In a recent insidethegames article, Emily Goddard reported on the “protest zone” planned by Russian authorities for the Sochi Games, some 18 kilometres from the Games’ hub. In her piece, one discovers such gems as: Vladimir Lukin, the Human Rights Commissioner of Russia and President of the Russian Paralympic Committee, welcomed the choice of Khosta and claimed it is easy to access. “It’s possible to travel there by car, by bus or on the train from the centre of Sochi, or from the sports centre,” he explained. “So if people want to exchange opinions and express their views on any topic, they can do it easily.” It’s gratifying to know that it’s easy to get to an island of freedom in a continent-wide sea of repression. Where, of course, protesters will find only other protesters protesting the repression of the right to protest. Should one expect more from the country’s “Human Rights” Commissioner, whose response to the federal anti-gay law has been that the only issue will be for judges to not be too cruel in their application of the measure. A “Human Rights” Commissioner who happens to be the head of the host country’s Paralympic Committee, which perhaps helps explain the International Paralympic Committee’s silence when faced with these laws.
Slate.fr / Faire son coming out après avoir pris sa retraite sportive peut changer des vies; le faire avant peut en changer bien davantage
Le footballer allemand Thomas Hitzlsperger a fait son coming out au cours d’une interview accordée à Die Zeit, el 8 janvier. S’il n’est pas une star, il n’en est pas moins un professionnel à la très belle carrière qui a joué pour trois excellentes équipes anglaises ainsi que pour la Lazio de Rome. Il a également disputé 52 matchs dans l’équipe nationale allemande; il évolue donc dans les plus hautes sphères de ce sport.
Si le Suédois Anton Hysén a fait son coming out en mars 2011 et Robbie Rogers en février 2013, Hitzlsperger est le premier joueur de haut niveau bénéficiant d’une visibilité internationale à sortir du placard. Hélas, Hitzlsperger a pris sa retraite en septembre dernier et il ne jouera pas, professionnellement, en tant que footballeur ouvertement gay. Tous mes vœux à Hitzlsperger, souhaitons-lui bonne route, mais à quel point mérite-t-il des félicitations pour ce coming out?
On Wednesday, German soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger came out in an interview with Die Zeit. While he’s not a household name even outside soccer-phobic America, he’s still a pro player with a great career, playing for three top British teams, as well as Lazio Roma. He also played 52 games on the German national team, meaning he’s in the upper echelon of the sport.
Although Sweden’s Anton Hysén came out in March 2011, and Robbie Rogers came out in February 2013, Hitzlsperger is the first top player with international visibility to come out. Alas, Hitzlsperger retired last September and will not be playing professionally as an out player. More power to Hitzlsperger, and the best of luck to him for the rest of his life, but how much applause does this coming out deserve?
At least among male athletes, it has been exceedingly rare for an actively competing athlete to come out. Gay Games Ambassador David Kopay came out after retiring from the NFL, as did Esera Tuaolo much later. So did former NBA player John Amaechi and the MLB’s Billy Bean, all Gay Games ambassadors, and all dedicated advocates for the fight against homophobia in sport. Despite being retired, their impact comes from their willingness to share their experiences as closeted athletes, with the goal of making coming out easier. But what was incredibly heroic for Kopay in 1975, and even for Tuaolo in 2002 or Amaechi in 2007, should not be so hard today. A lot has changed in a very short time, and our expectations have justifiably risen. (more…)