Gay Softball Controversy Raises Questions Over Who Counts As Gay

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A gay softball tournament called the Golden Bear Classic in Napa, CA. (Flickr/Igbtnapa)
A gay softball tournament called the Golden Bear Classic in Napa, CA. (Flickr/Igbtnapa)

It's been a year of steps forward in gay rights, with the state of New York legalizing gay marriage, the Justice Department pledging not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and Congress' repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

Then there's gay softball.

It's grown by leaps and bounds in recent years but there are questions over whether a controversy surrounding the 2008 Gay Softball World Series may represent a step backwards for gay rights.

The results of the series were challenged when the second place team, D2, a team from San Francisco, was accused of including more than the two straight men that are allowed per team.

The men were questioned in a tribunal about their sexual preference and were ruled "nongay" in what they say was an intrusive experience. The men blame the unfair treatment on racism, since all of the men were people of color.

The legal outcome is still up in the air, with a federal trial scheduled for this November. But the case underscores the ambiguity of sexuality and the complications that arise in identity-based sports.


  • Eli Sanders, associate editor of The Stranger and a member of a gay soccer team

This segment aired on August 19, 2011.


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