Why Sports Matter
Gay men need other avenues for building friendships that are not based (at least initially) on sexual compatibility and mutual attraction. So many gay men limit ourselves to building friends through online dating websites and apps, or in environments built around sex, dating, and drinking. Gay sports leagues provide the opportunity to meet other gay guys in the real world, and to build friendships and meaningful relationships over time based on shared real-world experiences. And yes, many of the guys are smoking hot.
The most amazing thing I've observed is the way sports leagues can enrich the lives of LGBTQ people. We've been so damaged by the world of sports that we often come to a gay sports league filled with trepidation and self-doubt. Gay sports leagues like Gotham celebrate difference rather than repressing or judging it. In gay leagues you will find not only competitive, professional athletes who look just like athletes in "straight" leagues but also fabulous ladyboys in short skirts who can finish a mean serve with a high kick. "Fierce" is a word often present on the court. Team names usually include some sort of sexual double entendre or campy humor. "I'd Hit That," "When Harry Set Sally," and "Destiny's Hookers" are some recent team names. In other words, gay leagues combine competitive sports and fabulousness in a way that is nothing short of inspiring.
So although out gays and lesbians in the Olympics may be few, gay sports leagues and tournaments are flourishing, giving gay men and women the opportunity to know the joys of team sports on their own terms. There are dating websites like RealJock.com and content sites like Outsports.com dedicated to the thousands of gay men who play sports. And don't forget the Gay Games, which this year celebrates 32 years since its founding. All of these are a wonderful testament to the amazing power of gay athletes everywhere.
Before the 2012 Olympic Games end, I hope a few more athletes will follow the lead of South African archer Karen Hultzer and come out. And maybe when the next Olympic Games roll around, I'll turn on the TV and see a posse of athletes competing to become the next big gay star, hugging their boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, or wives after winning medals. Maybe by then we'll even see some straight athletes wave to knuckle-biting gay parents in the stands. We will make fun of their trashy mix of patriotic fashion and rainbow rings. We will smile and laugh. And we will all be the better for it.