Friday, September 5, 2008

Bejing's Olympic-Sized Closet: Survey Results! (And an Idea For Michael Phelps to change the world!)


Michael Phelps
(and all the other Olympic Medal Winners) could hold a Press Conference
- not as Gay-
but coming out
in support of GLBTQ Athletes -
And let's make sure our GLB medal winners are there, too!

Where did I get such a great idea? YOU. Thanks to everyone who answered the Bejing's Olympic-Sized Closet survey, and here are the results you've been waiting for!

1. Do you think it's possible that out of over 11,000 athletes at this summer's Olympics, only 11 are Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual?

93% to 7%! That was a huge "NO!"

2. Rank the five reasons below, from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) for What are the biggest factors keeping GLBTQ Olympic Athletes from coming OUT?

Here, in order are your answers:

Most Important Reason (5): If they come out, they might lose sponsorships and money

Next (4): If they come out, they might lose team and peer support

Next (3): If they come out, they might be rejected by family and friends

Next (2): If they come out, they might not be allowed to represent their country

Least Important Reason (1): If they come out, they might be victims of violence

Also, there was this comment suggesting another reason:

Certainly the climate of acceptance varies worldwide, so speaking strictly about American athletes... Among the thousands of athletes representing the USA, (a) how many are big enough superstars to get major media attention and interviews, a la Michael Phelps, and (b) how often do family/partners come up in such interviews, period? I'm not extremely tuned into the Olympic media coverage, but whenever I do pop in I'm hearing interviewers ask about training and performance, not the athletes' personal lives. Perhaps there are many more athletes who, in their daily lives, are out GLBTQ individuals, but haven't been asked the "right" questions for their sexuality to have attracted media attention.

3. What are some ideas you like and/or we can come up with as a community to encourage more GLBTQ Athletes to come OUT?

No-one thought that OUTING closeted atheletes by the Gay Media and blogs was a good idea.

79% of you thought that this was a good idea: The Gay community could support OUT athletes with attention/sponsorships/speaking events that could aim to make up for possible lost revenue from homophobic or nervous nelly sponsors

21% of you thought this was a good idea: Athletes could come together to support each other in coming OUT

Then there were three additional ideas suggested:

Do awareness raising, such as with books like Breaking the Surface.

Have top medal winning athletes, gay and straight, come out in support of gay athletes. The athletes have the power to change this...and they will. The athletes are the show, they have the power.


The support should also come from the straight majority, especially the sponsors who're supposed to back these athletes. If sponsors are vocal in their support of diversity and condemnation/intolerance of homophobia (and use their money and clout to show that they're not kidding around), more GLBT athletes would feel comfortable enough to be out. Hopefully, anyway.

Great ideas! So okay, Michael - you've started a foundation... Here's one more good thing you can do with your fame!

Call up some fellow athletes, gay and straight, medal winners all... and have a press conference!

You athletes have the power... and acting together, you (and we) can change the world!

Pictured above, left to right: Bejing Summer Olympics 2008 Gold Medal Winners Michael Phelps, Matthew Mitcham, and Natasha Kai

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