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The MLS rainbow just got even bigger, thanks to the FC Dallas soccer team

During the 2018 season, 17 of Major League Soccer’s 23 teams held Pride Nights as a show of support for their LGBTQ fanbases and their respective communities.

And with the 2019 season underway, there comes the happy news that you can add one more club to that list as FC Dallas just announced it will be holding its first-ever Pride Night on Saturday, June 1.

The evening’s match against the Seattle Sounders is officially being billed as “Soccer for All Night” and is considered part of MLS’s league-wide campaign of the same name. To coincide with the pride theme, all FC Dallas players will appear during the ceremonial pregame procession wearing what the team website describes as “pride training tops.”

The procession is the most visible moment for players before the match begins and tying that tradition in with pride sends a message of visibility for FC Dallas’s LGBTQ supporters.

As of this moment, the design for the pride tops has not been revealed. But FC Dallas does currently sell men’s and women’s pride shirts in its official team store and they reveal a basic truth that wasn’t apparent until now: longhorn steers and rainbow colors go together as well as Neil Patrick Harris and shirtlessness. The “Bevo goes to the Troye concert” look rules.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Like this but it knows all the lyrics to “Bloom.”

While this is the first officially designated Pride Night in FC Dallas history, the club’s fans had taken matters into their own hands in previous years, displaying Texas gay pride flags throughout a designated match. Such gestures undoubtedly helped FC Dallas realize that fans were ready to accept a Pride Night held by the team itself.

Soccer for All Night also takes place during the Dallas Pride festival and is one of several noteworthy events happening throughout Big D that weekend. The festival culminates in the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade through the historic Fair Park grounds on Sunday, June 2.

And FC Dallas is not the only DFW Metroplex team to show their support for the LGBTQ community during the annual celebration. The Dallas Mavericks traditionally sponsor a float during the parade with their mascot Champ rocking a rainbow mane and tail as if it was just announced that this week’s Drag Race theme was “pantomime horses.”

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images The time has come to lip sync for your life to “All My Exes Live in Texas.”

The Mavericks, incidentally, just held their first Pride Celebration this past March 26 while the Dallas Stars hosted the annual You Can Play Night inclusivity promotion on February 19. While Texas is stereotypically viewed as one of the most socially conservative states in the nation, three Dallas-area teams scheduling Pride Nights is officially an encouraging trend.

While not all teams are on board yet (Hi, Texas Rangers! You, too, Houston Astros!), every successful pride celebration is also a demonstration that it’s time for Texas teams to consider the LGBTQ community an important part of their fanbases. And with each successive Pride Night, it helps put pressure on the hold-outs to get on board the inclusion train.

FC Dallas is doing its part to let the Dallas-Fort Worth community know that they’re valued. Hopefully, this is the start of Soccer for All Night becoming a Dallas Pride tradition.

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Olympian Nick Symmonds weighed in on the Caster Semenya case and basically threw intersex athletes under the bus

Olympic sprinter and renowned LGBTQ ally, who protested Russia’s anti-gay laws, by dedicating his silver medal to gay fans, has surprised many declaring Semenya should not be able to run against women.

Semenya, who was assigned female at birth, raised female, and competed her entire life in women’s competitions, is black, she’s queer, and she’s fast as hell. South Africa’s track federation announced it will appeal the decision barring Olympic Gold Medalist Caster Semenya from running unless she undergoes medical interventions to lower her natural levels of testosterone.

In a 2014 interview with Outsports, Nick Symmonds explained why he supports gay rights and the importance of out gay role models in sports.

“For me, it’s not that I’m so pro-gay marriage. I’m more pro-equality in the eyes of the government. I would be fine if the government said that gay people cannot marry, but in that case they have to say that heterosexuals can’t marry either. I don’t care how they write the law, it just needs to be equal.”

However, in a case saturated by intersectional issues, Symmonds’ narrow view of equality undercuts the rights of intersex athletes and subjects them to injustices that are far beyond black and white. Though he offers a plethora of prequalification, he delivers a painfully obsolete rationale.

“Either we’re unfair to the 49 percent of people born 46 XX female or were unfair to the 1.7 percent of people born intersex. It hurts me to say this, but it seems only reasonable that if we have to be unfair to one group, we be unfair to the smaller group of individuals.”

We find several gaping holes in Symmonds’ argument.

Where’s the research?

First, there is not enough research on 46 XX born females competing in Olympic sports to provide a reliable percentage. The rules by which Caster Semenya is being classified as “intersex” are based on a chromosomal test that, according to current regulations, are not required of female athletes without suspicion and, for male athletes, are not required at all.

Thus far, four other black women have been penalized following the IAAF ruling—two of whom followed behind Semenya in the 2016 Olympic 800-meter race. Silver medalist Francine Ninyinsoba from Burundi and bronze medalist Margaret Wambui from Kenya cannot compete unless they lower their testosterone levels. The Kenyan team dropped Maximilla Imali, who holds the Kenyan 400-meter record, and Evangeline Makena, deciding their test results constituted a “risk” of disqualification after Semenya’s appeal was rejected by the CAS. In “The Powers of Testosterone: Obscuring Race and Regional Bias in the Regulation of Women Athletes,” Stanford bioethicist Katrina Karkazis and Columbia sociomedical scientist Rebecca Jordan-Young discuss the racialized judgments about sex atypicality and how non-white female athletes who are judged upon the white femininity standard are disproportionately targeted for sex verification.

It is likely that many winners of Olympic medals and holders of world records in the women’s division have had intersex conditions, but many females who are economically advantaged may “pass” by conforming to Eurocentric standards of beauty.

Julian Finney Nick Symmonds shows off his silver medal in the 800m
It’s not so simple

Second, Symmonds overgeneralizes the IAAF’s rule as if it applies to all intersex individuals, but it does not. The regulation requires women athletes with a specific form of “disorders of sex development,” or DSD, in which they have XY chromosomes but still develop as female and are partially sensitive to testosterone, to chemically lower their natural level of testosterone, and only if they are competing in a small range of events from the 400-meters to the mile.

This rule excludes both women with XX chromosomes who have other conditions that already raise their testosterone, as well as women who have XY chromosomes but are insensitive to testosterone. Symmonds unequivocally states that no one with XY chromosomes, including transgender athletes, should be allowed to compete in the women’s competition.

The Unfairness Fallacy

Third, Symmonds’ application of “unfairness” is simply not fair. Either the “49 percent born 46 XX female” run with intersex athletes and face the risk of losing, or they still get to run and intersex athletes lose their eligibility. The latter imposes disastrous consequences for intersex athletes: a ban from women’s competitions, forfeiture of their livelihood, public humiliation, and loss of their athletic identity.

From pretextual faulty research on the advantages of testosterone to the unequal application of sex verification testing to substantiate those claims, the flaws in Symmonds’ rationale are compounded by a narrow perspective from the privileges he experiences as a white cis male. Male athletes are not subject to these invasive sex verification tests because no threshold exists to regulate their natural levels of testosterone. While female bodies are judged in comparison to the male, elevated levels of testosterone in women may present what we classify as “masculine” features, whereas hypermasculinity in men is celebrated as the epitome of athletic prowess.

The “nude parade”

The IAAF and the International Olympic Committee are unprecedented in their efforts to police gender boundaries in determining who counts as a woman for the purpose of sports. In 1966, sports officials implemented what became known as the “nude parade:” A mandatory genital check of every woman competing at international games. Before a panel of doctors, she pulled her underpants down while, in more closer cases of inspection, women laid on their backs and pulled their knees to their chest.

Undoubtedly, this invasive testing prompted complaints, so the IAAF and the IOC responded in the late ‘60s with a new “gender verification” strategy — a chromosome test.

Screengrab via Twitter Maria Patiño

However, there are incredible layers of classification problems and nuances that cannot be defined by chromosomes alone.

Take Spanish hurdler Maria Patiño, for example. Though she was never a target of “suspicion,” she was banned from participating in the 1988 Olympics when medical examiners discovered a Y chromosome during the mandatory testing. On the outside, she had a visibly feminine physique with breasts and round hips, but because of her androgen insensitivity syndrome, her body reacted solely to the estrogen she produced. The IAAF agreed her body had no advantage and reinstated her three years later, but by then her dreams for the Olympics were dashed.

Continuing the desire to preserve ‘fair’ competition, regulations shifted from mandatory to an arbitrary three-stage diagnosis when “suspicions” about a female’s sex arose. The first stage is an initial clinical examination which requires taking a medical history and a physical examination. To evaluate the effects of high testosterone, the IAAF protocol involves measuring and palpating the clitoris, vagina and labia, as well as evaluating breast size and pubic hair scored on an illustrated five-grade scale.

IAAF Regulation, Appendix 2: Medical Guidelines for the Conduct of Level 1 and Level 2 examinations

Caster Semenya’s body has been scrutinized by fellow athletes and press, pointing to her muscular physique, her deep voice, her flexed-biceps pose, her unshaved armpits, the long shorts she ran in instead of bikini shorts, in addition to her extraordinary speed. A story on Time magazine’s website was headlined, “Could This Women’s World Champ Be a Man?

In these races, race matters

While Symmonds contends he is empathetic towards Caster Semenya, he is ignoring both the invasive process his female counterparts endure during sex verification, and the disparate impact it has on black and brown athletes.

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand underwent a chromosome analysis, an MRI and a gynecological exam in 2014 that she found “mortifying”. Chand, who also has hyperandrogenism, was suspended by the IAAF and underwent media scrutiny over her body. “I felt naked. I am a human being, but I felt I was an animal.” She challenged the IAAF in 2015 and, unlike Semenya, won her case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This week, Chand came out as gay.

These women have been stripped of their dignity, but male athletes like Symmonds, whose naked bodies are celebrated, can feel comfortable in their own skin. When Semenya, Chand, and other athletes are stripped down to their naked skin, it isn’t to celebrate their bodies or gain clothing sponsorships. These instances occurred under scrutiny among medical examiners to prove whether they are “woman” enough to compete.

Prior to signing on with Brooks, Symmonds posted a nude photo of himself in 2014, writing: “For the first time in 7 years I am without an apparel sponsor. Thus I am forced to workout in the nude until a company comes to the rescue.”

Stephen Wayda In 2014, Nick Symmonds posted this nude photo of himself, writing: “For the first time in 7 years I am without an apparel sponsor. Thus I am forced to workout in the nude until a company comes to the rescue.”

It is unlikely that male athletes like Symmonds are “forced to be nude” because these regulations are not equally applied to the sexes that the IAAF prides itself in separating. Along with inspecting women’s breasts, genitals, body hair patterns, and internal reproductive organs, IAAF examiners interviewed the women regarding their gender identity, behavior, and sexuality.

If Symmonds finds no fault in the IAAF’s inquisition into the sex lives of these women, his membership with the NOH8 Campaign and status as an ally to the LGBTQ community should be revoked.

Adam Bouska Nick Symmonds in the NoH8 campaign

Symmonds is using his platform and allyship to publicly endorse regulations that have received international criticism for violating the human rights of women such as Semenya. It takes great responsibility to be an LGBTQ ally, including the due diligence required to accurately present the facts that led to this injustice and those that continue to perpetuate it.

What the future holds

The IAAF regulations are not only discriminatory at face on the basis of sex but also in application.

With the new regulation, the 2016 Olympic women’s 800-meter gold, silver, and bronze medalists will be barred from future competition unless they lower their natural occurring levels of testosterone. That means nearly half of the women from Rio’s 800-meter race may be excluded from Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic competition.

Poland’s Joanna Jozwik, who finished fifth in the race behind Canadian Melissa Bishop, cast doubt on the three black medalists above her, chiding “I’m glad I’m the first European, the second white.” The racial politics shaping the testosterone regulation deepen the physical and psychological invasions women continue to suffer.

Even if we interpreted the evidence to mean that testosterone gives athletes the advantage, the question still remains as to whether that biological difference is unfair.

Let’s not forget that elite sports is all about the genetic outliers, the freakish athletic abilities and natural talent that fans awe over as if they are supernatural — such as Olympic cross country skier Eero Mantyranta, whose body had a rare genetic mutation creating more blood cells and an oxygen carrying capacity up to 50 percent more than average. This genetic advantage is huge, but is it unfair?

Though Semenya’s testosterone levels may be an anomaly, her case is not. Women competing in distance running were once thought to be a violation of natural law, too. Nineteenth century physicians claimed that a woman was not physiologically capable of running mile after mile; that she wouldn’t be able to bear children; or that her uterus would collapse.

Since women have broken the barricades holding them out of sports, organizations continue to redefine the rules. The box that the IAAF has drawn around women is illusory. Now, when women step inside, they will look out to see many other women who naturally cannot fit the misconstruction. Most importantly, women may recognize they are the only athletes in a box.

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Dutee Chand’s announcement of her 5-year relationship with another woman makes her India’s first out athlete

Dutee Chand, already known as India’s fastest woman and as someone who fought and won the right to compete despite high testosterone levels, broke another barrier this weekend: she came out as lesbian, telling reporters she’s in love with another woman.

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images Silver medallist Dutee Chand of India poses on the podium during the awards ceremony for the Athletics Women’s 100m final at the Asian Games on August 26, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“I have found someone who is my soulmate,” she told The Sunday Express. Chand, 23, is the first Indian sports star to acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship.

Her heart belongs to a girl from her hometown, she said, someone she’s known for five years. For now, her identity remains a closely-held secret, because she doesn’t want her soulmate to become “the center of undue attention.”

The Indian Supreme Court’s historic decision to decriminalize gay sex in 2018 encouraged her to speak publicly about her sexuality, she said.

“I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person’s choice.

“I have always believed that everyone should have the freedom to love. There is no greater emotion than love and it should not be denied. The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want. It is a personal decision, which should be respected. I will continue to strive to win medals for India at international meets.”

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF Dutee Chand of India (right) competed against Anaszt¡zia Nguyen of Hungary and Jamile Samuel of the Netherlands in the Women’s 60 Metres Heats at the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Oregon Convention Center on March 19, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

The sprinter is the 100m record holder and won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games.

Chand said she’s putting off any formal plans with her girlfriend since she is currently in training.

“Currently, my focus is on the World Championships and the Olympic Games but in the future I would like to settle down with her,” said Chand.

India does not recognize same-sex marriage but symbolic civil unions are not prohibited by law.

Unfortunately, the BBC reported that some members of Chand’s family do not accept her decision to come out, and her sister has threatened to expel her from the family. And more.

”My eldest sister feels that my partner is interested in my property. She has told me that she will send me to jail for having this relationship,” Chand told PTI news agency. Again, while marriage is outlawed, being gay or being in a same-sex relationship is legal in India.

Her sister ought to know, Chand is not one to go down without a fight.

In 2015, Dutee successfully fought the International Association of Athletics Federations’ rules on hyperandrogenism, which banned her from competing with women athletes in track and field, according to their testosterone levels. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in her favor.

Those IAAF rules led India’s Commonwealth Games team to drop her in 2014, after officials claimed her testosterone levels were too high. But the IAAF withdrew its rules on the 100m and 200m last year, which allowed her to run, and win, unlike Caster Semenya, the South African woman and double-Olympian who is banned from competing in the 800m unless she either suppresses her natural testosterone or competes as a man. Semenya plans to appeal.

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The head of the Chick-fil-A Foundation justified a million dollar donation to the FCA as “a much higher calling than any political or cultural war that’s being waged.”

Chick-fil-A, the nation’s favorite purveyors of fast food chicken and faith-based discrimination, is back in the news again. The company’s charitable arm has been continually criticized for its donations to organizations classified as anti-LGBTQ, specifically the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), in the years since the family-owned company declared it would no longer donate to political groups.

In an interview with Business Insider, Chick-fil-A Foundation executive director Rodney Bullard offered justification for the continued financial support of such groups.

“The calling for us is to ensure that we are relevant and impactful in the community, and that we’re helping children and that we’re helping them to be everything that they can be. For us, that’s a much higher calling than any political or cultural war that’s being waged. This is really about an authentic problem that is on the ground, that is present and ever present in the lives of many children who can’t help themselves. Regardless of where you may find yourself on any particular issue, this is our collective problem and that we all can be a part of the solution. ... We all should join together and be a part of the solution”

The defense comes after analysis of the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s 2017 tax returns revealed donations to the FCA totaling $1,653,416. According to Bullard, those funds go toward youth summer sports camps co-hosted by the foundation and the FCA that aim to help inner-city Atlanta youth without targeting a specific religious group.

But the continued association with an organization that is rooted in a specific religious belief to the point that it literally has Christian in its name undercuts that inclusive mission.

Especially considering there are large youth sports organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, that promote LGBTQ inclusion while servicing the same inner-city communities. There are even specfic LGBTQ youth sports initiatives, like You Can Play and LGBT SportSafe, that aim to cultivate inclusion and equality through all levels of sport.

YouTube

The problems run much deeper than the name, though. The FCA requires leaders, including student leaders, to agree to a “sexual purity policy” that forbids them from participating in “heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act.” It further defines such acts as not “[constituting] an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.”

The organization’s statement of faith also includes a clause defining marriage as “exclusively the union of one man and one woman,” citing that the Christian God established this “as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society.”

That’s some super inclusive language, let me tell you.

Carrie Kurlander, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of external communications, stressed that camp participants aren’t required to sign the purity policy, but come on now: surrounding youth, some of which identify as LGBTQ, with authority figures that have signed it, could cause adverse effects.

This is particularly highlighted when applied to the already frustrating state of LGBTQ youth sports participation as compared to their cishet teammates. In a 2018 report, the Human Rights Campaign revealed that only 24 percent of LGBTQ youth participate in sports compared to 68 percent of all youth.

.@HRC Foundation & @UConn’s groundbreaking #LGBTQYouthReport details the stark reality for #LGBTQ student-athletes: participants in youth sports continue to fear discrimination and overwhelmingly choose to remain in the closet. https://t.co/ahbuRNKjZs

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 29, 2018

That number dips to 20 percent in states that still have anti-LGBTQ sport participation policies. The gap continues to grow when focusing on gender identity. 14 percent of non-binary youth, 14 percent of transgender boys and 12 percent of transgender girls participate in youth sports.

Overall, 84 percent of Americans witnessed or experienced anti-LGBTQ attitudes in sports. Dumping $1.6 million dollars into an organization that operates from a base that refuses to identify LGBTQ people as valid isn’t going to bring that number down. And it sure isn’t going to help Chick-fil-A tint their charitable practices as inclusive.

But the foundation seems OK with that insincerity. “we actually had a conversation two years ago about this very thing and said, ‘Alright, we’re probably going to get dinged. But the impact is real and authentic.’ And so, there was a judgment call,” said Kurlander.

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From Israel Folau to Robbie Rogers, here’s our look back on the heroes and the goats of the past week

Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.

We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at this week’s winners and losers.

Winners: The children of Robbie Rogers and his husband Greg Berlanti

Screengrab via Instagram @robbierogers

Love makes a family, and there was never a more perfect proof of that than the birth of Robbie Rogers and Greg Berlanti’s second child, Mia Barbara Rogers-Berlanti. What a cutie!

Rogers, of course, was the first out gay man to play in U.S. men’s major pro sports, now retired from soccer, and Berlanti is the award-winning writer, producer and Hollywood wunderkind behind many of our favorite shows on TV, including “Supergirl,” “The Arrow” and “The Flash.”

The proud papas shared adorable snaps of their small wonder on Instagram for all the world to welcome her to the family alongside big brother Caleb. It wasn’t so long ago that surrogate births were controversial, let alone children being raised by two gay dads. We hope that Mia and Caleb grow up in a world where that’s just another way of parenting.

Loser: Israel Folau and every homophobe who plays sports

Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images This was the last time Israel Folau played for Australia, representing the Waratahs during the round 8 Super Rugby match against the Blues at Eden Park on April 6, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Israel Folau’s name will not go down in history as one of Australia’s greatest rugby players, as it should have. Instead he will forever be known as the superstar who lost it all, because he ignored the second commandment given by his most revered religious icon: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The devout Christian had been warned to lay off the anti-gay social media posts in 2018, and for almost a year, he did. But come Easter season 2019, Folau shared a “warning” on Instagram to all “sinners,” including gays, that they would burn in hell lest they repent.

Turns out, hell is losing your $4 million contract you just signed for four years, Mr. Folau.

What Rugby Australia did was send a message to homophobes in every sport: you can believe whatever you want to believe, hold opinions of any sort, and express your faith in any manner you wish, so long as you do not trample on the rights and beliefs of others.

That’s why he lost his contract; not because he is a fervent opponent of marriage equality and same-sex love, which is sad but is his right to be, but because he spread hate on a platform shared by millions, including his 362K followers. We are not among them.

Winners: Sports heroes “Being Out”

Joanna Lohman via Facebook

Joanna Lohman and Nick Lee are the first two out and proud athletes profiled in our new series, “Being Out.”

Gay soccer player Joanna Lohman is now retired, but her advocacy and passion for equality are stronger than ever.

Gay tennis player Nick Lee came out a year ago at Vassar College. In his Q&A with Outsports, he stressed the need for LGBTQ visibility in sports and told us why his twin sister so inspires him.

We’re proud to bring you these stories of athletes Being Out, and there are many more to come! Bookmark our series page and visit whenever you’re looking for inspiration.

Nick Lee

Loser: Vladimir Putin

It’s hard for us to not admire a world leader who plays hockey, rides horses bare-chested and makes other world leaders look like he’s their puppetmaster. But as megalomaniacal dictators go, Russian President Vladimir Putin was due for a comeuppance. And he got it.

It came in the form of a televised faceplant following an exhibition hockey game on May 10, in which Putin scored five goals and led his team to a 12-7 victory.

The leader who signed an “anti-gay propaganda” law in 2013, who did nothing to stop the persecution, torture and deaths of “suspected gay” men in Chechnya, who campaigned in 2018 by sending the message that voters should reject any leader who supports LGBTQ rights, was waving to cheering fans during a victory lap on the ice. He was so busy looking into the eyes of his adoring comrades that he didn’t see the rug some простофиля placed on the ice, tripped, and landed flat on his face.

Given Putin’s track record, it’s likely the carpet culprit won’t be making that same mistake again. For what he did, we think he’s a winner, but maybe we should make him the real “loser” in this story.

Winner: Jessica Andrade by KO

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Rose Namajunas is slammed to the mat in a pile driver move by Jessica Andrade during UFC 237 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 11, 2019.

Brazil’s Jessica Andrade stunned the crowd at the UFC 237 main event last weekend by slamming defending champ Rose Namajunas of the USA to the mat with a pile driver move that was painful to watch (click here if you dare) but 100% legal.

The gay UFC champ picked up Namajunas and knocked her unconscious, taking home the strawweight title.

Losers: Homophobes in the England and France

Jerome Ellerby

An inclusive rugby club in the UK responded to anti-gay bullying on social media directed at its players. Hateful messages appeared on the Hull Roundheads’ page after the team shared photos of its new uniforms, or “kits” as they’re called over there.

“Sadly the derogatory comments on the Hull Live feed only prove that there is a long way to go in this city,” said the chairman of the Roundheads, which accepts gay, bisexual and transgender men.

On a positive note, the haters were countered by many messages of support from the club’s fans.

A long drive south and through the Chunnel, homophobic soccer fans have been put on notice. A new initiative to combat anti-gay chants and slurs in France’s soccer arenas launched on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia.

The French soccer league is instituting a multi-point plan to retaliate against fans found making anti-gay comments or participating in homophobic chants.

Winners: Gay and bi twin brothers Chris and Michael Malpartida of Kentucky

Chris (left) and Michael Malpartida

Chris Malpartida is gay. His twin brother Michael is bi. They both play college soccer and tennis for Berea College in Kentucky. They came out this week in Outsports.

“Since coming out, we have been a lot happier, our mental health has improved tremendously and we have learned to love ourselves,” Chris wrote. “I hope that sharing my coming out story along with that of Michael’s would be empowering for Latino (and non-Latino) gay athletes. But it doesn’t mean the journey was easy.”

Read their coming out story by clicking here.

Winner: Andy Brennan comes out down under

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Andy Brennan #12 of the Newcastle Jets

“Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. So… carry on!” gay soccer player Andy Brennan says.

The pro soccer player for Green Gully came out as gay, a first for the sport outside the U.S.

Brennan joins Collin Martin of USL Championship club Hartford Athletic, on loan from Minnesota United of the MLS, as the only out male pro soccer players.

That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message us via any social media, or just plain email us at outsports@gmail.com Thanks!

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Rugby Australia terminated Israel Folau’s four-year $4-million contract Friday for telling gays and other “sinners” they will go to hell

Devout Christian Israel Folau has responded to the decision by Rugby Australia to terminate his four-year, $4 million contract with a post of a bible verse on Instagram — the same social media platform where his “warning” to “sinners” — including gays — got him in trouble.

And around the world, homophobes who play sports should be paying close attention.

As Yahoo! Sports reported, Rugby Australia announced the decision to cut ties with Folau Friday following the 10-day review by a three-member independent panel, which had already found that Folau’s post, telling gays they’d go to hell if they didn’t “repent,” violated the RA’s professional players’ code of conduct.

This wasn’t his first offense. Almost a year ago, Folau got off with a warning to not repeat homophobic posts. But then he went back to sharing his extremist religious view.

RA no doubt wanted to keep Folau on its roster, with the Rugby World Cup in Japan just a few months away. In announcing the outcome of the exhaustive review, the national organization sent a clear message: the players’ personal beliefs will be respected, but that is not permission to spread hate: “Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that,” said Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle. “But when we are talking about inclusiveness in our game, we’re talking about respecting differences as well.”

There is still one last avenue for Folau to challenge the decision. He has 72 hours to appeal and force RA into proceeding with a second code of conduct hearing.

The only clue to his reaction at the moment is this post, citing Matthew 6:33, declaring that “all things shall be added to you” if you seek first “the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on May 17, 2019 at 1:21am PDT

Maybe he should instead look up Matthew 22, verse “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Castle called this a sad day for Australian rugby, but said that Folau had left the governing body with no alternative than to seek termination of his contract. Below is her statement to reporters.

Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle told reporters that Rugby Australia have terminated Israel Folau’s contract.

“We want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game.

“Rugby Australia did not choose to be in this situation, but Rugby Australia’s position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue this course of action.

“This has been an extremely challenging period for Rugby and this issue has created an unwanted distraction in an important year for the sport and for the Wallabies team.

“But our clear message to all Rugby fans today is that we need to stand by our values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork.

“I’ve communicated directly with the players to make it clear that Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that.

“But when we are talking about inclusiveness in our game, we’re talking about respecting differences as well.

“When we say rugby is a game for all, we mean it. People need to feel safe and welcomed in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion, or sexuality.

“We thank the tribunal panel for their decision and we respect the time, consideration and expertise the panel members brought to this process.

“Representing Australia and all Australians on the Rugby field is a privilege.

“Selection is dependent upon a player’s ability to contribute to the Wallabies, and the game of Rugby itself, in a positive and consistent manner both on and off the field.

“When players sign a contract with the Wallabies, they sign up to the values of the team and the sport.”

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The Washington Mystics forward talks to HBO about why she passed up opportunities worth millions of dollars, in the name of love for her disabled big sister

If ever there was an athlete who could win the celebrity endorsement for love, it’s Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne.

The former “Chicago Skyscraper” came out three years ago. Delle Donne is happily married to Amanda Clifton, and the couple was named The Knot’s first same-sex “Dream Couple.”

When we saw their wedding photos, we couldn’t get over the size of that wedding cake! Appropriately super tall, given that one of the brides is 6’5”.

Rebecca Yale Photography

Delle Donne and Clifton were graced by a bevy of bridesmaids, none more meaningful than Delle Donne’s big sister, Lizzie, seen here holding her “little” sister’s hand.

Rebecca Yale Photography

Holding hands, along with hugging, and a peck on the cheek, are among the only ways Delle Donne and her sister have ever been able to communicate. Lizzie is blind, deaf, autistic and has cerebral palsy.

“Lizzie doesn’t know that I play basketball,” Delle Donne told correspondent Andrea Kremer of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. “She doesn’t know that I’m 6’5”. She just knows that I am one of her people, and a really important person in her life. And that’s all I want to be.”

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Lizzie (left) and Elena Delle Donne

Their relationship is not what you might think, in terms of caregiver and receiver, Delle Donne said.

“I think people sometimes get it wrong. I’m not taking care of her. She’s taking care of me.”

In the exclusive report titled, “Love & Basketball,” Delle Donne spoke with Kremer about being gay, being tall, and her relationship with her elder sister, and how it’s always been what grounds her. Throughout her life and many challenges, Delle Donne has consistently chosen the path that kept her close to Lizzie.

And when she strayed from that path, it was never long before she course corrected, back to Lizzie.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

The five time all-star has chosen to spend every off-season in Delaware with her Lizzie and her family, instead of playing overseas, where she could earn a seven-figure salary.

“Basketball was going to take me away from home, and I didn’t love basketball as much as I loved my family.”

The report on HBO, produced by Beret Remak, details her brief UConn Huskies career, all 48 hours of it, how she led the University of Delaware to a Sweet 16 appearance, why she left the Chicago Sky after four years, and how she knew Clifton was the woman she wanted to marry. All because of Lizzie.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Amanda Clifton (left), Lizzie and Elena Delle Donne

“Love & Basketball” debuts on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday, May 21.

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Former pro athletes will discuss the current debate about gay, bi and queer men in pro sports.

Since its inception, Outsports has been at the center of the media’s conversation about male pro athletes coming out of the closet, be it publicly or privately. Next month that conversation will again be addressed at Outsports Pride.

A panel of pro athletes will engage in a conversation about the current state of men’s pro sports, talk about their own experiences in pro sports, examine what various leagues, teams and organizations are doing to help, and share their thoughts on whether today’s debates about gay and bi pro athletes are even valid.

The discussion will be part of the Outsports Pride Summit, being held at UCLA’s historic Pauley Pavilion, June 7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The participants on the panel will include:

  • Steve Mason, ESPN Radio host and the panel’s moderator
  • Andrew Goldstein, former Major League Lacrosse player who in 2005 became the first publicly out active male pro athlete in the U.S.
  • Chris Kluwe, longtime ally to the LGBTQ community and former Minnesota Vikings punter
  • Ryan O’Callaghan, former New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs tackle who came out publicly in 2017
  • Fred Rosser, former WWE professional wrestler

The panel will be preceded by a conversation with gay former NFL player David Kopay, as well as a brief reading by O’Callaghan from his forthcoming book, My Life On The Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me and Ended Up Saving My Life.

You can join us for this conversation and more by registering for Outsports Pride. The weekend features speakers, panels, social events, and even a field day at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are the lead sponsor for the weekend. Other weekend partners include the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, GO! Athletes, Equality Coaching Alliance and Homefield Alliance. Inquiries about Outsports Pride can be directed to Cyd Zeigler at cydzeiglerjr@gmail.com.

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Tennis player Nick Lee stresses the need for LGBTQ visibility in sports and tells why his twin sister so inspires him.

Being Out is a new feature that looks at LGBTQ people in sports who have come out since Outsports first published in 1999. Today: Tennis player Nick Lee

Nick Lee came out publicly as an openly gay Vassar College tennis player a year ago and has never looked back.

In addition to his terrific coming out story he wrote for Outsports, Lee wrote about how athletes struggle with mental illness and profiled the Vassar College Queer, Trans and Non-Binary (QTNB) Student-Athlete Working Group, which has more than 60 members.

I am also indebted to him with helping me conceive of this Being Out feature, as a way of recognizing that we can learn a great deal from those in sports who have already come out.

Here are Lee’s answers to our six Being Out questions:

What do you love the most about tennis?

What gives me the most joy in tennis is seeing how drilling and conditioning contributes to how I compete, as I know that all the hard work that I have put in has made me a better competitor.

The sport means so much more to me than just the wins and losses. I’m in my final days as a member of the Vassar men’s tennis team, as I will be graduating this month. Right now is a bittersweet time for me as a college athlete, as I strive to enjoy every moment I have left with my teammates on and off the court.

Over these last four years, I have had the opportunity to develop meaningful and lasting friendships with my teammates. Being a member of a team means trying to truly put team first. My teammates are my close friends, and we support one another, on and off the court. I enjoy being a part of the growing process of my team, where we work together day in and day out to help one another improve as tennis players and as people.

What does it personally mean to you to be LGBTQ+ in sports?

Being gay in sports means taking full advantage of the opportunity and privilege that I have to be out in athletics in an accepting environment.

While my teammates, coaches, and athletics department fully support me and embrace me for who I am, I know that sports have historically disenfranchised LGBTQ+ individuals, myself included. This disenfranchisement is still a reality in the U.S and many other parts of the world.

I feel that I owe it to those who came before me — who have laid the foundation for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports in the face of hate and intolerance — to use my privilege to increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ people in sports and advocate for those who continue to be rejected and silenced.

What advice would you give to LGBTQ+ kids in athletics or who want to participate in athletics, the kind of advice the younger you wish you had heard?

No one has the right to take away your passion for a sport and your place in athletics.

You deserve to be in sports. Your sexual orientation and gender identity do not need to be left in the shadows as an athlete. Be proud to be an LGBTQ+ athlete. Even in the face of hate and intolerance, there are so many people rooting you on.

The journey may not be easy, so continue to remind yourself of why you love your sport and why you compete. No one has the right to take away your passion for a sport and your place in athletics. Again, you deserve to be in sports, just as you are.

Who is someone that inspires you?

My twin sister is someone who inspires me. She has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She has been underestimated from a very young age, but she continues to excel by remaining true to herself and pursuing what she is passionate about.

She is an incredible writer and singer and is also possibly the kindest and most empathetic person I know. She is a huge advocate for those with ASD, and has found new confidence in herself through sharing her story and being proud of herself for who she is. She is someone that I can look up to when I try to be more selfless and use my privilege to advocate for others.

What are you passionate/excited about right now?

I am excited to have the opportunity to teach English in Madrid next year. I studied abroad in Madrid the fall of my junior year and I fell in love with the city, so I am really looking forward to returning.

What is your most memorable sports moment?

A sports moment that sticks out to me is when I played two doubles matches in the Grandstand at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center — where the U.S Open is hosted — for the New York Public High School State Championships.

My partner and I were extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play there, as the majority of the other players competed on the outside courts. The atmosphere was incredible. And it was hilarious to see about 20 people in the stands (mostly family) in a stadium that could seat over 8,000 people!

Nick Lee is a senior at Vassar College majoring in Psychology and Hispanic Studies, and is a member of the Vassar men’s tennis team. He is also a member of Vassar’s Queer, Trans, and Non-Binary (QTNB) Student-Athlete Working Group. He was born and raised in New York. After teaching abroad in Madrid, he aspires to remain in sports as a sports psychologist and continue playing tennis competitively. He can be reached by email at Nilee@vassar.edu, on Instagram @nicklee.aka.licknee, and on Facebook as Nicholas Lee.

If you are out in sports in any capacity as openly LGBTQ and want to be featured in Being Out, drop Jim an email (kandreeky@gmail.com).

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Good times never seemed so good, so good, so good, so good for the Boston Red Sox.

With four World Series victories since 2004, Red Sox fans are quite familiar with the concept of pride in their favorite team. And next month, there will be another reason for Boston’s LGBTQ fanbase and their allies to be proud.

The Sox are hosting the seventh annual Pride Night at Fenway Park on Tuesday, June 11.

Before that evening’s contest, the Sox will present a pregame Pride Party on Fenway’s Right Field Roof Deck with ticket proceeds benefiting the Boston Pride organization. Tickets sell for $32 and $34, and are available here.

Additionally, the Red Sox are promising “a special group” will be on hand to sing the national anthem before the game. During last year’s Pride Night, that duty was handled by Boston Gay Men’s Chorus.

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images The Pride flag flies above Fenway Park during the 2018 Pride Night, the last year the Red Sox won the World Series. We’re just saying...

In conjunction with this special event, Boston Pride is raffling off the opportunity to throw out a first pitch on the same Fenway Park mound trod by an endless roster of baseball legends from Babe Ruth to Pedro Martínez.

The raffle tickets cost $100, and in addition to the first pitch opportunity, the winner receives four tickets to watch the game from the comfort of Fenway’s State Street Pavilion, as well as dinner for four at Sweet Cheeks, a neighborhood barbecue restaurant.

The drawing takes place on June 1 as part of Faneuil Hall’s Pride Day festivities and proceeds benefit Boston Pride and Victory Programs.

When a civic institution as important to Boston as the Red Sox openly celebrates its LGBTQ fan base, it’s especially noteworthy given the struggles and prejudice that the community still faces in the team’s hometown. It took until 2015 for LGBTQ rights organizations such as Boston Pride and OutVets to be allowed to march in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, after previous attempts were met with vocal hostility and beer bottle attacks. An unsuccessful attempt to bar them from marching again was made as recently as 2017.

Even a simple gesture of solidarity such as painting the Red Sox logo in rainbow colors on the Fenway mound during last year’s Pride Night was met with a slew of internet trolls. In response to the logo, the Red Sox social media feed was filled with angry fans crying “when’s the straight night?” and demanding that the Sox “promote real marriage between a man and a woman.”

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images Apparently this is offensive to some people who need to get out more.

So it’s especially encouraging that the Red Sox didn’t give such bigotry even a moment’s consideration when scheduling another Pride Night for this season. It sends a message that Boston Pride is David Ortiz and the bigots are the 2004 Yankees. There’s no way they’re ever going to win.

It’s also worth noting that Boston’s opponents that evening are the Texas Rangers, one of two teams in MLB who will not be hosting a Pride Night in 2019. The Houston Astros are the other. Astute readers will note that both of these teams have something in common. Everything is bigger in Texas, with the exception of a sense of inclusion.

This is one game where, regardless of which team you root for, everyone should love that dirty water.

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