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Andrew McIntosh wins equality award

Oneonta State lacrosse captain Andrew McIntosh, who chronicled his coming out in a story on earlier this year, was presented by his college with a prestigious award this week. With the president and vice-president of Oneonta State present, the school's Office of Multicultural Affairs recognized Andrew with the Audre Lorde/Marlon Riggs Gender Equity Award for Andrew's commitment to developing consciousness about gender and sexual equity.

Since Andrew wrote the article for us, he has been on a mission to spread his story of acceptance. He's spoken on campus about gay issues and has started touring local high schools with his story. Recently he played his former teammates at Plattsburgh (Oneonta won, 12-9), where Andrew said he got a warm reception and some apologies from players who were sorry if they ever made him feel uncomfortable.

Andrew says there has been no change on his team because of his coming-out. He said the only shift in the locker room is that things are a little lighter: The team jokes about his sexual orientation, and Andrew is often the one starting the jokes. He says bringing levity to it has defused whatever potential situations could have arisen from it.

But the effect of his coming out has been felt on other teams. He heard about an incident at Div. II Pace University where a lacrosse player said something homophobic on the field. The coach stopped practice and said it wouldn't be tolerated. That would not have happened without Andrew McIntosh.

Andrew graduates soon, but before that is the completion of his college lacrosse career. On Saturday, May 1, they play the No. 1 team in the country, Cortland (Oneonta is presently ranked No. 55). Then they have their conference playoffs (they'll be the No. 3 seed there, with Cortland in their conference). They'll likely need to beat Cortland in the playoffs on May 8 to advance to the NCAA tournament.

In the next month, Andrew's story will be getting more media attention as it will appear in the Advocate's Pride Issue and the New York Times. We couldn't be more proud of Andrew for everything he's doing for gay equality.