The NAGAAA sponsors the Gay Softball World Series. But the NAGAAA isn’t much on tolerance. When it learned that at least three players on the second place team in 2008, were, oddly enough, “straight,” it took the team’s honor away.
The case is headed to trial on August 1.
Homosexual Softballers Play Hardball
The trouble began for San Francisco’s team D2, the Times reports, after the championship game in the Gay World Series. The trouble for D2 was the NAGAAA’s tough rule on the number of “straights” a team may have. Teams are allowed just two members, the Times reports, who do not practice the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance limits the number of heterosexual players teams can have. The rule — jokingly referred to as the “straight cap” — is often a subject of spirited debate, and over time it has changed, from barring heterosexual players outright to the current policy of two per team.
Apparently, D2 tried to make it a threesome. Someone lodged a complaint against the team. Given that some of the players wear tutus during games, the Times reports, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the NAGAAA’s Deep Throat was dressed like Mata Hari.
The Times described the contretemps thusly:
The five ballplayers summoned before a protest committee at the Gay Softball World Series stood accused of cheating. Their alleged offense: heterosexuality.
Inside a small room, surrounded by committee members and other softball officials, the players said they were interrogated about their sexual orientation. Confusion reigned. According to court records, one player declined to say whether he was gay or straight but acknowledged being married to a woman. Another answered yes to both gay and heterosexual definitions. A third asked if bisexual was acceptable and was told, “This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.”
Thus did the witchhunt for straights end. The committee declared the three “nongay.”
Declaring that D2 forfeited the game because of its “nongay” players has caused much emotional anguish. Make up is running. Lipstick is smeared. Hankies are wet with tears. Reports the Times, “[t]he plaintiffs — Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ — contend that the hearing was intrusive, a notion disputed by the defense.”
They are seeking to have the team’s second-place finish restored and to recover more than $75,000 each in damages for emotional distress. Through their lawyers, the players declined to be interviewed.
Roger Leishman, chief counsel for the defense, said that he spoke to all but one protest committee member and that each said any player who claimed to be bisexual would have been considered gay. The defense insists that bisexuality never came up. Instead, Mr. Leishman said, the players provided evasive answers to challenge the rule limiting the number of heterosexuals per team.
According to Leishman, the plaintiffs are lying. “Some of the things the plaintiffs have said are just not true,” he told the Times. “They characterize it as a windowless room. It wasn’t. They characterized the questions as intrusive. They weren’t. It’s the Gay Softball World Series. It’s not shocking that someone would ask whether or not you’re gay.”
Presumably, this means the organized gay lobby believes it is permissible to weed homosexuals out of churches and other organizations that expect members to be heterosexuals. And indeed, a lawyer for the Williams Institute, an outfit focused on “sexual orientation” law, says the NAGAAA homosexual softballers have taken a rough road.
“It definitely takes an organization down a rocky path,” WI legal director Jennifer Pizer told the Times. “It can be quite intrusive, awkward at best.”
A month ago, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Seattle said the gay softballers can discriminate for the same reason Boy Scouts can, Courthouse News Service reported. The three plaintiffs, the judge wrote, “have failed to argue that there is a compelling state interest in allowingi hetersexuals to play gay softball.”
Why a heterosexual would want to play “gay softball” is a question for another day, but in any event the judge set a trial date of Aug. 1 to settle another question. There, the Times reports, he will determine whether the NAGAAA discriminated against the three straights. He did rule, Courthouse News Service reported, that NAGAAA “failed to prove it should not be subjected to public-accommodation laws as ‘a distinctly private organization.’”
Wide Definitions: What About Switch-Hitters?
One problem for the homosexual softballers is knowing whom to kick out, given the wide range of “sexual orientations” they claim everyone must accept in the real world. They ponder what to do about bisexual players, or "switch-hitters," as they are sometimes called.
According to the Times, “experts argue that sexual orientation is more complicated than a simple gay-or-straight definition. Experts describe a fuller spectrum of human sexuality, influenced by how a person acts, thinks and self-identifies at a given time. …" The article continues:
The problem with a narrow definition, said Christopher Stoll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which represents the plaintiffs, is how to define “gay.”
“How do you prove if someone is gay or straight?” he said. “One of the most disturbing things about the league’s position in this case is that there’s only one way of being gay, or one view of being gay. The definition did not include bisexual, or transgendered. Our clients break the stereotypes of what gay is supposed to be.”
Other Gay Athletes
Most people probably don’t know gay leagues are quite popular and have been for years. The queer softball league is celebrating its 35th year of batting balls, and gay leagues typically do not discriminate against straights, the Times reported: “Leagues often allow some heterosexual participants, in the spirit of inclusiveness, but still wrestle with rules regarding the limits on heterosexual players.”
The Times found that the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) uses an “honor system to impose its heterosexual limit,” which for its “Gay Bowl” is 20 percent of each roster. The paper did not report whether Boy George or Elton John will provide the entertainment for this year’s Gay Bowl. Lady Gaga is also an obvious option.
Whatever happens with the case against NAGAAA, homosexual leagues are something of a tonic for distressed homosexuals. Some of them simply don’t want non-conformists around, the Times reports.
But not everyone agrees that the rule [against straights] is outdated. Chris Balton, the assistant commissioner of the gay athletic alliance, explained that he came out late in life and that a gay softball league provided support after his partner committed suicide.
“His family didn’t want me to be part of the funeral,” Mr. Balton said. “Those guys got me through that. That’s why I love this organization. That’s what the rule means. If we allow it to be open, it would be just another softball tournament.
The Times did not report whether NGFFL players, like those in the NAGAAA, also wear tutus and other women's accouterments during games.