White House Strategy Plan on AIDS

https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwhitehouse.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fuploads%2FNHAS.pdf

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Trevor (1994)

REPORT: Consequences Of ‘Fiscal Showdown’ Could Be Disastrous For LGBT Americans

 

If Congress fails to act during the lame-duck session, a series of onerous automatic federal spending cuts and tax hikes will go into effect on January 2, 2013. Failure to reach a compromise in this budget battle would be a painful pill to swallow for all Americans. But for LGBT people, failure to reach an agreement on the fiscal showdown would have particularly dire consequences.

If Congress fails to act, automatic across-the-board spending cuts will take effect under a process known as “sequestration.” Today a report released today by the Center for American Progress, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and a coalition of 23 national LGBT organizations highlights how across-the-board cuts under sequestration would reduce key federal programs and services that support the health, wellness, and livelihood of LGBT Americans and their families. For example,

  • Sequestration would hurt LGBT workers. Sequestration would threaten the employment security of LGBT workers (who continue to experience high rates of bias on the job) because federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would have fewer resources to investigate claims of employment discrimination.
  • Sequestration would compromise LGBT health. Cuts under sequestration would compromise the health of LGBT Americans by blocking LGBT seniors’ access to Medicare, reducing programmatic funding to health centers designed to serve the LGBT population, and impeding suicide prevention efforts aimed at helping LGBT Americans.
  • Sequestration would harm LGBT youth. Sequestration would threaten federal agencies with the removal of critical resources used to prevent bullying and school violence against LGBT youth.
  • Sequestration would exacerbate LGBT homelessness and housing discrimination. Across-the-board cuts under sequestration would limit the government’s capacity to address the high rates of homelessness among LGBT youth and to combat housing discrimination against LGBT renters, tenants, and potential homeowners.
  • Sequestration would threaten the basic safety of LGBT Americans. Sequestration would restrict available resources designed to address the disproportionate levels of abuse, harassment, and violent crime committed against LGBT individuals.

While the CAP/Task Force report only touches on how these wholesale cuts impact LGBT Americans, failure to reach a deal on the fiscal showdown also means that tax breaks for lower-income and middle class families will expire. This means most families would face a higher tax burden if Congress fails to act. This would be particularly devastating to LGBT families who on average report lower incomes than families headed by different-sex couples. These families cannot foot a higher tax bill, especially when so many of them are already on tenuous economic footing.

In the remaining days of the 112th Congress, it is imperative that our lawmakers act swiftly to protect LGBT Americans from the severe sequestration consequences to federal programs that both directly and indirectly support them and their families. This means a combination of spending cuts that inflict minimal economic harm on American families along with modest tax increases on the wealthiest two percent of Americans. Only through this combination of cuts and revenue can we put our country back on stable financial footing.

To achieve this, however, congressional Republicans must abandon their quest to hold ordinary citizens hostage in order to protect tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. For all Americans—gay or straight, transgender or not—preventing millionaires and billionaires from paying their fair share at the expense of the middle-class is not in the best interest of the country.

Congress has a little over one month to broker a compromise. For all Americans – including those that are LGBT – the clock is ticking.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/11/20/1224831/report-consequences-of-fiscal-showdown-could-be-disastrous-for-lgbt-americans/

Gay-rights groups push Obama for executive order on discrimination

Gay-rights advocates plan to push President Obama to go big on their agenda in his second term.

Buoyed by the approval of same-sex marriage in several states on Election Day, lobbyists for gay-rights groups plan to prod the president to sign an executive order that would ban discrimination by federal contractors against gay and transgendered people.

The White House shelved the executive order earlier this year, but it remains a top priority for gay-rights groups. They argue that if Obama signs the order it could encourage Capitol Hill to pass broader legislation that would extend a similar ban to employers.

Allison Herwitt, legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, said gay-rights supporters want to see movement from the president soon.

 

“The push is to have them do it sooner instead of later,” Herwitt said. “I do think it helps pave the way for a fully inclusive [Employment Non-Discrimination Act]. … It is the way that the government puts its imprimatur on what’s important and makes a difference in people’s lives. The president would be saying it’s important not to discriminate.”

 

If passed by Congress, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would extend federal protections against discrimination in the workplace to gay and transgendered people. Lobbyists working on the bill admit it has a tough road to passage with Republicans still in control of the House.

Obama has earned praise from gay-rights advocates for repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and for endorsing same-sex marriage. Further, his administration has said expressed support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the past. An executive order could move much faster, though, because it would only require a stroke of the president’s pen.

“I think it’s important for us to move forward and show some momentum that there’s protections for LGBT workers. … This would be huge. You have to understand the enormity of the impact it would have for so many people in our community,” said Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, about Obama signing such an executive order.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act’s main sponsor is Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who will not return next Congress because he is retiring. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) will pick up the mantle and be the main sponsor of the bill next Congress, according to a Polis aide.

Gay-rights groups also plan to lobby for there to be more openly gay officials in the Obama administration.

On the state level, gay-rights groups are aiming to build on victories in Maine, Maryland and Washington, where ballot initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage were approved. In Minnesota, voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

With nine states and the District of Columbia having now legalized same-sex marriage, gay rights advocates believe they can build support in Congress by reminding lawmakers about the views of their constituents.

“Many of their constituents will start to bump up against [the Defense of Marriage Act]. That’s the impact we will use when go back to those offices. That’s different from [Election Day]. They are going to hear it from their constituents now,” said Jo Deutsch, federal director for Freedom to Marry.

The Defense of Marriage Act bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, denying gay couples several protections granted to straight couples. Some courts have ruled the law unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court will decide later this month whether or not to review several cases challenging it.

Same-sex marriage could pop up in other debates next year, including the push for tax reform. Gay-rights lobbyists want parity between how straight couples’ and domestic partners’ health benefits are taxed.

“As Congress hopefully tackles tax reform next year, we are going to try to get our fix as part of the conversation and make it into the final bill,” Herwitt said.

Further, groups like OutServe-SLDN will be pushing the Defense Department to provide the same benefits to all spouses of military service members.

“OutServe-SLDN will be aggressively seeking action from the Pentagon to take steps without further delay to extend benefits and support to gay and lesbian military families under its current legal authority,” said Zeke Stokes, a spokesman for the group.

While election results on Tuesday were seen as a resounding victory for gay rights, there was a downside — several GOP candidates who have been supportive of gay rights were defeated.

Three of the five Republican co-sponsors of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the House will not return to Congress next year. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y) lost their reelection bids, while Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) is retiring.

American Unity PAC, a pro-GOP, pro-gay-rights super-PAC, saw six out of its eight endorsed candidates lose this election cycle after spending more than $2.2 million on online and television ads.

Jeff Cook, a senior adviser to American Unity political action committee, said the group is proud of its campaign spending and is here to stay.

“Over the next two years, American Unity is more committed now more than ever to help our party modernize so it can appeal to the broader cross-section of voters that we need to win elections in competitive districts in the midst of our country’s new demographic reality,” Cook said.

Nevertheless, the election results have given new impetus to lobbyists to push to expand gay rights in Washington.

“It’s so remarkable from the president being reelected and all of these successes in the states, that it really shows that the American people are with us. We are not going back now and we expect that the president and his administration will continue to move us forward,” Nipper said.

 

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/267135-gay-rights-groups-push-obama-for-executive-order-on-discrimination-

Gay ex-NBA player Amaechi weighs in on Bryant, ‘apology’ for slur

John Amaechi, who played professional basketball from 1995 to 2003, including five seasons with three NBA teams, came out as gay to the mainstream after his playing career ended. The 6-10 center-forward wrote a book, Man in the Middle, about being a gay professional athlete. Close friends and some teammates knew of Amaechi’s sexuality during his basketball career. He is now a psychologist working in the USA and Britain.

  • Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

    Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

Amaechi spoke to USA TODAY NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust about Los Angeles Lakersguard Kobe Bryant using an expletive-filled homophobic slur directed at NBA referee Bennie Adams during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA fined Bryant $100,000, and he explained his choice of words as “frustration during the heat of the” nationally televised game.

Amaechi also reacted to the incident earlier this season when two Toronto Raptors teammates were vilified for holding hands as they walked off the court.

Q: What was your first impression when you heard Bryant’s remark?

A: I’m surprised that people are surprised. This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven’t seen anything new put in place (by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There’s no reason for it to somehow get better.

Q: And what do you think of Bryant’s statement of “apology”?

A: I suppose that’s the typical, “I apologize if you’re offended”‘ type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There’s only one contemporary meaning for that.

The problem we have now is because of the way we don’t address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they’re like a woman or worse, that they’re gay.

We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I’ve been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We’ve got to mirror that progress.

Q: Then you’re on board with organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, which didn’t think the penalty was sufficient?

A: I’m not interested in seeing Kobe punished. What I’m interested in is if you’re really sorry, that this is a one-off mistake for you, use the power you have to make a difference. That means a proper apology and doing something with his brand. Good Lord, he’s got the power with one executive decision to get people moving and do something good here. Do something good.

I’ve said this before and I know people think it’s hyperbole, but especially in America, people look at sports stars like their gods. I keep saying every time, “If sports stars are gods it’s time we see a miracle every once in a while.” This is an opportunity for that.

Q: If you were the NBA commissioner, how would you have punished Bryant?

A: There would certainly be a fine. I’d like to know what the response would be if a white and gay player had called Kobe a n——-. My concern is that the penalty axed on that player would be greater than this penalty.

But at the same time, what I would want is to encourage Kobe to use the power he has to really make an apology that means something. Tell black men, men in general in America, that resorting to that sort of language is the lowest of the low and is unacceptable. And it doesn’t make you any more of a man. That’s really the answer. Saying you didn’t mean it is not the answer.

Q: Do you think the remark makes Bryant homophobic?

A: The reason it’s difficult is because of how influential he is. When he talks, not just young people but sports fans in general listen. They mimic. He sets a tone that says, “This is acceptable language when you are frustrated.” It isn’t acceptable language. That’s the larger extent of the damage. That’s like a Glenn Becknon-apology. With a few more words well-chosen he could do some good.

I don’t think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you’re in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don’t have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.

Q: Does this discourage an NBA player who might ponder coming out to his team from doing so?

A: Let’s face it, any gay teammate he has, any gay player playing on a team that he plays against is now, as they were before probably, critically aware that the ultimate insult that someone uses to put someone down is talking about you. That does want to make you take a step back and think again about whether you want to really open yourself up to that extra animosity.

I’m not interested in equality for any kind of warm and fuzzy reason. I’m in psychology now. I’m interested in performance. The fact is, if you’ve got teams of these numbers, it is unlikely that there is not someone around him — whether it be coaching staff, auxiliary staff, support staff, medical staff or a teammate — who is lesbian, gay or bi. When you use language like that you’re pulling your team apart even if it’s just your support staff.

Q: Given so much news media attention being paid to this, is that a sign the climate is changing?

A: There’s certainly more attention on the fact that it shouldn’t be used but is too frequently. But I was watching the video clip of it, and there was no particular outrage from the announcers (Steve KerrReggie MillerKevin Harlan of TNT). They were simply saying, “The cameras should come off his face now.” When somebody says the N-word it’s like the air is sucked out of a room, or an arena.

Q: Did the NBA address gay issues during seminars to help players cope when you played?

A: My whole time in the league, there was never a mention of anything remotely to do with gay people. About the closest it got was my final year in the league (2003). There had been an issue about players and their wives having physical altercations. They wanted to discuss this and how you handle the stress.

It was groundbreaking for me because I sat in this meeting, and for the first time the woman who was giving the seminar talked about partners instead of wives and girlfriends. It suddenly felt like they’re including, through their use of language, people who might not have wives or girlfriends. People who might have male partners.

Q: There was an outrage when Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa of the Raptors walked off the court holding hands.

A: There was just a slew of homophobic language about these guys, on the Internet, all over the place. Sports is still a place where there’s a home for homophobes. The reaction, some of the comments (online) were so awful, and talking about killing them.

Q: You’re a psychologist now?

A: I work in the U.K. and in the U.S. My clients are mostly Fortune 250 companies. I’m what they call an occupational psychologist. I work with improving organizational performance, improve individuals, as opposed to laying people on couches to chat to them.

I have clients on the East Coast mostly. One or two on the West Coast. I spend about a third of the year in New York and Connecticut and the rest of the time I’m around Europe.

Q: Is the NBA any better or worse than other sports leagues?

A: They’re considerably better. I know for a fact because I’ve got a couple of friends in the NFL still, and one of them has dealt with death threats from teammates. It’s a whole different world.

 

Posted 4/13/2011 9:20:38 PM | Updated 4/14/2011 6:29 PM

 

We’ve updated the Conversation Guidelines. Changes include a brief review of the moderation process and an explanation on how to use the “Report Abuse” button. Read more.
Page 2 of 5

 

John Amaechi, who played professional basketball from 1995 to 2003, including five seasons with three NBA teams, came out as gay to the mainstream after his playing career ended. The 6-10 center-forward wrote a book, Man in the Middle, about being a gay professional athlete. Close friends and some teammates knew of Amaechi’s sexuality during his basketball career. He is now a psychologist working in the USA and Britain.

  • Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

    Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

Amaechi spoke to USA TODAY NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust about Los Angeles Lakersguard Kobe Bryant using an expletive-filled homophobic slur directed at NBA referee Bennie Adams during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA fined Bryant $100,000, and he explained his choice of words as “frustration during the heat of the” nationally televised game.

Amaechi also reacted to the incident earlier this season when two Toronto Raptors teammates were vilified for holding hands as they walked off the court.

Q: What was your first impression when you heard Bryant’s remark?

A: I’m surprised that people are surprised. This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven’t seen anything new put in place (by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There’s no reason for it to somehow get better.

Q: And what do you think of Bryant’s statement of “apology”?

A: I suppose that’s the typical, “I apologize if you’re offended”‘ type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There’s only one contemporary meaning for that.

The problem we have now is because of the way we don’t address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they’re like a woman or worse, that they’re gay.

We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I’ve been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We’ve got to mirror that progress.

Q: Then you’re on board with organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, which didn’t think the penalty was sufficient?

A: I’m not interested in seeing Kobe punished. What I’m interested in is if you’re really sorry, that this is a one-off mistake for you, use the power you have to make a difference. That means a proper apology and doing something with his brand. Good Lord, he’s got the power with one executive decision to get people moving and do something good here. Do something good.

I’ve said this before and I know people think it’s hyperbole, but especially in America, people look at sports stars like their gods. I keep saying every time, “If sports stars are gods it’s time we see a miracle every once in a while.” This is an opportunity for that.

Q: If you were the NBA commissioner, how would you have punished Bryant?

A: There would certainly be a fine. I’d like to know what the response would be if a white and gay player had called Kobe a n——-. My concern is that the penalty axed on that player would be greater than this penalty.

But at the same time, what I would want is to encourage Kobe to use the power he has to really make an apology that means something. Tell black men, men in general in America, that resorting to that sort of language is the lowest of the low and is unacceptable. And it doesn’t make you any more of a man. That’s really the answer. Saying you didn’t mean it is not the answer.

Q: Do you think the remark makes Bryant homophobic?

A: The reason it’s difficult is because of how influential he is. When he talks, not just young people but sports fans in general listen. They mimic. He sets a tone that says, “This is acceptable language when you are frustrated.” It isn’t acceptable language. That’s the larger extent of the damage. That’s like a Glenn Becknon-apology. With a few more words well-chosen he could do some good.

I don’t think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you’re in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don’t have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.

Q: Does this discourage an NBA player who might ponder coming out to his team from doing so?

A: Let’s face it, any gay teammate he has, any gay player playing on a team that he plays against is now, as they were before probably, critically aware that the ultimate insult that someone uses to put someone down is talking about you. That does want to make you take a step back and think again about whether you want to really open yourself up to that extra animosity.

I’m not interested in equality for any kind of warm and fuzzy reason. I’m in psychology now. I’m interested in performance. The fact is, if you’ve got teams of these numbers, it is unlikely that there is not someone around him — whether it be coaching staff, auxiliary staff, support staff, medical staff or a teammate — who is lesbian, gay or bi. When you use language like that you’re pulling your team apart even if it’s just your support staff.

Q: Given so much news media attention being paid to this, is that a sign the climate is changing?

A: There’s certainly more attention on the fact that it shouldn’t be used but is too frequently. But I was watching the video clip of it, and there was no particular outrage from the announcers (Steve KerrReggie MillerKevin Harlan of TNT). They were simply saying, “The cameras should come off his face now.” When somebody says the N-word it’s like the air is sucked out of a room, or an arena.

Q: Did the NBA address gay issues during seminars to help players cope when you played?

A: My whole time in the league, there was never a mention of anything remotely to do with gay people. About the closest it got was my final year in the league (2003). There had been an issue about players and their wives having physical altercations. They wanted to discuss this and how you handle the stress.

It was groundbreaking for me because I sat in this meeting, and for the first time the woman who was giving the seminar talked about partners instead of wives and girlfriends. It suddenly felt like they’re including, through their use of language, people who might not have wives or girlfriends. People who might have male partners.

Q: There was an outrage when Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa of the Raptors walked off the court holding hands.

A: There was just a slew of homophobic language about these guys, on the Internet, all over the place. Sports is still a place where there’s a home for homophobes. The reaction, some of the comments (online) were so awful, and talking about killing them.

Q: You’re a psychologist now?

A: I work in the U.K. and in the U.S. My clients are mostly Fortune 250 companies. I’m what they call an occupational psychologist. I work with improving organizational performance, improve individuals, as opposed to laying people on couches to chat to them.

I have clients on the East Coast mostly. One or two on the West Coast. I spend about a third of the year in New York and Connecticut and the rest of the time I’m around Europe.

Q: Is the NBA any better or worse than other sports leagues?

A: They’re considerably better. I know for a fact because I’ve got a couple of friends in the NFL still, and one of them has dealt with death threats from teammates. It’s a whole different world.

 

Posted 4/13/2011 9:20:38 PM | Updated 4/14/2011 6:29 PM

 

We’ve updated the Conversation Guidelines. Changes include a brief review of the moderation process and an explanation on how to use the “Report Abuse” button. Read more.
Page 3 of 5

 

John Amaechi, who played professional basketball from 1995 to 2003, including five seasons with three NBA teams, came out as gay to the mainstream after his playing career ended. The 6-10 center-forward wrote a book, Man in the Middle, about being a gay professional athlete. Close friends and some teammates knew of Amaechi’s sexuality during his basketball career. He is now a psychologist working in the USA and Britain.

  • Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

    Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

Amaechi spoke to USA TODAY NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust about Los Angeles Lakersguard Kobe Bryant using an expletive-filled homophobic slur directed at NBA referee Bennie Adams during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA fined Bryant $100,000, and he explained his choice of words as “frustration during the heat of the” nationally televised game.

Amaechi also reacted to the incident earlier this season when two Toronto Raptors teammates were vilified for holding hands as they walked off the court.

Q: What was your first impression when you heard Bryant’s remark?

A: I’m surprised that people are surprised. This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven’t seen anything new put in place (by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There’s no reason for it to somehow get better.

Q: And what do you think of Bryant’s statement of “apology”?

A: I suppose that’s the typical, “I apologize if you’re offended”‘ type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There’s only one contemporary meaning for that.

The problem we have now is because of the way we don’t address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they’re like a woman or worse, that they’re gay.

We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I’ve been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We’ve got to mirror that progress.

Q: Then you’re on board with organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, which didn’t think the penalty was sufficient?

A: I’m not interested in seeing Kobe punished. What I’m interested in is if you’re really sorry, that this is a one-off mistake for you, use the power you have to make a difference. That means a proper apology and doing something with his brand. Good Lord, he’s got the power with one executive decision to get people moving and do something good here. Do something good.

I’ve said this before and I know people think it’s hyperbole, but especially in America, people look at sports stars like their gods. I keep saying every time, “If sports stars are gods it’s time we see a miracle every once in a while.” This is an opportunity for that.

Q: If you were the NBA commissioner, how would you have punished Bryant?

A: There would certainly be a fine. I’d like to know what the response would be if a white and gay player had called Kobe a n——-. My concern is that the penalty axed on that player would be greater than this penalty.

But at the same time, what I would want is to encourage Kobe to use the power he has to really make an apology that means something. Tell black men, men in general in America, that resorting to that sort of language is the lowest of the low and is unacceptable. And it doesn’t make you any more of a man. That’s really the answer. Saying you didn’t mean it is not the answer.

Q: Do you think the remark makes Bryant homophobic?

A: The reason it’s difficult is because of how influential he is. When he talks, not just young people but sports fans in general listen. They mimic. He sets a tone that says, “This is acceptable language when you are frustrated.” It isn’t acceptable language. That’s the larger extent of the damage. That’s like a Glenn Becknon-apology. With a few more words well-chosen he could do some good.

I don’t think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you’re in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don’t have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.

Q: Does this discourage an NBA player who might ponder coming out to his team from doing so?

A: Let’s face it, any gay teammate he has, any gay player playing on a team that he plays against is now, as they were before probably, critically aware that the ultimate insult that someone uses to put someone down is talking about you. That does want to make you take a step back and think again about whether you want to really open yourself up to that extra animosity.

I’m not interested in equality for any kind of warm and fuzzy reason. I’m in psychology now. I’m interested in performance. The fact is, if you’ve got teams of these numbers, it is unlikely that there is not someone around him — whether it be coaching staff, auxiliary staff, support staff, medical staff or a teammate — who is lesbian, gay or bi. When you use language like that you’re pulling your team apart even if it’s just your support staff.

Q: Given so much news media attention being paid to this, is that a sign the climate is changing?

A: There’s certainly more attention on the fact that it shouldn’t be used but is too frequently. But I was watching the video clip of it, and there was no particular outrage from the announcers (Steve KerrReggie MillerKevin Harlan of TNT). They were simply saying, “The cameras should come off his face now.” When somebody says the N-word it’s like the air is sucked out of a room, or an arena.

Q: Did the NBA address gay issues during seminars to help players cope when you played?

A: My whole time in the league, there was never a mention of anything remotely to do with gay people. About the closest it got was my final year in the league (2003). There had been an issue about players and their wives having physical altercations. They wanted to discuss this and how you handle the stress.

It was groundbreaking for me because I sat in this meeting, and for the first time the woman who was giving the seminar talked about partners instead of wives and girlfriends. It suddenly felt like they’re including, through their use of language, people who might not have wives or girlfriends. People who might have male partners.

Q: There was an outrage when Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa of the Raptors walked off the court holding hands.

A: There was just a slew of homophobic language about these guys, on the Internet, all over the place. Sports is still a place where there’s a home for homophobes. The reaction, some of the comments (online) were so awful, and talking about killing them.

Q: You’re a psychologist now?

A: I work in the U.K. and in the U.S. My clients are mostly Fortune 250 companies. I’m what they call an occupational psychologist. I work with improving organizational performance, improve individuals, as opposed to laying people on couches to chat to them.

I have clients on the East Coast mostly. One or two on the West Coast. I spend about a third of the year in New York and Connecticut and the rest of the time I’m around Europe.

Q: Is the NBA any better or worse than other sports leagues?

A: They’re considerably better. I know for a fact because I’ve got a couple of friends in the NFL still, and one of them has dealt with death threats from teammates. It’s a whole different world.

 

Posted 4/13/2011 9:20:38 PM | Updated 4/14/2011 6:29 PM

 

We’ve updated the Conversation Guidelines. Changes include a brief review of the moderation process and an explanation on how to use the “Report Abuse” button. Read more.
Page 4 of 5

 

John Amaechi, who played professional basketball from 1995 to 2003, including five seasons with three NBA teams, came out as gay to the mainstream after his playing career ended. The 6-10 center-forward wrote a book, Man in the Middle, about being a gay professional athlete. Close friends and some teammates knew of Amaechi’s sexuality during his basketball career. He is now a psychologist working in the USA and Britain.

  • Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

    Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

Amaechi spoke to USA TODAY NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust about Los Angeles Lakersguard Kobe Bryant using an expletive-filled homophobic slur directed at NBA referee Bennie Adams during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA fined Bryant $100,000, and he explained his choice of words as “frustration during the heat of the” nationally televised game.

Amaechi also reacted to the incident earlier this season when two Toronto Raptors teammates were vilified for holding hands as they walked off the court.

Q: What was your first impression when you heard Bryant’s remark?

A: I’m surprised that people are surprised. This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven’t seen anything new put in place (by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There’s no reason for it to somehow get better.

Q: And what do you think of Bryant’s statement of “apology”?

A: I suppose that’s the typical, “I apologize if you’re offended”‘ type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There’s only one contemporary meaning for that.

The problem we have now is because of the way we don’t address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they’re like a woman or worse, that they’re gay.

We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I’ve been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We’ve got to mirror that progress.

Q: Then you’re on board with organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, which didn’t think the penalty was sufficient?

A: I’m not interested in seeing Kobe punished. What I’m interested in is if you’re really sorry, that this is a one-off mistake for you, use the power you have to make a difference. That means a proper apology and doing something with his brand. Good Lord, he’s got the power with one executive decision to get people moving and do something good here. Do something good.

I’ve said this before and I know people think it’s hyperbole, but especially in America, people look at sports stars like their gods. I keep saying every time, “If sports stars are gods it’s time we see a miracle every once in a while.” This is an opportunity for that.

Q: If you were the NBA commissioner, how would you have punished Bryant?

A: There would certainly be a fine. I’d like to know what the response would be if a white and gay player had called Kobe a n——-. My concern is that the penalty axed on that player would be greater than this penalty.

But at the same time, what I would want is to encourage Kobe to use the power he has to really make an apology that means something. Tell black men, men in general in America, that resorting to that sort of language is the lowest of the low and is unacceptable. And it doesn’t make you any more of a man. That’s really the answer. Saying you didn’t mean it is not the answer.

Q: Do you think the remark makes Bryant homophobic?

A: The reason it’s difficult is because of how influential he is. When he talks, not just young people but sports fans in general listen. They mimic. He sets a tone that says, “This is acceptable language when you are frustrated.” It isn’t acceptable language. That’s the larger extent of the damage. That’s like a Glenn Becknon-apology. With a few more words well-chosen he could do some good.

I don’t think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you’re in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don’t have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.

Q: Does this discourage an NBA player who might ponder coming out to his team from doing so?

A: Let’s face it, any gay teammate he has, any gay player playing on a team that he plays against is now, as they were before probably, critically aware that the ultimate insult that someone uses to put someone down is talking about you. That does want to make you take a step back and think again about whether you want to really open yourself up to that extra animosity.

I’m not interested in equality for any kind of warm and fuzzy reason. I’m in psychology now. I’m interested in performance. The fact is, if you’ve got teams of these numbers, it is unlikely that there is not someone around him — whether it be coaching staff, auxiliary staff, support staff, medical staff or a teammate — who is lesbian, gay or bi. When you use language like that you’re pulling your team apart even if it’s just your support staff.

Q: Given so much news media attention being paid to this, is that a sign the climate is changing?

A: There’s certainly more attention on the fact that it shouldn’t be used but is too frequently. But I was watching the video clip of it, and there was no particular outrage from the announcers (Steve KerrReggie MillerKevin Harlan of TNT). They were simply saying, “The cameras should come off his face now.” When somebody says the N-word it’s like the air is sucked out of a room, or an arena.

Q: Did the NBA address gay issues during seminars to help players cope when you played?

A: My whole time in the league, there was never a mention of anything remotely to do with gay people. About the closest it got was my final year in the league (2003). There had been an issue about players and their wives having physical altercations. They wanted to discuss this and how you handle the stress.

It was groundbreaking for me because I sat in this meeting, and for the first time the woman who was giving the seminar talked about partners instead of wives and girlfriends. It suddenly felt like they’re including, through their use of language, people who might not have wives or girlfriends. People who might have male partners.

Q: There was an outrage when Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa of the Raptors walked off the court holding hands.

A: There was just a slew of homophobic language about these guys, on the Internet, all over the place. Sports is still a place where there’s a home for homophobes. The reaction, some of the comments (online) were so awful, and talking about killing them.

Q: You’re a psychologist now?

A: I work in the U.K. and in the U.S. My clients are mostly Fortune 250 companies. I’m what they call an occupational psychologist. I work with improving organizational performance, improve individuals, as opposed to laying people on couches to chat to them.

I have clients on the East Coast mostly. One or two on the West Coast. I spend about a third of the year in New York and Connecticut and the rest of the time I’m around Europe.

Q: Is the NBA any better or worse than other sports leagues?

A: They’re considerably better. I know for a fact because I’ve got a couple of friends in the NFL still, and one of them has dealt with death threats from teammates. It’s a whole different world.

 

Posted 4/13/2011 9:20:38 PM | Updated 4/14/2011 6:29 PM

 

We’ve updated the Conversation Guidelines. Changes include a brief review of the moderation process and an explanation on how to use the “Report Abuse” button. Read more.
Page 5 of 5

 

John Amaechi, who played professional basketball from 1995 to 2003, including five seasons with three NBA teams, came out as gay to the mainstream after his playing career ended. The 6-10 center-forward wrote a book, Man in the Middle, about being a gay professional athlete. Close friends and some teammates knew of Amaechi’s sexuality during his basketball career. He is now a psychologist working in the USA and Britain.

  • Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

    Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

By Chris Goodney, Bloomberg News

Former NBA center-forward John Amaechi, who came out as gay after his career, is now a psychologist based in the USA and Britain.

Amaechi spoke to USA TODAY NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust about Los Angeles Lakersguard Kobe Bryant using an expletive-filled homophobic slur directed at NBA referee Bennie Adams during Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA fined Bryant $100,000, and he explained his choice of words as “frustration during the heat of the” nationally televised game.

Amaechi also reacted to the incident earlier this season when two Toronto Raptors teammates were vilified for holding hands as they walked off the court.

Q: What was your first impression when you heard Bryant’s remark?

A: I’m surprised that people are surprised. This is common language when I played. It was an everyday word that I heard. I haven’t seen anything new put in place (by the NBA) to tackle homophobia. There’s no reason for it to somehow get better.

Q: And what do you think of Bryant’s statement of “apology”?

A: I suppose that’s the typical, “I apologize if you’re offended”‘ type of comment. I doubt very much when he said that that he thought Bennie was a pile of sticks. There’s only one contemporary meaning for that.

The problem we have now is because of the way we don’t address homophobia, the ultimate insult to a man is to tell them either they’re like a woman or worse, that they’re gay.

We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. … I can tell you that I’ve been called a f——- fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We’ve got to mirror that progress.

Q: Then you’re on board with organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, which didn’t think the penalty was sufficient?

A: I’m not interested in seeing Kobe punished. What I’m interested in is if you’re really sorry, that this is a one-off mistake for you, use the power you have to make a difference. That means a proper apology and doing something with his brand. Good Lord, he’s got the power with one executive decision to get people moving and do something good here. Do something good.

I’ve said this before and I know people think it’s hyperbole, but especially in America, people look at sports stars like their gods. I keep saying every time, “If sports stars are gods it’s time we see a miracle every once in a while.” This is an opportunity for that.

Q: If you were the NBA commissioner, how would you have punished Bryant?

A: There would certainly be a fine. I’d like to know what the response would be if a white and gay player had called Kobe a n——-. My concern is that the penalty axed on that player would be greater than this penalty.

But at the same time, what I would want is to encourage Kobe to use the power he has to really make an apology that means something. Tell black men, men in general in America, that resorting to that sort of language is the lowest of the low and is unacceptable. And it doesn’t make you any more of a man. That’s really the answer. Saying you didn’t mean it is not the answer.

Q: Do you think the remark makes Bryant homophobic?

A: The reason it’s difficult is because of how influential he is. When he talks, not just young people but sports fans in general listen. They mimic. He sets a tone that says, “This is acceptable language when you are frustrated.” It isn’t acceptable language. That’s the larger extent of the damage. That’s like a Glenn Becknon-apology. With a few more words well-chosen he could do some good.

I don’t think he is any more homophobic than the average person, or most certainly your average person in sports. When you’re in the spotlight, when a camera is trained on your face on a daily basis, you don’t have the luxury of losing control. When you do, I like to see people be a little more contrite than that.

Q: Does this discourage an NBA player who might ponder coming out to his team from doing so?

A: Let’s face it, any gay teammate he has, any gay player playing on a team that he plays against is now, as they were before probably, critically aware that the ultimate insult that someone uses to put someone down is talking about you. That does want to make you take a step back and think again about whether you want to really open yourself up to that extra animosity.

I’m not interested in equality for any kind of warm and fuzzy reason. I’m in psychology now. I’m interested in performance. The fact is, if you’ve got teams of these numbers, it is unlikely that there is not someone around him — whether it be coaching staff, auxiliary staff, support staff, medical staff or a teammate — who is lesbian, gay or bi. When you use language like that you’re pulling your team apart even if it’s just your support staff.

Q: Given so much news media attention being paid to this, is that a sign the climate is changing?

A: There’s certainly more attention on the fact that it shouldn’t be used but is too frequently. But I was watching the video clip of it, and there was no particular outrage from the announcers (Steve KerrReggie MillerKevin Harlan of TNT). They were simply saying, “The cameras should come off his face now.” When somebody says the N-word it’s like the air is sucked out of a room, or an arena.

Q: Did the NBA address gay issues during seminars to help players cope when you played?

A: My whole time in the league, there was never a mention of anything remotely to do with gay people. About the closest it got was my final year in the league (2003). There had been an issue about players and their wives having physical altercations. They wanted to discuss this and how you handle the stress.

It was groundbreaking for me because I sat in this meeting, and for the first time the woman who was giving the seminar talked about partners instead of wives and girlfriends. It suddenly felt like they’re including, through their use of language, people who might not have wives or girlfriends. People who might have male partners.

Q: There was an outrage when Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa of the Raptors walked off the court holding hands.

A: There was just a slew of homophobic language about these guys, on the Internet, all over the place. Sports is still a place where there’s a home for homophobes. The reaction, some of the comments (online) were so awful, and talking about killing them.

Q: You’re a psychologist now?

A: I work in the U.K. and in the U.S. My clients are mostly Fortune 250 companies. I’m what they call an occupational psychologist. I work with improving organizational performance, improve individuals, as opposed to laying people on couches to chat to them.

I have clients on the East Coast mostly. One or two on the West Coast. I spend about a third of the year in New York and Connecticut and the rest of the time I’m around Europe.

Q: Is the NBA any better or worse than other sports leagues?

A: They’re considerably better. I know for a fact because I’ve got a couple of friends in the NFL still, and one of them has dealt with death threats from teammates. It’s a whole different world.

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2011-04-13-johnamaechi_N.htm

A Gay Athlete in the World’s Most Macho Sport

It is the wee hours of the morning of October 21, and the featherweight Orlando Cruz (19-2-1) has just defeated Jorge Pazos (20-4) by unanimous decision. For those in the press box at Florida’s Kissimmee Civic Center, however, Cruz might as well be 1-0. Most of the reporters there—from places like Der SpiegelDeutschlandradio, and half a dozen Latin American outlets—did not care about Cruz and his 18 wins before this fight.

On October 3, Cruz, a 31-year-old southpaw from Puerto Rico, became the first male boxer to come out as gay while still actively fighting. Cruz spent the next 18 days besieged by media. The gay man in the world’s most macho sport, Cruz sat for over 50 interviews and declined many more—a publicity tour that left his trainers worried.

“I kept thinking, this is not a good time, maybe some other time. Maybe when we had two months,” says Cruz’s manager. “But he said he wanted to do it. So forget Orlando Cruz the boxer. You are a human being. If that’s what we have to do right now, that’s what we have to do.”

His manager may have had a point. When the fight begins, Cruz’s normal nimble-footedness sometimes lags into a wobbly sluggishness—exhaustion, perhaps, from the media frenzy. Cruz normally exhibits a Puerto Rican boxer’s agile, evasive footwork. When he’s under pressure, he eludes his opponent with a bent-legged glide. It looks like a Groucho Marx walk, as though Cruz is so gifted at dodging a steady onslaught like Pazos’ that he almost doesn’t need to take it seriously.

Yet, in the first round, Cruz almost completely loses his balance on a sidestep, recovering just in time. Twice more in early rounds, he wobbles without having taken a direct punch. Each time, his legs, for just a moment, betray him.

The day before the fight, as he struggled to make weight, Cruz answered questions in monosyllables, with a thousand-yard stare. After the fight, sitting behind a conference table, sunglasses on and beaming, he admits that the interviews and the weight loss affected his balance and mobility.

“With everything that’s going through my life, I have no excuse. It did affect me doing lots of interviews, going here and going there,” he says. “It takes a lot of time for me, so I can’t focus on my fight.”

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FOR YEARS, THE media has eagerly anticipated a gay male athlete, from a major sport, coming out of the closet while still actively competing. But for all that potent excitement, it doesn’t seem as if anyone prepared for it. The press following Cruz divides neatly into two camps: the sports writers talking about a boxer who is now openly gay, and the profile writers for whom boxing offers only an impediment to the big social ramifications. Both spoke past each other. Before the post-fight press conference started, profile writers for the foreign press seem stunned that we have to wait as doctors give medical checkups to the winners and losers after the match—as if the losers don’t deserve to keep us waiting, though they likely merit far more attention.

No one on either side seems particularly prepared to address the material advantages and disadvantages Cruz’s athletic career presents to a gay man.

A gay man on a basketball, baseball or football team must not only worry about the homophobia of fans and opponents but also his own teammates. His compatriots don’t stop to consider their inherent homophobia in presuming that no one in the locker room could or should be gay, because no one has been before. Before he can even think about changing society’s minds, the gay team athlete has to overcome accusations of implicit betrayal and persuade those who are ostensibly his brothers.

Orlando Cruz has no such problems. The virtue of being a fighter is the opportunity to stand in a ring and be faster, smarter and stronger than your opponent, on your own terms, independent of the performance of others. Whatever he is, it is something he proves against someone else, even if by means no more elegant than beating the holy hell out of him.

At the same time, the style that individuates Cruz, that makes him a potential headliner and icon, is something now ineluctably passed through the lens of sexuality.

One month ago, no one would have described Cruz’s plays to the crowd as anything other than flamboyant, psychological showmanship. In the first round, after rapid head fakes get him out from Pazos’ powerful jabs, he walks toward one side of the audience and shimmies his shoulders back and forth, like a member of The Sharks about to snap his fingers and move up the alley in unison with his boys. In round two, Cruz celebrates another evasion by wagging his head as if to say, “Naughty, naughty.” In round three, he shrugs his shoulder at Pazos so deeply that he looks as if he is trying to dip an invisible dancer. Then, in the fifth round, after Pazos pins him in the corner, Cruz snakes outside his reach and, instead of making for open territory mid-ring, slips an arm around Pazos’ side and presses up against his back. Cruz’s Puerto Rican fans in the audience go berserk and taunt Pazos’ Mexican fans.

For Cruz, in-ring theatrics now come with a new series of questions. Good fighters always look for a psychological edge, so those gestures and moves naturally seem like part of getting into an opponent’s head. But now, too, all of them can seem, well, gay. And while Cruz himself has every right to mine his identity to get an edge on a fighter, the question of what the audience rapturously cheers is a different matter. Is it awesome that Orlando Cruz tries to throw an opponent off his game by proudly being Orlando Cruz? Or is part of the electricity of his performance generated by a charge of disgust running through a crowd that still sees him as something dangerous?

After the fight, Cruz sounds thrilled about his reception by the audience.

“I was very happy. They gave me a lot from them, and they respect me,” he says. “That’s what I want, for them to see me as an athlete and a boxer and as a man in every sense of the word. I just want people to respect me, to keep getting wins and be a world champion for Puerto Rico.”

But his verdict feels a tad optimistic. Professional boxing is intensely nationalistic, with fans who, like all good intense fans, overlook the shortcomings of their own countrymen and highlight the shameless perfidy of their enemies. In Kissimmee, the arena is split roughly 60/40 between Puerto Ricans rooting for Cruz and Mexicans rooting for Pazos. During the fight, a group of four heavyset Mexican fans jeer him for several rounds in high-pitched sissy voices, prompting bursts of laughter all along the Mexican side and cross-talk with angry Puerto Rican fans. Cruz wins the fight to his own fans’ delight, but afterward no one has the courage to ask him if it may be that Puerto Rican fans’ nationalism trumped whatever homophobia they might otherwise have felt.

In an interview in the Guardian days before, Cruz acknowledged the still violent attitude toward homosexuals he encounters at home. “I am proud to be Puerto Rican, just like I am proud to be a gay man,” he said. “But I was sad and angry a long time because there are two doors to death over this one issue. There is suicidal death—when a gay man cannot stand being unaccepted and takes his own life. And there is homophobic murder.”

In the lead-up to the fight, boxing message boards filled up for days with the kind of offhandedly vile homophobia that has made the word “faggot” a default internet pronoun. There were also supportive tweets from dozens of countries—including unlikely places like Afghanistan—and congratulations from Cruz’s Olympic teammates, including superstar boxer Miguel Cotto. In the post-fight press conference, Pazos waves away any concern that he fought and lost to a gay man. “I fought an Olympian,” he says. “I fought Orlando Cruz.”

Three hours before, though, it doesn’t matter how fraternal Pazos will feel in that incongruous joint space after a fight, where two men with marked and swollen faces pretend that haven’t spent a significant portion of their last two hours raining violence on one another. Three hours before, all that matters is that Cruz doesn’t have to say a word. He enters that pre-fight mental space where questions and reason and doubt gradually wash out under the hum of animal intensity.

Strictly speaking, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) does not allow much pre-fight interaction between boxers and the media, but a Telemundo producer sneaks me back into Cruz’s locker room to look and to under no circumstances speak.

ESPN—which evidently goes anywhere, the WBO be damned—is setting up an interview chair on the far left side, behind a bank of Nautilus exercise machines. Cruz sits in the far-right corner, his back to everything. His focus and discipline are such that he does not seem to notice that two more people have entered the room. A trainer tapes up Cruz’s left hand. An immensely tall white man in a blue suit, with a bad tie and a rumpled Oxford with a color that looks like “off-the-rack sweat stain” stands behind the trainer, peering over the taping-up with a vulture-like watchfulness.

The tape on Cruz’s hand swells up above the knuckles by what looks like the width of a bratwurst, as one of Cruz’s team, a thin man in a Yankee’s cap turned sideways, sits staring slackjawed at the taping process, engrossed in its minutiae. Or maybe he’s just tired, too.

Meanwhile, Cruz nods his head almost imperceptibly to Spanish-language club music emanating from a crummy little boombox perched on a rack of barbells. When the fight is over, and Cruz has won, the media circus will resume, and he will answer questions about whether making weight made him have trouble feeling his legs; whether the crowd was with him; why he kept resetting his feet after combos and never quite put away Pazos, despite ample opportunities; and, of course, whether he fought harder for gay men everywhere.

But for the moment, in the locker room, there is nothing else. In this moment, Orlando Cruz is lucky, because Orlando Cruz is alone. For the next few minutes, and for 12 rounds after them, he has only one raw thing to focus on, and every question he can ask about himself is something his body will answer.

http://www.tnr.com/article/109167/gay-athlete-in-the-worlds-most-macho-sport#

Sexual Orientation Revealed by Body Type and Motion, Study Suggests

An individual’s body motion and body type can offer subtle cues about their sexual orientation, but casual observers seem better able to read those cues in gay men than in lesbians, according to a new study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“We already know that men and women are built differently and walk differently from each other and that casual observers use this information as clues in making a range of social judgments,” said lead author Kerri Johnson, UCLA assistant professor of communication studies. “Now we’ve found that casual observers can use gait and body shape to judge whether a stranger is gay or straight with a small but perceptible amount of accuracy.”

Johnson and colleagues at New York University and Texas A&M measured the hips, waists and shoulders of eight male and eight female volunteers, half of whom were gay and half straight. The volunteers then walked on a treadmill for two minutes as a three-dimensional motion-capture system similar to those used by the movie industry to create animated figures from living models made measurements of the their motions, allowing researchers to track the precise amount of shoulder swagger and hip sway in their gaits.

Based on these measurements, the researchers determined that the gay subjects tended to have more gender-incongruent body types than their straight counterparts (hourglass figures for men, tubular bodies for women) and body motions (hip-swaying for men, shoulder-swaggering for women) than their straight counterparts.

In addition, 112 undergraduate observers were shown videos of the backsides of the volunteers as they walked at various speeds on the treadmill. The observers were able to determine the volunteers’ sexual orientation with an overall rate of accuracy that exceeded chance, even though they could not see the volunteers’ faces or the details of their clothing. Interestingly, the casual observers were much more accurate in judging the orientation of males than females; they correctly categorized the sexual orientation of men with more than 60 percent accuracy, but their categorization of women did not exceeded chance.

The findings build on recent research that shows that casual observers can often correctly identify sexual orientation with very limited information. A 1999 Harvard study, for example, found that just by looking at the photographs of seated strangers, college undergraduates were able to judge sexual orientation accurately 55 percent of the time.

“Studies like ours are raising questions about the value of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” Johnson said. “If casual observers can determine sexual orientation with minimal information, then the value in concealing this information certainly appears questionable. Given that we all appear to be able to deduce this information to some degree with just a glance, more comprehensive policies may be required to protect gays against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.”

The findings also are part of mounting evidence suggesting that sexual orientation may actually be what social scientists call a “master status category,” or a defining characteristic that observers cannot help but notice and which has been scientifically shown to color all subsequent social dealings with others.

“Once you know a person’s sexual orientation, the fact has consequences for all subsequent interactions, and our findings suggest that this category of information can be deduced from subtle clues in body movement,” Johnson said.

Source: UCLA

 

http://phys.org/news108047183.html