Loud and Clear – “Gay and Lesbian” Echoing Off the Stands

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE

Monday night the girls in the family went to the San Francisco Giants versus the Chicago Cubs game at AT&T Park. I’d never been to the new park though my partner had several times. She’s the big baseball fan in the family, as is my daughter. I went because it was LGBT Night, the tickets were a good price and there was the promise of an official Giants hat.

Frankly, I was there for the hat and the food. Crab sandwich, delicious. Hat, spectacular. To the side is a photo I took of the logo on the front of the hat.

I do like baseball, but I don’t follow it closely. I could devote a long blog to my ambivalence about men’s professional sports, and how heroes are made of thugs, cheaters and whiners, and fortunes are made on the disposable bodies of young men but I’ll avoid the temptation and simply say that overall, my feeling is that major league baseball tends to have less of that that some other sports, and being able to admire the players and the team does in fact influence my interest a sport. End of near diatribe.

I’m also aware that homophobia runs rampant through many professional sports, including women’s, and that the f-word is a common slur in locker rooms all over the world. So I can take to my heart an organization that makes an “It Gets Better” video for The Trevor Project featuring players, in several languages, telling young people that bullying is not the end and life is worth living. The SF Giant player’s video was played last night during one of the inning breaks, and the LGBT fans were applauding and cheering madly.

I can also take to my heart a Major League Baseball organization that hires a woman, Renel Brooks-Moon to be the public address announcer. Still waiting for any other team to follow suit… Who cares about the outcome of the game when a woman’s voice booms out,

Ladies and Gentleman, the San Francisco Giants welcome members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community to LGBT Night!

For me, the word lesbian echoed and echoed. It was said more than once, since the Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band played before the game and performed Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the 7th inning stretch.

It echoed and echoed, because I still remember when it was a nasty word, whispered behind hands. When it could get you fired. Beaten up. Worse.

It still can. We’re not safe yet. But when kids of all ages see and hear these words in the world around them, the words lose their power to wound and bullies everywhere are defanged.

So Bravo to the San Francisco Giants, and to corporate sponsor AT&T. So the pitchers gave up four long balls and the bats were cold as ice taking golf swings at slow rollers in the dirt. Who cares?

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