Monday, March 5, 2012

The You Can Play Project

It's odd sometimes how fiction can echo real life, or one can follow the other. My book that is coming out in May and the sequel that I have finished and is out to beta readers Donna Hole and Jeff Adams (embedded links to their websites) features a protagonist who is among many things, a gay collegiate hockey player (in the first book he's in high school). In the second book, he plays on the Cornell hockey team as a forward and really...no one cares. They just care about his skill. He's fully out, everyone likes him, and he leads a healthy life as a student athlete. But was I really writing fiction? At the time that I first started drafting it over a year ago...I might have been tempted to say yes.

Now...not so much. The world is changing, despite the rhetoric from the right-wing that would have Santorum stripping homosexuals of their human rights.

I can't say how happy I am (and a little stunned) that the NHL is THE FIRST organization to step forward and make it known that a man's sexual orientation should not matter in sports. It's a person's ability to play that should be measured.

Please go and visit the You Can Play Project and voice your support (or do so here in the comments). Locker rooms and sports venues should be free of homophobia. Athletes should only be judged on skill and work ethic.

Anyway, this is a great public service announcement. Go check out the background on this fantastic movement by reading the article at the Washington Post. Have a great Monday.

38 comments:

  1. It is really a great public service announcement site! "You Can Play Project", i remember it now!

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  2. Donnzie is your beta reader? How much do you pay her in Pepsi? :))

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  3. Nice that you're letting people know about this. I'm jealous I'm not your beta reader! However, I did notice that I'm on your sidebar as a blog you read everyday. I'm touched. Thank you.

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  4. Fantastic! I hadn't heard about this campaign before. Things are definitely improving. Who's going to tell a hockey player they're wrong?!?

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  5. It would be difficult for a hockey player to come out of the closet. There is a lot of trash talk on the ice, which would make for a very difficult time.

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  6. Everyone should be able to work, play, and live without hateful slander or demeaning comments.

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  7. I agree. Why should it even matter? *shrug*

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  8. @Dezmond: I had no idea Donna loved Pepsi. I shall have to see if she wants any.

    @Grumpy: I agree.

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  9. I heard that Habs player in the eighties, two times fifty goal scorer Stephane Richer, was homosexual. Honestly, it would explain the self-loathing, the erratic performances and the attempted suicide after he won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils. He never admitted anything though, but having a secret like this would explain a lot of things about his rollercoaster career.

    I heard Glen Anderson from the Edmonton Oilers was gay also. These are the two players I've ever heard of. It's still a very alpha world. In Canada, hockey players are the equivalent of football players in the US. The jocks.

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  10. As long as you're healthy and you got some skills, sexual orientation shouldn't matter.

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  11. The problem is not that sexuality shouldn't matter but that nothing should matter. Not sexuality. Not sex. Not race. Not any number of other things that get in the way of the most qualified person from getting the job.

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  12. You have two amazing beta readers. I'm jealous. As for the announcement, I thought it was done well. And I'm looking forward to your book and Housekeeper's Son in May. :)

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  13. How awesome is the NHL?! Go them for getting with the frickin times.

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  14. Glad to hear that they are taking a stand. Hopefully more organizations will follow...and really mean it.

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  15. In brief, love this and hate Santorum (except for his wikipedia definition).

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  16. Difficult to come out in about any sport I would imagine.

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  17. I'm glad to see what the NHL is doing. My husbands mind was changed about gay men when he first saw the film, 'Philadelphia' starring Tom Hanks. He turned to me in the theater and said, "They are just like everyone else." I said, "Of course they are." People just need to be educated and their biases challenged by the truth.

    The hatred the Christian Right has against gays has actually helped good people accept gays. Good people don't like to see hatred of any kind.
    When you wrote about fiction becoming reality, it reminded me of when 'The China Syndrome' came out 12 days before the accident at Three Mile Island.

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  18. We're all human beings entitled to all the rights of humanity, irregardless of religious affliation or lack thereof, sexual orientation, IQ, etc. etc.

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  19. I think it's great too, Michael. There's so much phobia in sports in general. I'm a HUGE sports fan (of every level), and have played much of my life (even now ... I qualify for the old man leagues); I'm generally not shocked by the level of insensitivity and blatant bigotry I see and hear, I'm just used to it. A bad thing that can hopefully change.

    It's just wrong to hate. Plain and simple. Kids (adults too) don't hear that enough from people they admire.

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  20. Of course sexual orientation should have no bearing on a person's ability/right to play a sport, work in a job, or any other activity.

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  21. It seems like there's always something. Sexism, racism, bigotry towards other religions, etc. I like to think that bigotry towards sexual orientation will soon be on that list.

    The thing I've noticed in classrooms is that the more academically motivated students tend to be more accepting while the lowest of the low in classes tend to be the worst homophobes.

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  22. Glad you brought this to our attention. It really is only skill and ability that matters. If somebody has homophobia - then I guess they need to stay away, but for the most part I think people are being more opening minded of it. At least I hope so.

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  23. I honestly don't get the homo fear. They're just people. Bogey people, I guess. Like muslims...and hispanics...and who else am I supposed to be afraid of?

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  24. Tolerance and kindness should be in every workplace and profession. So good to know society is making some progress despite any Neanderthal politicians.

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  25. Look forward to your upcoming book release. I want to read it.

    I think homophobia is simply fear and ingorance. At this time, equality is the issue for everyone not matter the sexual preference, race, culture etc. I just don't get the far right and the hate.

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  26. Ice Hockey is the only sport I actually liked to watch when we lived in Utah. No such thing here in Florida. I had no idea any sports teams banned gays. What's the logic? I sort of get it for the military because I know the pressure for sex was strong in tech school. I imagine it's worse during long deployments. But how long is a sports team in isolation?

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  27. @Johanna Is that the horrible candidate who was talking about how he didn't support gays? I saw part of that speech but forgot who it was. I was very upset about that because I heard he was very popular in Oklahoma where I live.

    @Liz I think your theory about intelligence and acceptance definitely is plausible. I saw this as someone who is in high school and often hears derogatory comments that make her want to smack her classmates...

    I am a huge supporter of gay rights. How can you tell me I'm supposed to hate someone because of who they love? Though personally I don't think you should judge who you love by their gender and should love them for who they are.

    There is a boy at my school who I have had many classes with. In the eighth grade we had to write a persuasive essay. His was over why gay marriage wrong. I found out this year his older brother is gay. I was horrified even more than I had been when he had presented his essay to the class (about the essay, not the brother).

    I also bawled so hard during the last Glee episode when (SPOILER) Karosky tried to commit suicide when that boy leaked to his new school that he was gay.

    And so I have written you a novel...

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  28. DIET PEPSI guys! Only that will do :) And in the can so I can reap the recycling benefits.

    The world will one day mature past judgements based on sexual orientation, but it seems like it is taking too long. Novels like your own Michael, that treat the relationship like any other romantic aspect, can't help but pave the way. One day phrases like "coming out of the closet" will be meaningless. Whole generations yet unborn will be scratching their heads to figure out what it means as they read literary classics and news reports from our era.

    It will happen, I am sure of it.

    And, I have started on Occulus. It is as intriguing as Slipstream was. Oddly my first comment was "hmm, you can delete the first line for a more active hook". And then I continued on reading, so glad I get to read it so soon after finishing the first. I hate waiting for books in a series to be released :)

    ........dhole

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  29. Gay athletes are not uncommon in professional sports, albeit, most are reluctant to "come out" because of the public spotlight that would invariably be focused on them.

    It's cool that the NHL has taken an initial step and agreed that ones sexual orientation should not matter.

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  30. This is great. Thanks for sharing. This is nice to see, especially after Kirk Cameron's crap.

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  31. The NHL coming out with this message is a very important first step. Though I fear it will take some time for this message to become part of the overall (everday) mentality of the people involved.

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  32. Of course sexual orientation shouldn't matter, in the same way that race, religion or anything else shouldn't matter. The awful fact is, though, that too often, and to too many people it does. That's why things like this are so fantastic. Sports people are the types of people that are looked up to. Whether they want to be or not, they are role models.

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  33. Nice message there. Here's to being free to pursuing your interests without persecution for who you are.

    Cheers.

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  34. I honestly don't understand why people are so focused on other people's sexuality. Who cares? I know I don't. ::Shrug::

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  35. I'm quite sure the NFL will never do anything like this. *thinking again to see if I am jumping the gun* Nope, quite sure.

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