Tag Archive | NBA

Equal Attention Discrimination

donald_sterlingAs soon as TMZ released the alleged tape Donald Sterling’s racist remarks towards his girlfriend V. Stiviano for posting pictures of herself hanging out with Magic Johnson on Instagram, the African American community immediately issued statements requesting Sterling be removed as the Los Angeles Clippers owner. All of this coming at a very bad time during a playoff battle against the Golden State Warriors en route to a possible NBA championship run for the Larry O’Brien trophy that now, very few people want to see the players on the Clippers earn for Sterling to hoist.

First I must say the African American community has always responded quickly to ignorant, divisive, and racist remarks towards these types of social issues. They are incredibly cohesive, organized, and collaborate so well. When Trayvon Martin was shot to Rodney King, and even towards the reactions of OJ Simpson and the jury’s verdict, the African American community always reacts fast and shares their opinions on sensitive social issues regarding other high profile African Americans or affiliates.

But the teamwork and cultural awareness didn’t happen overnight. People paid in blood sweat and tears for centuries as dignity was hard won and fought for before others were able to arrive at equal treatment, to eat at the same table at restaurants and attend the same schools.

Even now there still remains ignorance and hidden discrimination amongst the American population. But at least backlash is immediately imminent when people voice their discriminatory views.

Yet, if this were a transgender situation with the same backstory except the one minor difference of substituting a famous transgender woman in place of Magic Johnson, I assure you the results would have been quite different: muted, ignored, and dismissed.

I could have guaranteed there would have been very little comparative public outcry.

Why is that?

Is it because people erroneously assume w are making a sinful choice when we present our true selves in a gender non-conforming way? Is it because we are fragmented as a community? Is my friend Callan correct in saying our disconnect as a community is because we lack allies? Because we are so busy pinpointing who we aren’t instead of focusing on who we are, finding out actual presentation and identities?

I think it’s a combination of all of these factors, and the fragmentation really hurts us as a community. In addition to having no default group of individual to represent us, we have so many in the community who play crabs in the barrel with one another. Forget the fact that drag queens, transvestites, crossdressers, and transsexuals pick on each other and segregate themselves. Transsexuals are very ticky tack amongst themselves. It’s very common to hear comments as “That’s not her real hair” or “She isn’t fulltime, what does she know” in sneering and condescending attitudes.

And finding a group or individual to represent transgender people is very difficult, if not impossible, due to how fluid the nature of gender really is and the many ways on the continuum in which we can authentically choose to express ourselves.

So what are some steps we can take to increase acceptance and inclusion within our own community? I think it is very important to stand up for other transgender people. But in order for us to do that successfully we must first learn to stand up for ourselves and embrace our own individual differences. If I can’t accept, love, and stand up for myself, then I certainly can’t do it effectively for others in my community.

We must also show inclusion for those who fall on different parts of the gender spectrum; empathy for those who face ostracism from family upon coming out; and patience for those who are at a different stage of transition than we are.

We must embrace our queerness, and reject the binaries and judgments associated with being different and, rather, see ourselves as who we truly are: unique.

We must start forming alliances of allies where, through our cohesion of loving self and other transgender people, we then start being heard.

And then, and only then, will we hold enough clout and attention for respect when discriminated against in a similar situation by the Donald Sterlings out there.

LeBron James’ Comments toward John Amaechi Still Taints His Ring Ceremony Celebration for Me

LeBron James getting his second ring as the 2013-2014 NBA season is about to start reminds me of his inappropriate comment in 2007, when he said he was unsure how he would react if he knew one of his teammates was gay.  “We’re on the bus together and we talk about a lot of things and if you’re not trustworthy, like admitting you’re gay, you can’t be trusted. It’s a trust factor,” he was quoted as saying, in reaction to former NBA player John Amaechi coming out.lebron-james-crying

I didn’t just root for Dallas a few years ago because I wanted LeBron James to lose in the finals and be denied a ring.  I realized the prick needed to do some self reflection and show some empathy and understanding towards a highly marginalized and stigmatized portion of society.

He needed to (and probably STILL NEEDS TO) realize other people’s life decisions and actions don’t necessarily revolve around his narrow minded and balding ass point of view.

People don’t just come out because being gay and knowing they are gay is a crime and should be confessed or revealed due to trust factors.  People have to time when and how they come out, and if they should come out.  Situations vary widely, and people come out for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because it is to finally acknowledge who they are, despite the pressures and ramifications of doing so in a society geared towards keeping the status quo and rigid binary of old outdated traditions.

The way he said it was very similar to equating coming out and being gay to being an ex-con or criminal.  As if on your first date, you are supposed to tell someone about all your personal details, otherwise you aren’t deemed “trustworthy.”

Absolutely retarded.

Then LeBron said, recently after Jason Collins came out, that “I think it’s very strong of him. I think it’s very noble of him. I got the utmost respect for Jason and for whatever he wants to do.”

Although it’s nice to see someone of his star power give Jason Collins and the GLBT community a big push in the right direction, I doubt he truly felt sincere about what he said.  It just seems like he’s saying that to please the crowd and masses, and I don’t truly believe he feels that way in his heart.  He’s too full of himself and his beliefs.  And although it’s merely speculation, I think his comment stems from the direct consequence of being booed so hard and despised by many when he made his decision to go to the Miami Heat, that he realized it was better this time around to say something much less controversial.

Someone who scoffed and laughed at Dirk Nowitzki when he had a cold in the NBA Finals and refused to shake Dwight Howard’s hand after losing in the Eastern Conference Finals isn’t someone who embraces differing viewpoints with open arms, especially if those differing viewpoints don’t coincide with his own agenda and judgments.

Go work on your free throws, and shut the fuck up LeBron.  No one cares what you think.

Usain Bolt on Hormones

When Jenna Talackova ran for the Miss Universe pageant, public outcry poured out due to Jenna being a MtF transsexual woman.

Usain Bolt winning the 100m by daylight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Usain Bolt winning the 100m by daylight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Many articles covering the news had comment sections available, and there were more than enough vicious, ignorant, and hate filled comments.

The standard ignorant comments were all there.  She’s not really a girl, she’s still a dude.  Just because she looks like a woman doesn’t mean she is one.  I can get plastic surgery to look like a dolphin but it doesn’t make me a dolphin.  Absolutely ridiculous comments.

But one in particular stood out.

“So does that mean if Mike Tyson or Usain Bolt got a sex change, that they could then win in their sport easily by beating up on women?  Can you imagine Usain Bolt running 100M in 9.59 against women?  That record would never be broken.”

I laughed at his comment.  Particularly since there were so many layers to his comment that clearly indicated he obviously did not understand what transgender people are about.

Transgender people do not transition to go undercover to rob banks, or to win at sports easier.  They do so because their core gender identity does not match what was assigned to them at birth.

Simply looking at a newborn and seeing a penis, and then proceeding to label the infant as a boy is the same as looking at an African American newborn and immediately saying he or she will play basketball for a living.  It sounds like a stretch to compare the two, but it’s truly an outdated notion to assume a newborn is going to be straight or the gender in which they were assigned.  Just as assuming a Chinese American newborn is automatically going to be a doctor or Nobel Prize physicist or an African American newborn is automatically going to be a professional athlete is equally ludicrous.

It is time we update ourselves to present day knowledge and hold off on labeling and confining our children, and letting their true natures and identities shine through.  Then, and only then, shall we encourage their innate selves and natural tendencies to blossom and strengthen.

I can assure you Mike Tyson and Usain Bolt do not want to transition their genders, and even if they were suppressing their gender identities and came out as transgender, I can assure you that they wouldn’t do so to “win in their sport.”  Mike Tyson putting on a dress and being allowed to box other women would truly be a scenario where a man is allowed to put on a dress to beat up on another woman.

There would be nothing genuinely feminine about Mike except his clothing.

When transgender people transition their gender, even if they aren’t “passable” by current societal standards, they are still women.  They may face struggles in regendering their behavior, mannerisms, and other expressions in their daily lives, but it doesn’t diminish or negate who they are inside and the gender in which they identify.

And even if Usain Bolt truly was a woman and identified as such, and finally chose to come out publicly and transition, Usain should be allowed to compete with other women if transition truly was something Usain wanted to do.

Why?  Because even though he would have tremendous height when lined up against all the other women (not to mention having a penis too), he would still be a woman in terms of identity.  And being physically different doesn’t preclude or eliminate his status from being female.  It would just mean he had natural advantages in the physical arena (height, muscle mass, etc) which isn’t something that is regulated in sports…because last I checked, they didn’t divide the NBA by height and make Steve Nash a center against shorter NBA players, and Shaquille O’Neal a point guard against all the other 7 footers.

The key here is not to look at people who were “gendered” by society as one way and then vehemently and rigidly stick to that gendering when regendering someone does and can happen all the time to transgender people.

But I highly doubt either Mike Tyson or Usain Bolt would want to do that anyway.

Finally, just to note what would happen if Usain Bolt or any other athlete did transition and start hormones: their muscle mass would decrease drastically.

And even though Usain Bolt might still run a fast time, I can assure you he wouldn’t be able to run a 9.58 if he were on hormones and legitimately identified as transgender.  He would let out his feminine self, the self he suppressed his whole life, and embrace who he was and the hormones would help him align with his true self.

And 9.58 would be a thing of the past.