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7 items on my Black Friday LGBTQ sports shopping list

Much like our feast day, the day after Thanksgiving is far different this year because of the pandemic. Our managing editor is searching for seven things not found on store shelves.

Black Friday Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

I will confess I have never woken up before dawn the Friday after Thanksgiving and braved the malls or the big box stores, but I am related to people who did. We no longer speak.

I have on occasion shopped at stores on Black Friday in the mid-afternoon, after the crowds have gone, along with all the best deals.

This Black Friday will be no different for me, even though it will indeed be so very, very different for all of us because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If I do shop, I’ll so so online, as will countless millions. But what’s on my shopping list isn’t something any store I know keeps in stock.

The truth is, I really don’t “need” anything retailers are selling. I already own two pairs of Nike’s Be True sneakers, two pairs of Chucks, a yoga mat and yoga pants to match, barbells, a treadmill and enough sweats to workout seven day a week. Not that I do, mind you.

I have sports bras and crop tees and hair ties and various tanks and socks that manufacturers swear are designed to “wick” away 99% of sweat. But I must be that 1% who sweats just looking at workout equipment.

What I want isn’t something for a workout. What I want this Black Friday is something that works “in,” as in “inclusion.”

My LGBTQ sports shopping list starts with a big ask:

  1. I want the courts, Congress and all 50 states to honor the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Equal protection would mean transgender athletes are protected from discrimination and can compete according to their gender identity without interference. That’d be nice.

2. I want whoever controls the U.S. Senate in January to pass the Equality Act and send it to President-elect Joe Biden to sign into law. This may be next to impossible, a pipe dream. But read what H.R. 5 actually says: “An act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” That covers a lot of territory, which is probably why it’s gone nowhere in this current political climate. I want that to change, too.

San Francisco 49ers Training Camp
Offensive Assistant Coach Katie Sowers of the San Francisco 49ers runs during training camp at the SAP Performance Facility on August 18, 2020 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

3. I want women to be considered and hired for key positions in pro sports, and not just management and coaching, but as a rule and not an exception. Let’s see more women like Katie Sowers, Alyssa Nakken and Kim Ng in the NFL, MLB, and not just the WNBA. There’s no rule that says women can’t play pro baseball or pro football.

4. I want more out LGBTQ men and women in key sports coaching, management and ownership positions. Katie Sowers, Doshia Woods, Stephanie White, Curt Miller, Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss are just some of the potential that’s out there. And I do mean “out.” What’s keeping closeted coaches and management from stepping forward? Fear.

So let’s do more to eliminate fear and encourage courage. At Outsports, we don’t say “Courage Is Contagious” just because it’s a catchy slogan; it’s the truth, borne out by science.

5. And speaking of science, I want more of it. If transphobes, TERFs and inclusion activists really want an end to the debate over transgender athletes, then let’s find the required funding for actual research into the abilities of elite trans women as they compare to elite cisgender women athletes. And then let’s wait to see the outcome before we ban people from competing because of supposition, bias and high school understanding of biology.

6. I want an end to the pandemic which has not only changed how we play sports, and who must sit out games, and who can attend games, and how we travel, and how we work, live and shop... but is also taking the lives of more than 2,000 people a day right this very minute.

The Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is equal to the seating capacity of 12 Madison Square Gardens, or three and one-third Los Angeles Coliseums.

Super Bowl VII - Miami Dolphins vs Washington Redskins - January 14, 1973
Every one of the 78,457 seats in the Los Angeles Coliseum was filled in 1973 for Super Bowl VII. Now multiply this by 3.33 and that’s the 2020 death toll from the coronavirus. So far.

Put it another way: Think of how many events you’ve seen in an arena or stadium in your lifetime. Then imagine every single person who enjoyed those events that you attended dying.

I think of the seven friends I lost to the coronavirus in 2020 every time I put on a damn mask, which I hate having to wear. But I hate dying more, and it’s been proven it will save my life and those around me. I want more people to understand this and wear a damn mask.

7. I want the Mets to win the World Series in 2020, after a full season of baseball, and to win at Citi Field with cheering fans in the stands and me, a trans woman sports journalist, in the press box, with an interview lined-up post-game with Noah Syndergaard. Steve Cohen, can you at least grant me this one thing on my LGBTQ sports shopping list?

My holiday wish for everybody, regardless of your fandom, your place in the wide world of sports or your stance in or out of the closet: Be safe, be kind, and be seen.