accepting (and safer) to the LBGT community. It is a step in the right direction.

Or how about we do both (which is what is happening already)? Most people who attend the Gay Games are looking to have fun. They want to meet people like them, play a sport, have a beer and meet new friends. What is so wrong with that that this columnist says he disagrees with the Gay Games' existence? We can have fun, inclusive events AND push for more equality in the Olympics and the NFL. The Gay Games hardly detract from efforts do that.