Settlement: Bisexuals Can Play Ball
BY Michelle Garcia
November 29 2011 2:19 AM ET
A group of bisexual softball players have settled with the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance over a case in which the players were disqualified from playing due to their sexual orientation. The organization has now agreed to allow an unlimited number of bisexual and transgender people to play on NAGAAA teams after a settlement in a lawsuit was reached Monday.
"I am happy NAGAAA has also made rule changes to let players like me know they are welcome," LaRon Charles, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement Monday. "I look forward to continuing to play ball with my friends, teammates and community in NAGAAA’s tournaments."
Five of the players, members of the San Francisco Gay Softball League, were part of a team that competed in the Gay Softball World Series in 2008. But their eligibility was challenged on the basis of NAGAAA's rules, which limit the number of nongay members on a team.
According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the players were called into a room and asked questions about their sexual orientation in front of 25 other people. Three of the players, all men of color, were deemed heterosexual by the committee. That decision caused their team to exceed the number of nongay players and disqualified the team from a second-place finish. However, because of the settlement, the organization will now recognize the team's place in the series.
Russell K. Robinson, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said the change may provide a more welcoming atmosphere for LGBT people of color.
"A number of studies have shown that men of color are more likely to identify as bisexual as opposed to gay," Robinson said. "By explicitly including all bisexual people in its revised definitions, NAGAAA’s rule changes reduce the likelihood that men of color will disproportionately face exclusion from its tournaments."
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