mailing list and keep up on the latest news!
LGBT athletes making an impact, on and off the field
Racine, Wisc.--Dale Scott is a 29-year veteran umpire for Major League Baseball, having worked three World Series, six league championships, three All-Star games and 10 division series in his career.
He is also gay, as he quietly announced in a profile in the October issue of Referee magazine, the first official in major league sports in the United States to do so.
In the article, he mentions his husband, Michael Rausch, and the article includes a photograph of the couple, breaking new ground in professional sports.
While it was news to the general public, according to Scott’s later interview with Outsports.com, it was not news to Major League Baseball, since Rausch is on his MLB-supplied insurance policy and has his own league identification card.
He and Rausch have been together for 28 years.
“There’s never been a coming out statement. You work with an organization for a long time and people figure it out,” he told Outsports. “I’ve never had any pushback from other umpires. If anything else, it’s been the opposite. It was in the late ’90s when, unprovoked by me, some individual umpires were talking to me and said, ‘I know who you are and it doesn’t bother me and I’d walk on the field with you any time.’ It was them saying it’s all good.”
British porn gets more boring
London--Online porn shot in the United Kingdom faces new restrictions followed by the passage of legislation on December 2.
The list of banned activity was already in effect for pornography shot for DVD release, and now applies to that produced for online viewing. It is not gay-specific, although a good portion of the list can be found in many gay-oriented pornographic films.
The list includes adults role-playing as minors, simulated rape, “any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent,” “the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated,” “penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm, sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game.”
Other banned factors include spanking, caning, “aggressive” whipping, watersports, female ejaculation, strangulation, fisting and facesitting.
“These Guidelines will be applied to the same standard regardless of sexual orientation of the activity portrayed,” the government’s guidelines says.
The “penetration by object associated with violence” is interesting, since a statue of a penis was used as a weapon in A Clockwork Orange, begging the question of whether a fake phallus can be used for penetrative purposes.
School must pay transgender teen $75,000
Orono, Maine--Nicole Maines’ suit against the Orono School Department resulted in a final decision by the court ordering the school to pay $75,000 and allow transgender girls to use the women’s bathrooms, which she was denied in middle and high school.
Maines, 17, now attends private school.
Nicole and her twin brother Jonas are seniors now, and the battle against the school district has been going on for seven years. They first filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission.
The commission ruled in Nicole’s favor, and her parents Wayne and Kelly, along with the commission, sued the district in 2009.
Two years ago, a superior court judge ruled against Maines, but the Supreme Judicial Court reversed that ruling earlier this year.
Collins retires from NBA
New York City--Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player and the first out player for one of the “big four” sports in the United States, announced on November 19 that he was ending his 13-year career.
He came out in April 2013, when he was a free agent, and was then signed to the Brooklyn Nets, who used him for 22 games.
He said that he decided to retire last summer, after his body told him that it might be time to finish up. The 35-year old said in Sports Illustrated, “It’s a young man’s game and Father Time is undefeated. Got another one.”
His career came full circle, since he started and finished playing for the Nets, although in different states.
He was a first-round draft pick in the 2001 draft, and spent his career with the Nets and five other teams, averaging 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 points per game.
In his final go-round with the Nets, he wore jersey 98, in honor of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was murdered in 1998. In his third game this past season, he met Shepard’s parents while in Denver.
FDA will not lift blood donation ban
Washington, D.C.--The Food and Drug Administration’s Blood Products Advisory Panel met on December 2 to discuss the 1983 regulation banning men who have sex with men from donating blood.
The 17-member panel rejected a Department of Health and Human Services recommendation to lift the ban for MSMs who have not had sex with another man in at least a year, despite the fact that HIV tests have become far more accurate and can detect the virus much faster now.
When the ban was first passed, little was known of the disease, and tests took weeks and would not register the virus until six months after infection.
The HHS panel voted 16-2 in favor of lifting the ban for abstinent men, despite modern tests being able to detect the virus within weeks of infection. The FDA panel, however, rejected even voting on the proposal.
The panel demanded further research before the ban could be lifted, leading to ire among LGBT advocates.
Australia has a policy similar to what was proposed, and such policies are supported by the Red Cross and the American Medical Association.
According to The Hill, panel member Corey Dubin claimed, “There’s too many questions in science that aren’t answerable. With the science so far, it’s a leap of faith.”
Dubin is the founder of the Committee of Ten Thousand, an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization primarily comprised of “persons with hemophilia who contracted HIV/AIDS from tainted blood products.”