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Street-Level Youth Media is a non-profit, media arts literacy organization serving Chicago's youth.  We teach audio engineering, mixing, video production, digital photography, online journalism, and more.  If you are between the ages of 12 through 24, all of our programs and services are free.

If you live in Chicago and are between 12 - 24 years old, come take part in one or all of our media arts programs, book a private studio session, use our computer lab or join one of our clubs.  We also host an open-mic on the first Friday of each month.  

Mild Sauce

A Youth-Run Webzine From Chicago.

LGBT Athletes and Their Rights

Street-Level

LGBT athletes are afraid to be themselves around their teammates and in the public…

 

By: Destiny M.

LGBT athletes do not want to come out, for they are afraid to be themselves around their teammates and in the public (Chicago). This issue should not be occurring because it is not right to judge and discriminate against people you don’t even know. This issue should be seen as important because athletes, whatever their religion, gender, and sexual orientation, should be able to play whatever sport they like without being seen differently from others.

Derrick Gordon is the first openly gay division 1 college basketball player. Even though he is very happy with himself now, it took some time for him to get there. Gordon started to realize his attraction towards guys when he was in the eighth grade. He turned towards the internet because there was no one he felt comfortable sharing his feeling with. That is where Gordon met someone he started dating while during his transfer at UMass. Gordon states, ”I’d have to sneak around just to see him and I didn’t want to do that anymore. Why should I be sneaking around with someone I want to be with and this is who I am?”

This exhibits how LGBT individuals are afraid to come out because they are always worried about whether they are going to be ridiculed for being themselves or just treated differently than from before they were out. I asked a friend about how they felt coaches should handle homophobic players this is what they stated, ”There should be no way of handling them. The LGBT athletes should just be seen as equal. I’m sure they don’t want any special treatment. They’re just looking for equality”- Frances. This validates that there are people out there who understand what LGBT athletes are going through and are willing to accept them for who they are.

What it means to be equal is a person or thing considered to be the same as another in status or equality. Equality is what these LGBT athletes are looking for, however, they don’t believe they will receive it if they come out. Gordon states,”I honestly wish everybody would come out. Even if you don’t play sports, I wish everybody would come out. You may not think you have support, but you’re going to have support.” That is a message everyone should keep in mind.

“They’re just looking for equality.”

The main reason why those LGBT athletes don’t want to come out is because they are afraid of things changing for them negatively. A gay athlete who has come out, Robbie Rogers, states,”Yeah, that’s the big thing: people don’t know what’s going to happen. People are afraid, obviously, that things might change for them. I don’t necessarily think that the majority of athletes are homophobic; the sports culture is.” The sports culture is the way things are done in sports and traditions. It is mainly perceived as inherently homophobic because it is a mindset that people who play sports should be all straight and manly but that is not the case anymore.

This issue should be seen as important because there are still many LGBT athletes who are in need of reassurance that if they come out they won’t be judged for it. I asked another person if they thought the issue can be resolved and they said, ”I guess it can only be resolved if people come in with an open mind”-Elizabeth. That is what everyone needs to realize if they want change. People need to realize that having an open mind is the only thing that can spark change for LGBT athletes.