North Dakota Lawmakers Ban Transgender Students From Sports

Highway sign reading North Dakota

Highway sign reading North Dakota

North Dakota’s state legislature passed a bill today prohibiting transgender students from participating in a school-sponsored athletic team.

The bill passed 69 to 25 and now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum’s desk.

Bills banning transgender students from sports participation are now awaiting vetoes or signatures from governors of North Dakota, Montana, Kansas and West Virginia.


Three previous states, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, have signed bills into law, and South Dakota’s governor issued executive orders after expressing concerns about the legality of the state’s ban.

Lawmakers across the country have acknowledged they could not cite an instance of trans participation being an issue in their states.

North Dakota has had a policy regulating trans participation for the last five and a half years.

GLAAD released a guide for journalists covering the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills nationwide.

Statement from Serena Sonoma, GLAAD’s Communications Coordinator and Regional Media Lead, U.S. South:

“Transgender young people just want to be safe, belong, and live free of discrimination, including from some in their own government. There is no evidence that including trans kids harms anyone.

“This bill and similar measures across dozens of states are unnecessary and harmful to all young people. Lawmakers must stop targeting the most vulnerable in their states. They are sending a terrible message that hurts all kids and threatens their states’ economies. Gov. Burgum must veto this damaging bill.”

Pro Bowler Picks Up 7-10 Split On National TV

Anthony Neuer makes history at Pro Bowlers U.S. Open
Anthony Neuer makes history at Pro Bowlers U.S. Open
Anthony Neuer makes history at Pro Bowlers U.S. Open

I spent much of my childhood in bowling alleys. It was the only sport I was ever actually good at.

My god mother was a pro-bowler, and she would take me to tournaments where I loved hanging out with the major players of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association.

At the age of 14, my bowling average was something like 209 and I considered maybe going pro myself. But, anyway…

All that to say: anyone who’s ever rolled a ball down an alley can appreciate this accomplishment by the ‘Ginger Assassin,’ Anthony Neuer.

Neuer converted the 7-10 split on national television marking only the fourth time in TV history that’s happened. AND, the first time in 30 years.

USA Today reports the moment came Sunday during Neuer’s semi-final matchup at the U.S. Open.

Despite the amazing feat, the 18-year-old would go on to lose the game to 26-year-old Jakob Butturff 257-203.

Still, give it up for Neuer. If you’ve never seen it done, check it out below.

Washington: State Lawmakers Propose Bringing Guns Into Sports Stadiums

Because, what could possibly go wrong?

From The Guardian:

Conservative legislators in Washington state have proposed a bill that would allow fans to bring guns into stadiums. The bill was proposed by Republican representatives Matt Shea, David Taylor and Bob McCaslin and would prevent stadium operators from stopping members of the public with licenses to carry concealed firearms from entering their venues with weapons.

Stadiums affected would include the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, the home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and MLS’s Seattle Sounders. The Sounders won their first MLS title on Saturday night with victory over Toronto FC.

On Sunday, the NFL told the Washington Post it would oppose the bill. “We haven’t seen the proposed legislation but we have a policy forbidding carrying a weapon into NFL stadiums,” Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of communications, said in a statement.

Although US sports do not have the same reputation for violence as some of the more dangerous parts of European and South American soccer, there would be obvious concerns about allow firearms into venues with alcohol and where passions can ignite.

Colorado: “We Kill Gays In Wyoming” Baseball Coach Apologizes To Gay Player

Coach Sean McKinney

Last week, former Minor League Baseball player Tyler Dunnington spoke to Outsports to share his story of the homophobia he experienced while playing both in college and for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, a team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Even though he was closeted at the time, it was the language he heard from other players and coaches – yes, coaches – that wore heavily on his soul.

Dunnington recalled being on the field one day when a coach mentioned in passing, “We kill gay people in Wyoming.” Tyler never named the coach or any individuals. He eventually stepped away from the game that had given him so much joy.

After that report broke and investigation was done, and that coach – Sean McKinney of Colorado Mesa University – stepped up and took responsibility for the comment. McKinney says the comment, in the moment, was meant to be “humorous,” not fully understanding the impact of his language.

The university president and others at CMU are now collaborating with the school’s Gay/Straight Alliance and One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian gay bisexual and transgender people to improve the atmosphere for LGBT athletes at  the school.

From Outsports:

“As the story spread and more stuff was revealed, it got really tough this week,” McKinney told Outsports in an exclusive interview. “I’m forever in debt to the people in this university and my friends and family. They know my true character. Some of that is in question, obviously, because of what’s gone on with Tyler’s story. But I would never harm anyone on our team. This week I’m sure this has been questions about how I feel about Tyler. I hope he’s OK. I called him this morning to apologize. I want him to have a good life.”

“I’ve made some off-the-cuff comments, and one in particular was not right. Tyler heard it, and I apologized for it. Through this process I’m learning everyone’s stories and what the impact of our language is.”

“This has been a tremendous learning experience. In meetings with our president and people across campus, I think this is going to go in a very positive direction. I’ll focus on my team and my guys to raise awareness. This is an experience we can use to move forward. I’ve talked to all of our players. We’ve had conversations, and they’ve gone great. And that will have a ripple affect across our campus.”

McKinney says this past week has been “life-changing” for him and he
looks forward to the opportunity to turn this to a positive
conversation.

You can watch the press conference at Colorado Mesa University here.

Out baseball player Tyler Dunnington during his Minor League Baseball days

New Zealand All Blacks Perform World Cup Winning Haka

I’ve previously written about the tradition of New Zealanders performing a “Haka” before athletic events.

A Haka is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge of the Māori people of New Zealand which the New Zealand national rugby union team, the All Blacks, and a number of other New Zealand national teams perform before their international matches.

Done well, a Haka is dramatic and powerful. And really kinda sexy. No one does this better than the New Zealand All Blacks.

Before the World Cup Finals yesterday, which saw the All Blacks triumphant over the Wallabies of Australia, the All Blacks chose to set the tone with a ‘Kapa O Panga’ Haka.

After the match, and securing the first back-to-back World Cups, the men of the All Blacks came back a traditional ‘Ka Mate’ Haka dedicated to their fans and to six departing team mates, facing their newly won trophy.

For more of my coverage of this sexy war cry, click here and here.

19 year old Jason Brown’s exciting “free skate” at 2014 US National Championships

Jason Brown at the 2014 US National Skating Championships

Check out 19 year-old Jason Brown’s performance at the 2014 US National Skating Championships.

Very talented, connects to the audience.  And they clearly connect back.

BUT – he doesn’t have a quadruple jump. Can a male skater win the ‘free skate’ without a quad?

What a performance. The audience is standing before he even finishes.

And then, there’s the score…

Watch below. Really exciting.


Russian gold medalists kiss at medal ceremony in protest of “homosexual propaganda” laws

This picture makes me “happy dance.”

Last night, Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova, two members of Russia’s women’s 4×400 relay team, defied their nation’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” when they kissed on the podium during the presentation ceremony for their gold medals at the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow.

Pay attention International Olympic Committee and US Olympic Team – even Russian athletes know how to show moral leadership and courage.

Also last night at the World Track & Field Championships, Finnish Minister of Culture & Sports Paavo Arhinmäki waved a rainbow flag during the competition.

Russia, you may make your silly, bigoted laws, but strong, authentic, people are going to be who they are. They will stand for what they believe.  Period.

Forward.

(via JMG)