TAG | TransOhio
There are two events happening in Columbus, Ohio, this Friday, March 30, that offer a slate of both educational and entertainment activities.
Columbus Blue Jackets “Pride Night”
The latter of the day, which I’ll start with first since there is less to be said, is the Columbus Blue Jackets “Pride Night” game against the Florida Panthers. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. with a pre-game happy hour at 5:30 p.m. in the Founders Club of Nationwide Arena.
If you are interested, Contact Erica Ganyard at (614) 246-7675 to order tickets or with questions. Tickets are available at four prices: $34, $50, $62, or $85.
A portion of the ticket sales benefit ARC Ohio, Bravo, Equality Ohio, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and TransOhio. Being that I go to ARC Ohio for HIV testing; consider Ed Mullen, executive director of Equality Ohio, a friend; volunteered for a year at KYC; and know that Bravo and TransOhio do tremendous work; that these great organization will be beneficiaries in some capacity is reason to attend. For a portion of your ticket price to go these organizations, you need to purchase your tickets from Ms. Ganyard.
I am slightly disappointed with the slate of the programming this year, however. Compared with last year, which had the entire group sitting together in the sky terrace (a more private and intimate setting which was great for those that may not feel the most comfortable holding their partner’s hand, etc. while sitting in the normal seating areas) and had a post-game game between two gay hockey teams, Ohio Mayhem and Chicago Black Wolves), the agenda leaves me wanting more. Basically, there is a pre-game happy hour (cool), but the tickets are scattered all over (boo) and there is no other programming advertised (double boo). (For an example of how it should be done, check out the programming for the Washington Nationals game last season.)
I’m hoping that since Blue Jacket Rick Nash recently joined the You Can Play campaign, that there is a chance the PSA will air during the game. But I’m not counting on it.
“Humanistic Foundations: Historical, Philosophical and Sociocultural Studies of Sport”
The Ohio State University, joined by Pennsylvania State University and University of Western Ontario, is hosting an all-day conference for the cross-disciplinary study of sport at the Ohio Union, Barbie Tootle Room, 1739 N. High Street.
The event lasts all day and includes a number of topics that look to be interesting, including cross-studies of race, sexuality, gender, and more.
I am particularly interested in those in Session I, “Mediated Differences: Representations of Gender and Sexuality.” This session includes topics such as:
- 8:00-8:20 “Identifying Typologies: Women Bloggers and the Concept of ‘Sports’”
- 9:00-9:20 “‘What Kind of Respectable, Straight Male’: Paulie Malignaggi, Homophobia and Professional Boxing”
Session II also includes: “Controlling Sex in Sport: The Initial Days of Sex Testing by the IOC” from 9:50-10:10.
Other topics for the day will cover sociological implications in physical education, globalization of the NBA affecting the player’s union, ethical dimensions with parents coaching youth sports, and more. You can view a complete schedule of all the topics here. (There is also a welcome gathering on Thursday evening and a closing reception on Friday evening.)
Materials prepared for the event also include abstracts for the topics, so you can get a glimpse of the content before attending.
The abstract for the discussion on homophobia in sport is on page 15, and pasted below:
“What Kind of Respectable, Straight Male”: Paulie Malignaggi, Homophobia and Professional Boxing
MacIntosh Ross, University of Western Ontario; Daniel Taradash, University of Iowa
In the twenty-first century, internet forums, article responses and blogs have made the World Wide Web an unprecedented repository for often overlooked opinions of sports fans. Since many of these opinions are uncensored, readers are often presented with harsh, stereotyped views regarding class, race and gender. This paper will focus on perceptions of gender in online boxing fan forums, using R.W. Connell’s theory of hegemonic masculinity to explain homophobic reactions to American boxer Paulie Malignaggi on various boxing websites.
In 2007, Paulie Malignaggi won the International Boxing Federation world light welterweight championship by defeating title-holder Lovemore N’dou. Malignaggi defended his title twice before vacating the championship to fight Ricky Hatton in 2008. Unlike other champions, Malignaggi’s sexuality was routinely discussed and/or attacked online. Although his skills elevated him to the rank of champion, Malignaggi’s appearance – bright colored ring attire and thoroughly groomed look – did not align with hegemonic notions of masculinity. Furthermore, Malignaggi’s reliance on speed and technique, rather than power, was routinely pointed out, criticized and linked to his lack of ‘manliness.’
Within hegemony, a dominant cultural form does not extinguish all competitors. As Connell argues, other forms of masculinity continue to occur throughout society, constituting alternative, albeit subordinate, ways of being a man. We will argue that Malignaggi represents a subordinate masculinity, outside the boundaries of the dominant, hegemonic masculine culture exalted in boxing and other sports. Since hegemonic masculinity is heterosexual, many boxing fans framed Mailgnaggi as homosexual when discussing the fighter online. Fans typically approached Malignaggi’s sexuality in one of two ways. First of all, fans create posts asking for verification of Malignaggi’s sexuality. Secondly, some fans attack Malignaggi’s ability as a boxer by labeling him with homophobic pejoratives, suggesting that a homosexual man cannot box successfully. Ultimately, both types of forum entry reinforce existing notions of masculinity, marginalizing not only Malignaggi, but boxers who actually are homosexual.
If you attend either event, look for me and say hello! I’ll try to take notes to document the various panels I attend and of course I will be reporting on anything notable that happens at the Blue Jackets game.
Last week, I was able to attend two OutLaws events at Moritz. The first, co-hosted by ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), titled, “Struggling for Equality: The Progress of GLBT Rights in Ohio,” was held on Tuesday in our auditorium. The second, on Thursday, was a small discussion group with a partner and an associate from Jones Day about being openly gay at a large firm.
The “Struggling for Equality” event was split into two parts. Kim Welter, from Equality Ohio, started with a presentation on the current state of gay rights in Ohio. Based on a handful of objective criteria, Ohio was tied for second to last for state legislation for the LGBT community. Wow. Columbus is such a gay friendly city, and although I knew it was not the same across the state, I would not have expected Ohio to be below the middle of the pack. Kim pointed out that although many of the cities and counties in the state are doing a decent job for protecting LGBT rights, outside those boundaries, the pertinent state laws are lagging behind.
They handed out an excellent pamphlet with glaring statistics to highlight the areas where the Ohio state laws do not match the values of the population. The statistic with the most disparity? 91% of Ohioans say people should have a guaranteed right to visit their partners in the hospital; Ohio law allows hospitals to keep them apart. Another interesting one was that 63% of Ohioans say that students should be safe from bullying based on real or perceived orientation or gender expression. I’d really like to know what the other 37% think. With multiple recent suicides among young students resulting from bullying based on perceived sexual orientation, it is remarkable that anyone would consider this bullying behavior as acceptable.
The second half of this presentation was by Tara McKenzie Allison from TransOhio. Her presentation went through the succession of case rulings in Ohio pertaining to Title VII protection from discrimination based on sex under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I loved the excerpt she pulled from a case opinion relating transitioning transgendered people to a convert of any religion. An employer cannot say they are okay with Jews and Christians, while discriminating on those that convert; thus, Title VII should also protect those that are in the process of transitioning their sex or gender.
The second event of the week, the discussion group with staff from Jones Day, was less relevant to gay rights in general and to even my own aspirations, but it was still an excellent event to attend. Greg Gorospe, a partner who is also involved in their diversity initiatives, said all the right things. But he also acknowledged that simply saying the right things, or having the right policies on the books, cannot substitute for an opening and accepting culture. I was glad that the discussion group also included Travis Jackson, an openly gay associate at Jones Day. His remarks about the business culture and how welcoming the company has been to him and his partner were important. The disparaging revelation came not from Jones Day, but rather, the lack of response for the other large firms that the OutLaws co-chairs Drew and Kara contacted. Their silence or reasons to not participate indicate that although some firms, like Jones Day, may be good work environments for the GLBT community, many still have remnants to the unfortunate white, male, conservative roots of the legal community.
I want to thank Kara and Drew for helping to plan these events and Kim, Tara, Greg, and Travis for their presentations. I’d encourage you to check out the links above if you want to learn more about the organizations or their initiatives.