Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yunel Escobar incident

Well, unless you have been living in a cave, you are all likely well aware of the incident last week that occured regarding Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays. This guy had the gaul to publish a homophobic slur on his eye shadow while playing a baseball game.

While the world has come a long way over the past 20 years with regards to accepting gay rights, and gaining the social norm that it is politically incorrect to promote or publish homophobia, sadly, the sporting world still has its issues. Some of the transphobic challenges in the sporting world have been well documented here on this blog, thru my very own personal experiences. 

I find it unbelievable that in 2012, in North America, in Toronto Canada of all places, supposedly one of the most diverse and accepting cities in the world, that we'd see something like this happen on such a grand stage.

Interestingly enough, the day after this story broke, I found myself having a coffee with nationally-recognized sports analyst, Renee Paquette, of The Score, in Toronto. We chatted about this incident and about homophobia and transphobia in sports, in general.

It was great to be reassured that not only the Score, but pretty much every major sports media outlet in the country, was expressing shock, disbelieve, and disgust at this guy. Sadly, the blue jays and the baseball players union weren't taking this so seriously.  The idiot gave a press conference where he claimed to appologize - but it seemed very insincere. The team and league agreed to only suspendid him for three games. Equally as bad, this guy's teammates stood by and allowed him to get away with doing this. What ever happened to team leaders putting their peers in their place? 

As a trans and lesbian identified person and athlete and sports fan, the Blue Jays and the league of baseball have made it clear that they don't take issues like this seriously enough. It's a message to all gay baseball players that they will risk facing insult and humiliation if they come out.

Furthermore, it's a wake up call to me that I need to be as visible as possible to the sporting community. I may no longer be a serious athlete, but my legacy will live on forever - first formally sanctioned transsexual marathon runner and swimmer in world history - plus 2 boston marathons. Not too bad!  I will get into greater detail about my meeting with Renee in a latter blog post, but I will say now that it is nice that I have been able to get myself on the radar of her and others, in this quest for visibility and acceptance as a trans and lesbian athlete.

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