Friday, April 28, 2017

Phallic Friday - gender issues

I've been thinking a lot about gender and gender issues lately. It's not something new to think about, but I've been thinking more deeply because of a story I was writing. I've submitted that story, but still the issue is playing on my mind, so I might have to keep writing and thinking about this. So there might be a few Phallic Fridays on the issue as I mull it all over.

There was an article sometime last week on (you can find it here) about an American NFL player, Aaron Hernandez, who had committed suicide in gaol after supposedly killing another player (in 2013) because he knew Hernandez was bi-sexual and had teased him about it. Hernandez had a female fiancée and a child with her, but also a long-term male lover from high school. The man he killed went out with the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. It’s believed Hernandez had a male lover in gaol and left a note to him explaining his previous actions, before his suicide (2017).

First I'd heard of this case, since we don't get a lot of US news. But it grabbed my attention because my story was focussing on a MM couple in the Aussie NRL, and I had a F hook up with them (that's where my MMF begins). Of course, seeing something about a bisexual footy player caught my eye...but I didn't expect the killing, gaoling and suicide to be the outcome. That is horrifying.

MM relationships are as old as time, or close to that anyway! In Roman and Greek times, they were fairly commonplace. As in many Eastern countries in ancient times. Or at least my memory of history says this. When I did a bit of a wiki-read, it appears that there's an almost cyclical nature of acceptance and rejection of homosexuality through time (including everything between those extremes).

Currently, in Australia, in male team sports, homosexuality is not present, or at least publicised or publicly acknowledged. I wonder if this is because most Aussie men see team sports as physical and strong, and they see homosexuality as weak? Of course, I'm making gross generalisations here but I don't think I can think about this topic without going for sweeping generalisations, at least until I get issues sorted in my head.

Just as a total contrast, when I was young, female sports at the elite level was dominated by homosexuals especially team sports. I worked with a lot of sporty girls and played team sport with them. Some were in the state and national cricket, soccer, basketball and hockey teams. I was a naive lass who had no idea, and really didn't care or think about, a person's sexuality. Imagine my surprise when a girl in my team quietly confided in me that now she was leaving I was the only straight girl! When I got over my shock, I didn't care. I was never any good, so I was never going to try out for elite sports, so it didn't matter. And I 'radiated straight vibes', a friend told me, so I wasn't going to be hit on. Besides, these girls were my friends because they accepted me no matter that I was shit at sport, no matter that I was straight, no matter that I was quiet and boring - so I accepted them back. They brought me no harm, in fact their acceptance gave me much happiness and a lot of fun times.

So why are women's team sports accepting of homosexuality, and men's team sports aren't? 

I wonder if the peak bodies and those organising the sport, historically, had a particular bias that changed the people who were chosen to play? Was it 'marketed' in different communities? For example, in 1908, rugby league broke away from rugby union over payment issues, so rugby league became the working man's game and they were paid to play; union became the rich man's game and it was amateur.

Or is it that 'dykes' are seen as 'tough' and so playing physical team sports is 'natural', whereas for men, it's the opposite? 

Both of these seem to be too simplistic reasons. Maybe there was a combination of both. Maybe there are other reasons I haven't even thought about yet.

Another total generalisation, but in my experience, men seem far more concerned by homosexual men than women are of homosexual women. Maybe this male homophobia has seen homosexual men excluded from team sports. That's probably more likely, even if another gross over-simplification and generalisation.

I still don't understand how/why your sexuality can/does determine what sport you play. I still don't understand why your sexuality has to be anyone's business.

Am I missing some thoughts here? Is there more to the sport and sexuality issue?


  1. I don't know on this one. In the recent AFLW (womens league) with Erin Phillips being very open about thanking "my wife", I think it brought all this out in the open. Imagine if a bloke won the Brownlow and thanked 'his husband' - not that it's legal here anyway. So convoluted. I don't know is the answer. But I do know that whenever anyone tries to bring up homosexuality in elite men's sport, it gets howled down. Jason Akermanis brought this up about 5 or so years ago - it wasn't popular.

    1. I was really moved that Erin Phillips had the courage to be who she is, say what she wanted to say, and be true to herself. She's an incredible role model.

      I'd love one day for a guy to be able to thank their husband and kiss them at the table, without all hell breaking loose.

      It's incredibly convoluted and I think there'll have to be some huge shifts in society for things to change. I suspect it may be a long time before homosexuality is openly talked about in men's elite team sport.

      I watched a little of Liz Hayes' interview on 60 Minutes with the White Supremacists in the US. They were convinced that their way of life was being marginalised by society becoming more accepting of all, and I think that fear of change is so huge and powerful, it's very difficult to overcome. I see gender issues on a similar sort of grounds.

      Thanks :)

      Cate xo