Not gay enough - softball players sue
All Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ wanted to do was to win the championship game at the Gay Softball World Series for their amateur San Francisco team.
Instead, they were marched one by one into a conference room at the tournament in suburban Seattle and asked about their "private sexual attractions and desires," and their team was stripped of its second-place finish after the men were determined to be "non-gay," they said in a lawsuit accusing a national gay sports organization of discrimination.
The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, pits the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a San Francisco group backing the men, against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, which prides itself on barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.
At issue is whether the gay sports alliance violated Washington state's public accommodations laws by enforcing a rule limiting to two the number of heterosexuals who can play on a team.
Apilado, Charles and Russ were members of D2, a team that was part of the San Francisco Gay Softball League. The squad made it to the championship game at the August 2008 tournament in Kent, Wash.
But another team, the Atlanta Mudcats, which had lost to D2 in a semifinal game, complained that the San Francisco team had too many straights.
D2 ultimately lost the championship to a team from Los Angeles. Afterward, Apilado, Charles and Russ were called separately into a conference room in front of 25 people for a hearing to determine whether they were heterosexual or gay, the suit said.
They were asked "very intrusive, sexual questions," including what their sexual interests and preferences were, Suzanne Thomas, a Seattle attorney for the plaintiffs, said Wednesday.
Charles, who was D2's manager, asked whether he could say he was bisexual and was told, "This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series," the suit said.
According to Charles' Facebook profile, he is married to a woman.
In a statement, Charles said, "When you play softball, you never expect for anyone to corner you and ask you personal questions about who you are and what you do. It was emotional for me as a coach to go in there and not only get grilled, but watch my team be put in this situation."
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
So does this ruling imply that if you call your team the "North American Heterosexual Amateur Athletic Alliance" you can limit the number of gay men on the team? Or more pointedly can you name it "North American White Amateur Athletic Alliance" and exclude non-whites? A very strange thing is discrimination as interpreted by the courts.