Honestly my first temptation was to rant about the lack of LGBT* representation in the State of the Union last Tuesday, but as I promised my girlfriend and my readers last week , I won’t turn my blog into a rant fest. (Though I really want to… all I wanted was ONE ENDA mention…)
…Anyway, I want to focus on the increase of youth representation and LGBT* visibility. Many of the kids /young adults that are coming out are active in sports culture, and that’s fantastic. Between Olympians worldwide, and people like Conner Merterns in Oregon, many current players are at the forefront of the LGBT* movement. I can’t speak for the sports culture outside of the United States, but here in the USA the culture surrounding athletics could easily be compared to religious ideology.
The You Can Play project is an example of the decrease of homophobia in sports (even if it’s slow). I love that people are challenging what it means to be strong, and that LGBT* individuals can challenge current perceptions. But gay athletes in the Olympics, college sports, and major sports teams prove that being queer does not fit into a nice hetero-normative picture.
Queer kids can play hockey, football, baseball, or soccer. Go for the Gold (I mean just getting to the Olympics sounds pretty rad).
The thing that I think is the most important about this trend in sports is the spirit of athleticism. Pride in teamwork, hard work, perseverance, etc. are all lauded in American society. The LGBT* community are of course capable of expressing these virtues already, but having kids be able to see these virtues openly expressed in people like themselves is powerful.
Telling kids not only does it get better, but they are amazing, unique and strong in their own way is quintessential. Recognizing your own personal strength is one of the first steps into empowering yourself and making the world a more positive and better place. With more visibility in sports, it’s becoming more of reality for queer kids.
Visibility matters. We’re here, we’re queer, and we can be whatever we want to be.