San Diego’s Out at the Park Event Evolves
It was just a year ago that San Diego PRIDE’s Out at the Park event in cooperation with the San Diego Padres experienced a technical glitch that spoiled the evening for many. Just as 100 members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus were standing in center field of Petco Park to sing the National Anthem, a recorded female soloist singing the anthem was broadcast, causing upset in all quarters. However, the incident resulted in a deeper dialogue between the Padres and the LGBTQ community.
Over the last 10 months the Padres and San Diego Pride have built a working partnership and, in a show of solidarity this year’s event will include the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, San Diego Women’s Chorus, San Diego Pride and the Padres together on the field, all singing the National Anthem. Congratulations to everyone concerned for working for a positive outcome!
Greg Louganis on Mental Health Struggles as a Gay Athlete
Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis was recently in Sydney, Australia to share his experiences as a gay athlete and to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion at a Speak Out function. While he now believes jealousy was the main reason he was excluded from some U.S. Diving meetings, he says that people’s attitude toward him due to his sexual identity and being HIV-positive were undeniable.
He believes we all need to be involved in a continuing discussion to ensure that sports are actively pursuing inclusion, saying that “There was so much I needed to learn about the LBGTQI, learning that we’re all on our own journey and to be able to speak respectfully – a lot of times we make assumptions without knowledge or personal experience shared with us.”
Another New Employee Fired in Baylor’s Ongoing Sex Scandal
Baylor University’s ongoing sexual scandal seems to have no end. DeMarko Butler, associate director for football operations was hired in February and fired in mid-March over inappropriate texts sent to a teenager although the content wasn’t made public. This is the second person hired by new head football coach Matt Rhule who has been fired already, the other being Brandon Washington, assistant strength coach who was arrested in a prostitution sting in early February. Mack Rhoades, the school’s director of athletics announced that the two recent firings have “prompted the athletics department to examine their vetting process.”
NC Legislators May Target NCAA for Refusal to Back Down on Anti-Gay Host Criteria
A coalition of over 80 organizations advocating LGBTQ sports equality sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert urging him to continue factoring pro- or anti-LGBTQ laws into consideration when selecting tournament host cities. Emmert has confirmed the association’s continued stand to ensure that all their championship events are held in areas where respect for and protection of LGBTQ players, coaches and fans are honored and enforced.
This was triggered by passage of HB2 by North Carolina Republican lawmakers that restricts use of public restrooms and other facilities for transgender individuals and also rescinds statewide all local nondiscrimination ordinances that extend protections in employment, housing and public accommodations to LGBTQ people. Now, rather than change or eliminate the bill, some of those lawmakers want to challenge the tax exempt status of the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), saying the groups have violated their status by “engaging in political or lobbying activities.”
USA Gymnastics President Resigns in Middle of Sex Abuse Scandal
After calls from U.S. Olympic committee officials for his ouster, Steve Penny formally resigned March 16 as president of USA Gymnastics, saying he quit “solely to support the best interests of USA Gymnastics at this time.” This is the result of dozens of women athletes accusing the organization of mishandling their sexual abuse complaints by delaying incident reports, some of them now part of the ongoing federal trial of former women gymnastics physician Dr. Larry Nassar.
Jen Ramos Hired as First Openly Non-Binary Executive in Pro Sports
Congratulations go to both Jen Ramos, baseball writer and data journalist and the Sonoma Stompers, an independent baseball club in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Club League for an historic hire. Ramos has been hired by the Stompers as the team’s new assistant general manager, the first openly non-binary or genderqueer executive in pro sports. Ramos doesn’t identify as a man or a woman and prefers they/their pronouns although for this press release they were OK with using she/her.
Embracing they role as a trailblazer, Ramos hopes to be an inspiration to others struggling with their gender identity. With an M.S. in Journalism from the University of Southern California and digital media experience with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, Ramos is an experienced data analyst and prospect evaluator whose new duties include talent evaluation, business operations and public relations.