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8th annual Pride Night and fireworks at Dodger Stadium

It was awesome that the Dodgers kicked butt right off the bat in the first inning and won 12-1 with multiple home runs

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By NiK Kacy | LOS ANGELES – Tonight was the first major public outing for me, and like many others in the queer community, we chose Dodger’s Pride Night as our “baptism”. I have to admit I was very excited, since the biggest outing I’ve had so far post coming-out-of-quarantine was brunch at the Abbey.

Upon arriving at Dodger Stadium, I started to feel the energy change as I got closer and closer to the inside concession areas. People were excited and ready to get their Pride on! However, I remember feeling something different as well. It was a different kind of energy. It felt like a renewal of sorts as I walked by people putting on their Dodger Pride T-shirts and dazzling rainbow attire.

The night started off with the usual fanfare of introducing the lineup and the owners of the Dodgers, which now includes minority stake owner, tennis legend Billie Jean King, who came out as gay back in 1981, an incredible feat in itself. Since becoming owners of the Dodgers, Billie Jean and her partner, Ilana Kloss have stressed LGBTQ+ inclusion, so it was interesting to see what this Pride night would be like.

Billie Jean King (Photo by Jon SooHoo © Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2019)

Most Pride nights all use the same formula of creating a commemorative item to give away and fly the rainbow flag everywhere for this one night. For this year’s event, there had been a lot of talk within my circle of friends that the ticket prices were higher and that many queer, trans, and gender nonconforming folks, especially who are people of color, cannot afford a $50 nosebleed ticket. I was surprised to see the event was sponsored by Blue Shield and still cost so much for one night of Pride. Perhaps being an ally might include making the tickets affordable for people who are under-represented?

Every event has a wow factor and tonight’s wow factor for me was Black, queer artist, VINCINT, who sang the Star Spangled Banner. It was probably hands down one of my favorite renditions of the song I’ve ever heard. He absolutely slayed. However, as I listened to his glorious vocals, my heart dropped as I listened to the words of the song, and somehow was reminded that here I was watching this incredibly talented Black gay man sing these words next to our American flag, flying in the background, and yet these symbols of America did not protect this man or many of us who were sitting there. It was bittersweet and even my friend told me later that she cried a bit while watching for the same reasons.

Overall, it was a great night but I definitely felt conflicted in so many ways. Of course it felt
great to be out and feeling the camaraderie of having my community there. During the “Kiss Cam”
break we got to see queer couples kissing on the big screen and it lit my heart up. It was also
awesome that the Dodgers kicked butt right off the bat in the first inning and won 12-1 with multiple
home runs, despite the fact that so many seats were empty.

I don’t know if it was because we were all just happy to be around people again or if wearing a mask feels like a veil of protection, but I chatted up a lot of people while waiting in the elevator and Dodger Dog line.

One queer couple mentioned that they were disappointed they weren’t able to get the commemorative Pride cup because the bartender downstairs “couldn’t be bothered” to walk around the bar to grab the special cups. This didn’t sit well with me of course as inclusivity and allyship should not be performative but should be part of the ethos of a company for Dodgers. I also felt conflicted at one point when I looked around and realized all the folks with Pride shirts on were sitting in one particular area of the stadium, like we were all put in one corner of the field. Sure, it felt nice to know we were surrounded by “our people,” but a part of me also thought “maybe one day, we will no longer need to be placed together and can freely sit everywhere and feel safe.”

My favorite part about tonight though was running into so many familiar faces. It made my heart sing to see so many people I hadn’t seen, let alone hugged, in so long. One of these beautiful humans was my dear friend Rose Garcia, a celesbian icon in our community after having been on the show, The Real L-Word.

I asked her what she thought of tonight’s event and I think ending this with her quote pretty much sums it all up – “I love that our city was or I believe is one of the first to host a Pride night. Dodger Stadium has always felt inclusive even more now with an LGBTQ owner. Love it!

Hopefully we’ll have more than just one night in the near future.”

NiK Kacy is a 2021 recipient of the City of West Hollywood’s Rainbow Key award.

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German soccer federation: Trans players can decide their team to play on

“This new regulation on playing rights will provide an important foundation to allow players with diverse gender identities to play football”

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Photo courtesy of the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.)

FRANKFURT – The German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.) this week issued new regulations and rules governing all transgender, intersex and non-binary players. On Thursday the governing soccer body passed a new regulation that takes effect as of the start of the upcoming 2022-23 season allowing all trans, intersex and non-binary players to decide for themselves whether to compete on men’s or women’s teams.

The DFB also specified that as long as the player’s health is not affected by playing sports while taking medication, they can continue to participate in the sport. Under the new regulation, this would not be considered as doping.

This marks a departure from the recent trend and actions of other international sports governing associations such those taken earlier this month by the swimming’s world governing body FINA, which meeting in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest, voted to restrict transgender athletes from elite women’s competitions.

FINA said their action was necessary to determine eligibility criteria because of the “biological performance gap” that appears between males & females.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, the DFB’s diversity ambassador, said “Football (soccer) stands for diversity, a value that the DFB also promotes. This new regulation on playing rights will provide an important foundation to allow players with diverse gender identities to play football.”

Sabine Mammitzsch, the vice president for women’s and girls’ football (soccer) welcomes the regulation telling media outlets:

“The national and regional associations and also those responsible at grassroots level have signaled for some time that there is uncertainty around how to treat trans, intersex and non-binary players in practice. They therefore welcome the introduction of a far-reaching, nationwide regulation on the playing rights of these groups.”

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NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell talks to Billie Jean King on impact of Title IX

The impact of Title IX on women’s sports is significant. The law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women

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Screenshot/YouTube NBC Nightly News

NEW YORK – This week marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX which was signed into law June 23, 1972 by then President Richard Nixon. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

Title IX states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Two years after Title IX was signed into law, King founded the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974. In 1971, before Title IX passed, only 1% of college athletic budgets went to women’s sports programs. At the high school level, male athletes outnumbered female athletes 12.5 to 1. 

The impact of Title IX on women’s sports is significant. The law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women, and while female athletes and their sports programs still have fewer teams, fewer scholarships, and lower budgets than their male counterparts, since Title IX’s passage, female participation at the high school level has grown by 1057 percent and by 614 percent at the college level.

The impact of Title IX stretches into professional sports as well. More opportunities have emerged for young women to turn their sport into their career, particularly in the WNBA. Collegiate and professional coaching opportunities have increased as well.

An openly Out lesbian, King and her longtime partner Ilana Kloss joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as co-owners in September of 2018.

NBC News reported that fifty years after Title IX was signed, the impact of the law is still being felt by women in sports across the country. Tennis legend, Billie Jean King, who has devoted her life to fighting for gender equality in sports, spoke with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell regarding Title IX. She explained that while we have come a long way there is “much more to do.”

Billie Jean King Discusses Title IX Fifty Years Later:

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World swimming body FINA votes to ban Trans athletes

FINA says it was necessary to determine eligibility criteria because of the “biological performance gap” that appears between males & females

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FINA's president, Husain Al-Musallam, announcing the new policy Sunday in Budapest (Screenshot/YouTube 10 News First)

BUDAPEST – The Swimming’s world governing body FINA meeting in the Hungarian capital city voted to restrict transgender athletes from elite women’s competitions. The final vote tally of the representatives was 71.5% approval for the new policy which requires transgender athletes show that “they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later.”

Enactment of that requirement effectively eliminates trans women’s eligibility to compete in the women’s category.

Tanner Stages describe the physical changes people undergo during puberty.

“We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions,” FINA’s president, Husain Al-Musallam, said in a statement.

The organisation is maintaining that it was necessary to use sex and sex-linked traits to determine eligibility criteria because of the “performance gap” that appears between males and females during puberty.

“Without eligibility standards based on biological sex or sex-linked traits, we are very unlikely to see biological females in finals, on podiums, or in championship positions; and in sports and events involving collisions and projectiles, biological female athletes would be at greater risk of injury,” the statement from FINA’s new policy read.

Athlete Ally, which advocates for Trans athletes responded:

“FINA’s new eligibility criteria for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex variations is deeply discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 International Olympic Committee framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations,” said Anne Lieberman, Director of Policy and Programs at Athlete Ally.

“This sudden and discriminatory decision is a blatant attack on transgender athletes who have worked to comply with longstanding policies that have allowed them to participate for years without issue,” said Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President. “This policy is an example of swimming organizations caving to the avalanche of ill-informed, prejudiced attacks targeted at one particular transgender swimmer. We urge the FINA to rethink its policy and ensure inclusion for all athletes — including transgender women – and allow them to participate in sports free from discrimination, abuse and harassment.

“To the young athletes who may be disheartened by this policy, know that we know and believe that every young person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and that transgender kids, like their friends, deserve the same chances to learn sportsmanship, self-discipline, and teamwork, and to build a sense of belonging with their peers,” Madison added.

Swimming Body FINA Votes To Segregate Trans Athletes | 10 News First:

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