October 17, 2012

Coming Out as a Gay Athlete, Part Deux

Although I posted about this topic previously, there's a lot to say on it, so here's my second round (of...many?) with thoughts on coming out as a gay athlete in today's sports culture.


I guess it should come as no surprise that my current WIP features a jock. What can I say? What with Man-to-Man Coverage (parts one and two) and Into the Deep (in MLR Press's Going for Gold anthology), athletes just seem to be a thing with me. ;) With that said, the fact that there's no professional athlete who is gay and out is mind boggling.  I'm about to go math geek on you all, so please bear with me. *shameless grin*

Let's look at the percentages, shall we?

As far as I can tell, there's no real pinpointed data on how many LGBT people there are in the U.S., but I've seen estimates of anywhere from two percent to upwards of twenty.  Setting that aside for a sec, even more telling is to look at the number of professional athletes out there.

NBA (basketball, for those of you not versed in professional sports acronyms): 360-450 players*
NHL (hockey): 690-1500*
MLB (baseball): 750-1200*
NFL (football): 1696
*These numbers depend on whether you consider contracted and eligible-for-the-roster athletes (versus actually on the roster athletes) as professional players or not.

Okay, so even taking the lower end of those numbers, there are at least around 3500 professional male athletes out there.  And, again, NONE of them is an "out" gay athlete. How is this possible?  If we took the most conservative two percent estimate, that would mean that at least seventy gay athletes are closeted because of...the real or perceived negative reactions they expect to receive were they to come out as a gay athlete.

Normally, I'd point now to the progress that we've seen in professional athletes' thoughts on having a gay teammate and their support of gay rights.  In fact, I found a ton of articles with interviews for my previous post on this topic.  Since that time, there were even more supportive articles, most notably, in my opinion, NFL player Chris Kluwe's editorials on the subject of gay rights and gay marriage.  Just take a gander at his brilliant, funny, insightful, and scathing letter defending a fellow NFL player's support of gay marriage and his later witty, eloquent, and totally on point post for the Minnesota twincities.com blog.  Note that Kluwe was also featured in OUT Magazine with a *fans self* scorchingly hot picture accompaniment.  With all of the publicity his letters and NFL players received for speaking out positively in favor of LGBT rights, it would seem the tides were turning.

But then a baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays, shortstop Yunel Escobar, very publicly wore an anti-gay slur on his eye black for all the world to see. And the MLB said they were "investigating" this action.  And so I thought, Wow, maybe this is the time for professional sports to take a gay-friendly stance!

Nope.  Escobar was suspended for three games.

Three games.  In a sport where the regular season runs 162 games. To put that into perspective, the NFL season is 16 games, and the equivalent would be to suspend an NFL player for approximately one QUARTER of one game. That doesn't send a gay-friendly message; it sends an "I guess we should do something about this, but it's clearly not too important to us" one.

So after what felt like a positive leap forward with NFL players stepping up to support gay marriage, LGBT rights, and being open to having a gay teammate, professional sports, in my opinion, took two steps back when it (1) failed to chastise Escobar's absolutely ridiculous claim that it was "just a joke" and (2) then proceeded to give him the equivalent of a "haha, boys will be boys" slap on the wrist.

I'm feeling very conflicted about professional sports right now.

Hoping that "boys will be boys" eventually will be interpreted to mean boys will be tolerant and accepting,
NJ



October 12, 2012

The Origin of Ideas


Where do Ideas come from? Yes, the word is worthy of a capital "I." :)



After reading my stuff, some of my [non-writing, real-life] friends asked me where those ideas came from or even, as one of them pointed out, "how do you know there's condensation that drips down the beer bottle?" To which I kind of shrugged, nonplussed, and said, "I don't know - it just looks like that in my head."

In terms of process, I'm definitely a plotter. I visualize the general steps that need to occur for my boys to get from Point A to Point HEA. ;) But beyond that and for details, I guess things just sort of...happen?  My ideas come from everyday life mixed with my natural questioning of "what if?" I think of these characters that I like (that I really REALLY REALLY like, hehe) and then I figure out...what if they got together? What if they found each other in this crazy world of six billion people and discovered that they were just kind of...well...perfect for each other?

As for specifics, those ideas just come from life mixed with imagination.  I brainstorm while massaging shampoo into my scalp or staring into my bathroom sink with a toothbrush in my mouth. I went out to Hawaii for a wedding-slash-vacation, and I dreamed up...well, you'll have to see what happens in my latest WIP. ;) I see post-game locker room interviews, and...let's just say I speculate, as I'm sure you'll notice in my Man-to-Man Coverage stories. I come up with names while I'm hanging out with my friends.  Anecdotal side note: John Damian Sloane, the sweetheart Olympic diver from my story "Into the Deep" in the Going for Gold anthology, received his middle name after I drooled over -- I mean MET *ahem ahem* -- Damian, the stunningly attractive Team Red-and-Gold knight whom our group was rooting for at the Medieval Times during my friend's birthday party. Basically, I live life and am fortunate enough to have ideas and inspiration appear.

That's how it works for me, anyway. I wonder how it works for everyone else...?

Doing her nails and figuring out who's *ahem* doing whom,
NJ



October 5, 2012

New Projects, Insomnia & My Theoretical Profession of the Day

I started writing a new m/m story about two college guys on my flight out to Hawaii.  The first part and the general set up for the romance came pretty easily for me. I have the first scene written and a general plotty idea of what happens until the HEA.  I swear, it's going to be suuuuuper cute, and I have a couple of very specific scenes in mind for these boys already.  Since that flight, though, I haven't had a chance and/or the desire to sit down and write the darn thing. *pouts* I know, writer's block is annoying - ugh. It's not that I don't want to tell their story; it's more like I can't sit still to do it!

The Manoa Falls hike in Hawaii.  They filmed the T-Rex opening in "Jurassic Park" here.

While I've been wrestling with that, though, a bunch of other stuff has happened. Like...my FUNemployment has officially begun. Woohoo! In the last few days of not being in the working world, I have made two cat capes for my cat. Yes, I'm sorta riding the crazy cat lady wave in that sense, but I swear...it's for practical trying-to-keep-him-warm-when-his-short-haired-domestic-fur-doesn't-do-the-job purposes! That's kind of what I mean by not sitting still, though - I feel all arts-and-crafty and stuff now, and funemployment has totally been the catalyst for that.

Super Nico is a super cat!

One of the crafty things that came up, actually, is related to this awesome Groupon deal for Vistaprint that I came across (hat tip to my Going for Gold co-contributor Annabeth Albert for the find!).  I bought the Groupon, moseyed on over to Vistprint, and now, somehow, it's suddenly 4AM, and that's mainly because I've been so caught up in designing some swag stuff to give away. I am suuuuuuuper excited about what I came up with, and I just need to figure out who would want them and where I'd give them out. If I gave some away on this blog, would anyone care for a piece of swaggy swag? ;) (I guess I should also sit my butt down and write more, too, but let's ignore the writer's block situation for a moment, okay?)

That leads me to my theoretical profession of the day. I loooooved putting together the promo pieces, coming up with the concepts and slogans, and designing them. It felt kinda arts-and-crafty as I chose fonts, colors, layouts and stuff, but also kinda bargain-hunter-y as I scoured the internet for tie-ins on the ideas I had. As such, I've decided that, for the next 24 hours, my "maybe I'll do this" profession is in marketing and/or advertising. Hey, I have a B.A. in Communication Studies, so it's not tooooooo far-fetched, I swear! You never know, right? :)

Heading to bed with visions of swag dancing in her head,
NJ