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From Graham: Studevent takes on bullying – Lady Lions senior was bullied as a teen, starts program to help middle schoolers

Then came the day, not long after she had a chance as an eighth-grader to travel to a tournament with older girls, that she found a letter addressed to “Senorita” in her bag, spelling out in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t welcome in her new surroundings. More letters followed, always anonymous, calling her a “taco bitch” and far worse. Emails spread, intermingling her name with pornographic videos. She was even tipped off that a girl, whose identity she never learned, planned to pay two classmates to plant marijuana in Studevent’s bag. All of this because she was different, because she didn’t come from the same place or look like other students, because she was easy to single out.

“It wasn’t so much what was said; it was just the fact that it was said from the people I looked up to,” Studevent said. “I’ve always been proud to be Mexican. You can say I hopped a fence, whatever joke you want to make, but I’m always going to be proud of who I am.”

The WBCA and its coaches could take a lesson from Studevent when it comes to confronting homophobia — which is a kind of bullying.

Not holding my breath, though. Remember this from Pat Griffin back in October, 2012?

Yes, I would agree that many college and professional women’s sports teams are generally open to and comfortable with lesbian teammates. Yes, many lesbian professional athletes are out to their teammates and coaches.  Of course, lesbians have always been important participants in and advocates for women’s sports.  On some teams lesbian coaches and athletes are welcomed and invited to be as open about their sexual orientation as they choose to be.  Yet, as we celebrate this openness, we must understand that situations like these are also true:
  • College coaches of women’s teams still have “no lesbian” team policies
  • Lesbian athletes are dismissed from college teams, find their playing time limited or are harassed until they quit teams solely because of their sexual orientation or gender expression
  • College coaches of women’s teams still use negative recruiting tactics to insinuate that coaches of rival teams are lesbians
  • College coaches who are lesbians are afraid to identify themselves out of fear that it would be used against them in personnel decisions and recruiting
  • Only one Division 1 women’s basketball coach in the entire United States is publicly out as a lesbian (Sherri Murrell at Portland State University)
  • Lesbian athletes are discouraged from being open about their lesbian identity lest it “tarnish” the entire team’s reputation
  • Lesbian coaches, athletes and sports administrators are targeted with anti-LGBT vandalism and anonymous harassment
With regard to the last item on this list, read this article about a lesbian high school athletic director in California who is currently under attack by vandals who are targeting her because she is a lesbian.

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From her latest entry: Sexist Tweets, OK. Racist Tweets, Not So Much

 In the space of two weeks reporters for national media have gotten themselves into hot water for tweets about sporting events. First up – Roland Martin of CNN who was disturbed by the David Beckham underwear ad broadcast during the Super Bowl. His homophobic tweet calling for a little causal violence directed toward men who like the ad was roundly criticized by GLAAD, the LGBT media watchdog organization, as well as others. He was suspended as punishment.
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The reactions to Whitlock’s tweet focused almost entirely on pointing out how racist the comment was. It seemed to go right over the heads of most commentators that there was also a huge dollop of sexism in his comment also. Whitlock’s comment is offensive to Asian men and all women. Why haven’t more men who object to Whitlock’s racism also criticized his sexism? Here is one exception.

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Helen Carroll & Pat Griffin and encourages everyone to Vote for them as the Outsports’ Person of the Year?.

While other gay-sports activists get the headlines and Facebook fan pages, these two women continue to be the gold standard in the movement. This year was just another year of extraordinary accomplishments. Griffin launched a new initiative with GLSEN, Changing the Game, that is helping end homophobia in K-12 sports. The women together published a groundbreaking report that lead to an official NCAA policy on trans athletes. When we published our list of the 100 most important moments in gay-sports history, these two were a part of making at least nine of them happen. And while others simply preach to the choir, these two women consistently reach out to those who are not on the side of fairness and equality. They are pioneers in the deepest sense, and 2011 was another incredible year for their work.

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this TV Alert: In The Life Episode on LGBT Issues in Sport

In The Life is featuring an episode on LGBT issues in sports in September. Look for the local TV listings for PBS stations in your area to see when it will air or you can watch it here.

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(BTW – Congrats on the new gig, Pat!)

An Open Letter to the LPGA

Dear LPGA:

Thank you for voting last night to change your by-laws by deleting the requirement that members must be “female at birth.” I know this change was prompted by a lawsuit, but nonetheless, I applaud your decision to join other sports organizations that have eliminated policies that bar transgender athletes from participating in their self-identified gender. I know you have not made any decision yet about what specific policy will be put into place and I would like to encourage you to give this some careful thought.

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Allegations of Anti-Lesbian Bias in IUPUI Women’s Basketball Program

If these allegations of abuse are substantiated, it is not only the coaches who should be held accountable. It is also the school athletic administrators and any other athletic staff who ignored or supported the alleged abusive behavior and anti-lesbian interrogations and relationship rules. How many times do we have to hear this story or variations of it for coaches and administrators to begin to take seriously their responsibilities to abide by school policies and state non-discrimination laws?

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