Local gay community applauds release of Las Vegas Raider – Times-Herald

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Rick Mariani recalls playing in the San Francisco Gay Softball League “many years ago” with former Oakland A and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke, who in 1977 became the league’s first player. adults to become gay while continuing to play.

“He was a huge talent whose life and career were tragic for the way his team and management avoided him,” recalls Mariani.

The Vallejo photographer believes Carl Nassib will find a completely different reception after the 28-year-old Las Vegas Raiders defensive end turned out to be gay on Monday.

“I’m happy that those days are over and that Carl Nassib is being treated the way he always has been in his five years of playing in the NFL,” Mariani said. “He’s no different. He’s the same guy and the same footballer. He just decided to tell the truth about himself which only makes him stronger.

Mariani said, “Things have changed so much these days. I hope there will be no negative reaction from his teammates. There aren’t many people who don’t personally know a homosexual because it has become so common. Friends, family members, co-workers and even in the world of sports, it is becoming more and more common. “

Mariani praised Nassib for “the way he’s handled” admitting he’s gay.

“He wasn’t looking for attention and said he was a very private person,” Mariani said. “He also donated $ 100,000 to the Trevor Project which helps prevent LBGTQ youth suicides, which unfortunately happen too often. “

Granted, Mariani is not a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders, “but that will sharpen my interest in seeing their games so that I can cheer him on to be successful.”

Thomas Bilbo, board member of the Solano Pride Center, said the news of an active NFL player “stepping out to live an authentic life is welcome. With this, it will give hope to other players and young people who are facing the same decisions. “

A sports figure like Carl Nassib “can give hope to millions of young people who struggle with their own coming out stories,” Bilbo added. “Plus, bringing out a figure like Carl while playing one of the more masculine sports and being accepted by teammates and coaches should help tackle the epidemic proportions of bullying we have in schools.”

“I think it’s great. I think it will help a lot of young players who might be in the closet and afraid to come out for fear of society, fear how they will be discriminated against and fear their families will reject them. “Said Mario Saucedo of the Solano AIDS Coalition.” It will give them courage. You cannot deny who you are.

While not a Las Vegas Raider fan, Vallejo photographer Rick Mariani has said he will keep an eye out for the team’s Carl Nassib, who turned out to be gay this week. (Courtesy photo)

Vallejoan Wayne Goodman, an author focusing on gay characters, applauded Nassib.

“I think it would be incredibly difficult for a sports professional to reveal their alternate sexuality to their teammates,” said Goodman. “Unless he previously leaked this information before it went public, I can only imagine it might cause some discomfort in the locker room.”

However, added Goodman, “The younger generation seems to have less blockages about sexual orientation than we do. I believe many of them see themselves as ‘gender fluent’, comfortable expressing their feelings regardless of masculinity / femininity. “

Even so, he continued, “I guess a few of the ‘boys’ (teammates) will be upset and several will be intrigued. Some might even be flattered.

Goodman believes Nassib isn’t the only gay player in the NFL.

“I’m going to go off on a pretty solid branch and say there’s more to it than you expect,” Goodman said. “Some of them are fine with that, but some don’t know how to deal with their true feelings and they act hyper-masculinity and defensiveness. Or worse, physical violence.

“I can only hope that one day an athlete’s personal life won’t grab the headlines and the topic will be moot,” Goodman said. “If Carl Nassib’s actions prevent a young person from hurting himself or being hurt by others, it will have been worth it.”

The late San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk “kept a record of all the letters he received from people across the country telling him that his courage and outspokenness kept them strong in the face of adversity,” noted Goodman. “I hope Carl’s voice and self-expression serves a similar purpose, helping others who are unsure of their gender identity find inner strength and come to terms with who they are.”

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