The three plaintiffs—Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ—played on a team called D2 that qualified for the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, which is organized by the alliance [and was held in Seattle]. The alliance's rules say that each World Series team can have no more than two heterosexual players. According to the lawsuit, a competing team accused D2 of violating that rule.
Each of the three plaintiffs was called into a conference room in front of more than 25 people, and was asked "personal and intrusive questions" about his sexual attractions and desires, purportedly to determine if the player was heterosexual or gay, the lawsuit alleges. The alliance has no category or definition for bisexual or transgender people in its rules, the plaintiff's attorney said.
At one point during the proceedings, the lawsuit alleges, one of the plaintiffs was told: "This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series."
The same LGBT rights group—the National Center for Lesbian Rights—that filed suit in Sonoma County over the separation, robbery, and abuse an elderly gay couple also filed the lawsuit in Seattle against the organizers of the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA), on behalf of the three bisexual men who were grilled and disqualified. A little more on that bizarre star chamber session the men were subjected to (this from the NCLR's press release):
The players were forced to answer whether they were “predominantly attracted to men” or “predominantly attracted to women,” without the option of answering that they were attracted to both. After each player was interrogated, a panel voted on whether he was “gay” or “non-gay.” NAGAAA’s committee refused to entertain the idea that the players could be bisexual.
And, sadly, it looks like race may have played a role:
Ultimately, the predominantly-white committee voted that Charles, Russ, and Apilado, all men of color, were not gay. The committee voted multiple times on at least one player. The committee also declared that the other two players, both white—one of whom had given precisely the same answers as Russ—were gay. The committee recommended disciplinary measures against Apilado, Charles, and Russ their team, and the San Francisco Gay Softball League, including forcing their team, D2, to retroactively forfeit their second-place World Series win.
Let's go back to the Seattle Times for the NAGAAA’s defense:
Beth Allen, the alliance's attorney, said the lawsuit is unwarranted and that the three plaintiffs "were not discriminated against in any unlawful manner." In any case, Allen said, the alliance is a private organization and, as such, can determine its membership based on its goals.
That's the best their lawyer can come up with? The men weren't discriminated against in an unlawful manner? The gay, lesbian, and bi men and women being thrown out of the military aren't being discriminated against in an "unlawful manner" either—DADT is legal, it's the law of the land—but that doesn't make it right. And the alliance is a private organization... you know, like the Boy Scouts of America, a private organization that gay rights groups sued all the way to the Supreme Court for discriminating against gay scouts and scoutmasters. The Supreme Court ruled for the Boy Scouts, finding that it was a private organization that could determine its membership based on its goals. But, again, that doesn't make it right, and for gay organizations to turn around and engage in the exact same kind of discrimination, and to use the exact same rhetoric used by the anti-gay bigots at the BSoA, isn't just tone deaf. It's shocking and depressing and hypocritical.
Here's hoping the NCLR racks up a couple of big wins in Sonoma and Seattle.