Michael Sam Is Drafted By The St. Louis Rams

This is powerful: Michael Sam, the openly gay defensive end from the University of Missouri, gets the call that he is chosen by the St. Louis Rams in the NFL draft. This is a video of him receiving the life-changing (and league changing) call: 

//www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/nW-_fFdkegs

I love how his boyfriend is right by his side. The tears are common – Sam was drafted as one of the last players in a very long draft. The first rounds are all glamorous, with smiling players at Radio City Hall in New York, on TV, in suits and with the commissioner. This late in the draft, players are overwhelmed that they are chosen at all.

Michael Sam already stated that he has a chip on his shoulder, announcing that he already thinks about how he can sack the quaterbacks of teams that haven’t chosen him. As the best defensive player in the most competitive college football conference, the SEC, there’s a good chance he will act on that promise come fall. I’ll be rooting for him.

(via TPM)

N.F.L. Prospect Proudly Says What Teammates Knew: He’s Gay – NYTimes.com

Michael Sam, a defensive lineman who played college football for the University of Missouri, came out as gay yesterday.

As a senior (6"2’/188 cm; 260 lbs/117 kg) Sam had a stellar season as Missouri finished 12-2 and won the Cotton Bowl. He was named first-team all-American, Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, widely considered the top league in college football. Teammates, to whom he came out prior the season, voted him Missouri’s MVP. Based on his performance, Michael Sam should have a good chance to be drafted to the NFL, a process that begins with the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks. 

He came out to the greater public after numerous scouts from pro teams asked his agent about Sam’s relationships and sexuality while Sam played in the annual Senior Bowl. He wanted to come out on his own terms. 

There has not been a publicly gay player in the NFL to date; a few pro players have come out after their career was over. I hope a pro team takes the step to draft the first gay pro American football player. (I’m looking at you, teams from cities like New York, Seattle, San Fran..) His performance and relationship with his team in Mizzou shows that a team can be very successful, ‘even if’ the locker room includes a gay man. That a gay player would change the locker room atmosphere to the team’s detriment is a common argument against gay American football players. The team’s initial response to his private coming out gives me hope that gay players in this sport are more welcome than outsiders might expect/fear

Coaches at the University of Missouri divided players into small groups at a preseason football practice last year for a team-building exercise. One by one, players were asked to talk about themselves — where they grew up, why they chose Missouri and what others might not know about them. As Michael Sam […] began to speak, he balled up a piece of paper in his hands. “I’m gay,” he said. […] “I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,”

I’m looking forward to watching this impressive man play in the NFL.

His website features a few highlight videos, but beware, they autoplay.

N.F.L. Prospect Proudly Says What Teammates Knew: He’s Gay – NYTimes.com

Heterosexism is disappearing?

(What I’m about to say might be totally wrong. Plus, I’m really privileged as a cis-male in a heterosexual relationship headed for marriage. So I appreciate your input.. Also a content note: heterosexist/ableist slurs are mentioned in this text.)

Apparently homophobia is disappearing in the UK, claims sociologist Mark McCormack in an interview with Salon. To be more specific,the usage of “that’s gay” as an insult is declining among the British teenagers that were part of his study. He also admits that the US is far behind in this development – and claims that suicide by gay teens is less of a problem than it is currently portrayed. 

I wish it were true. 

I wonder how the statistics are in Germany. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that “gay” (schwul) as insult is still in full swing, only rivaled by the ableist “behindert” (retarded) among people my age or younger. 

In addition, societies might be less homophobic/heterosexist, but they are still are too heterosexist. It is also telling that his study/his result only focused on homosexual men (probably not with an asterisk.) It’s probably different for lesbians – the type of heterosexism is different and you have to add, well, sexism – and bisexual people. And the situation for trans* people is … horrible. 

I cautiously agree with him that some battles are being won – but the thing is, those are the issues that should more or less be no-brainers in the 21st century. Take same-sex marriage – it’s wonderful that things are getting better in this field. I don’t want to diminish the importance of same-sex marriage for people who want to be same-sex married, I fully support marriage equality, and there still is a lot to be improved. But same-sex marriage is a comparatively (really can’t find the right word) easy issue. Many people can understand and get behind it – after all, it is just transferring a well-established institution to more people. To people who are “just like us” except that they are gay/lesbian. This is a victory that is over-due.

It’s a shame that universal marriage equality isn’t achieved yet –  because there are so much more shameful (for the society!) things that have to be fought for/against. Like the acceptance of non-marriage-relationship models. Like queer ways of life. Like rape culture. Like the many, many horrible things transgender people still have to deal with. Like erasure. For me, the thought of having your identity negated is magnitudes worse than not being able to marry. But apparently the small battles have to be won before we can tackle those issues. Heterosexism might be in decline – but cissexism isn’t.

The problem of children using the term ‘gay’ as an insult is a big problem, but not a new problem. It has been well established in the past decade or so, and though laws and regulations around sexual orientation have changed a great deal in that time, small indicators like children’s language can give away considerable social undercurrents. Undercurrents which by their very nature do not surface in any fist-in-mouth, obtuse way, we can easily dismiss not to be problems at all