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January 31, 2013

Coming Out as a Gay Athlete: Super Bowl Edition

Although I feel a little strange writing two "Coming Out as a Gay Athlete" posts in a row, (a) it's the Super Bowl this weekend, (b) my team (the 49ers) are in the news, and (c) they're not just in the news for the upcoming Super Bowl. Rather, they're talking about gay athletes.

First off, let me just say GO NINERS!

Secondly, here are the two stories to which I'm referring when I say the Niners are making headlines about gay athletes: (1) In an interview with a shock jock this week, cornerback Chris Culliver made homophobic remarks that a gay teammate would not be welcome on the team. (2) Separately, a story broke that served to "out" former 49ers player Kwame Harris after he was held on charges for a confrontation with an ex-boyfriend.

Where to start, where to start?

I had very mixed reactions to the Chris Culliver interview coverage. My initial reaction was to smack my forehead and groan that, just when it seems like the NFL is taking a progressive step forward to show tolerance and respect for a potentially gay athlete, some idiot - and not just ANY idiot, but an idiot on my team! - goes and drags them two steps back.  I mean, the 49ers are seriously one of the most LGBT-friendly teams in what is pretty much the gay capital of the world. It's ridiculous that one of their players would give voice to such intolerance.

But then I saw the swift and uncompromising statement released by the 49ers organization in response to Culliver's ridiculousness, and that rebuttal served to restore some faith in my team. The team shot down Culliver's statements and made it patently clear that his bigotry is not something tolerated by the organization.  Even so, it really sticks in my craw that this idiot can just go and apologize and then nothing else will happen. Ugh.  

Will the NFL take actions like the MLB did when Yunel Escobar wore an anti-gay slur on his eyeblack? As I mentioned in October, Escobar's suspension was seemingly nominal, but at least it was something.  Will the NFL even do anything in this case? Then again, perhaps the fan backlash against Culliver will be enough punishment. He's definitely not marketable for an endorsement deal at this point.

Separately, I saw that a former 49ers player, Kwame Harris, was recently inadvertently "outed" when charges were brought against him in connection with a confrontation he had with an ex-boyfriend. Again, I had some mixed reactions to this news. I mean, domestic violence is definitely a no - please don't think I'm condoning those actions in any way. In addition, being outed when you're not ready to be out is also not cool.  From what I've read, it sounds like Harris was openly gay in his private life with family and friends, but this is a whole other level and a hell of a way to be outed to the world.

With that said, I thought the reactions of a couple of the 49ers players interviewed in connection with the revelation of Kwame Harris's sexuality were completely on point.  Unlike Culliver, who made inflammatory remarks about the possibility of having a gay teammate, these guys actually did have a gay teammate. They actually played on the team with Kwame Harris, and hey! Guess what? They were cool with it. While Harris wasn't out while on the team, this info still reaffirms my belief that more NFL players are ready for a gay teammate than they would have been even five or ten years ago.

Now, with the question of gay athletes on everyone's mind, the atmosphere may be ripe for a public outing.  I me, it seems like the Super Bowl would be the perfect occasion to reveal the first openly gay professional football player, wouldn't it?

Rooting for the red-and-gold,

January 24, 2013

Coming Out as a Gay Athlete, Part Drei

In case you haven't seen the headlines or you don't follow sports news, an eyebrow-raising story broke in the last week or so about a top college football star who lied about a "girlfriend" whom he met online and with whom he had a relationship.  Now, the story is still unfolding, but the reactions I saw to the whole situation were heartbreaking in their bigotry and closed-mindedness.  Sooooo many comments I saw online basically boiled down to the theory that GirlfriendGate was all a cover up to hide the fact that the football player is gay.

While the idea of having to go through that elaborate scheme to hide your sexual orientation is unfortunate in itself, what really broke my heart was to see how many sports FANS - not necessarily athletes, but FANS of these athletes - came across as closed-minded and completely intolerant of the idea.  I will admit that one of my first thoughts upon hearing of this GirlfriendGate was this question: Could Manti Te'o become the first out professional football player?

So, yes, the thought did cross my mind because (1) when there's a lie about a non-existent girlfriend, things just look a little suspicious, and (2) this Heisman Trophy runner-up will no doubt be drafted into professional football and likely early in the first round, too. However, the difference is that I shrugged it off and thought "that would be cool and a huge step towards acceptance in that elite sports world," whereas others whose opinions I encountered online instead spewed vitriol and put him down to no end.

I've written about "Coming Out as a Gay Athlete" on this blog before back in September and October.  In those posts, I focused on the acceptance a professional gay athlete would find in the locker room amongst teammates and fellow players, and what I found were mostly accepting and positive attitudes towards having a gay teammate.

What I never considered could be an issue was the reaction of sports fans to having a gay athlete on their favorite team.

I just don't understand why an athlete's sexual orientation would even matter to the fan who is rooting for that team. It's not like being homosexual would affect one's skills on the field or turf. As long as the player continues to play at his peak, then why does it even matter?

In the end, I think the answer to my Manti Te'o question is "no." Subsequent interviews with the college athlete seem to indicate he was duped and had no knowledge of the hoax played on him.  It's too bad that he had to go through that experience on national television, but what I find equally unfortunate is the discovery of these intolerant sports fans who have come out of the woodwork.

To end things on a slightly more positive note, let me also say that I'm really excited that my San Francisco 49ers are in the Super Bowl! You know that SF fans wouldn't be like that. Hey, gay athletes who have Manti's talent, we have room on our team for your skills! :)

Rooting for the Niners and hoping things get better rather than worse,

January 17, 2013

3T, 01/17/12 - Crazypants update edition!

Brought to you by the letter "T" this week! Okay, so it's been a while since I did a 3T, but I noticed I was slacking on my posting and wanted to do an update on that crazy thing called life.

Yay, life!

So I was in a kinda winter-induced funk that may also have been influenced by Nico withdrawal. I know, I know, it's kinda sad that I'm so co-dependent. Poor baby is back in San Francisco, and I'm here, Nico-less.  I was dealing, okay? :)  Anyway, I was kinda hibernating in my apartment, sleeping in late and being fairly unproductive.  Finally, this past week I kind of picked myself up by my bootstraps (is that the right idiom??) and got with the program.

1) T is for Time: So I realized I'm running out of time here in NYC. Yikes! That's kind of crazy! I need to do my NYC stuff, so I was monitoring the tickets line for the Jimmy Fallon late night show.  (I love Jimmy Fallon.)  Finally, they had an announcement that they had tix available. Yay! After setting my alarm to wake up at a decent hour (9AM), I called and scored tickets for a taping next month. Awesome!  

Also, I realized I'm running out of time to study for the California bar exam.  Yikes! Legitimate yikes, I mean. As in...time to get on that, girl! As an explanation, even though I don't necessarily think I want to practice law in California, I want to have that option just in case.  Also, I was a lawyer for six years and went to law school for three years, so just completely throwing that out the window feels a little foolish.  I signed up for the February bar exam, and I started studying this week with the books I'd acquired for that purpose.  Let's hope things go well. 

2) T is for Tomas: Yes, Tomas.  Heh heh.  I finished my story last week, and I'm psyched! It's about a swimmer named Tomas who tries to figure out how to woo Derek, his (temporary) massage therapist.  Problem?  Tomas isn't quite that romantic and definitely isn't that good at communicating his intent, so how can he be sure if Derek is even getting the picture? I'm submitting it soon. Cross your fingers and toes that good things are coming for Tomas and Derek!

3)  T is for Turkey:  As in...the country.  As in...I booked a trip to Turkey because I'm crazy like that.  Specifically, I'll be going to Turkey, visiting Istanbul and possibly taking an intra-Turkey flight to stay in a cave hotel, for a week or so, after which I'll depart on a Turkish yacht to cruise around and check out the Mediterranean islands.  I love to travel (seriously love it), and I budgeted some serious travel money into my VU plan.  This is my first big trip with that money, and I'm psyched! Turkey looks like an amazing place rich with history and cultural opportunities.  :D

That's what's new with me. What's new with you guys?  Any WIPs or vacations coming up for you?

Pumped that she kicked her funk,

January 7, 2013

Books I Loved in 2012

This post may be a tiny bit tardy, but I consider anything "2012 in retrospect"-ish fair game as long as it's done in January. Yes, yes I do.

And, well, 2012 was the year of m/m romance for me. A romance reader for all of my adult life, I read an overwhelmingly large proportion of m/m romance this year. In no particular order, here are the top romances that I read this year.

Muscling Through by J.L.Merrow - Oh, Al. *sighs a dreamy sigh* The best and most unique narrative voice I've read this year and perhaps even...ever. Wonderful contemporary m/m set in the UK with a gentle giant narrator.

Handyman by Claire Thompson - A coming out contemporary m/m story with a gay-for-you theme. The discovery of their feelings for each other was sweet and lovely.

Gambling Men: The Novel by Amy Lane - Smokin' hot contemporary m/m about two best friends who become the best of lovers. Really beautifully told story with lots of steamy sexytimes.

An Unexpected Gentleman by Alissa Johnson - Delightful, lighthearted historical romance. The practical heroine and the rough-around-the-edges hero who has loved her from afar. Just an all around sweet romance. My first read of 2012, and it was quite a wonderful way to start the year!

Drunk Text by seventhswan. - The best of the freebie online m/m fics that I read this year. Quite simply, I loved it and its cocky, sexy chameleon narrator, too.

Pillow Talk by J.H. Knight - The Goodreads M/M Romance group's Love is Always Write event produced some gems, and this was my favorite of the lot thus far. Really great and engaging characters in a contemporary m/m with a best friends-to-lovers/gay-for-you theme. This author is definitely one to watch!

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole - YA? Really? Yup, YA. And it was fantastic. Detailed worldbuilding in a postapocalyptic setting, interesting characters, and a hot Cajun. What more can you ask for?

Thief of Shadows and Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt - Two historical romances from the Maiden Lane series. Really just beautiful and emotional romances with unique main characters and sensuous sexytimes.

Let's hope 2013 brings plenty of excellent reading, too!


January 1, 2013

Happy 2013, Romance Readers!

Happy new year, everyone!

Wow, 2012 was a year of change, and here's hoping 2013 brings with it just as many (pleasant) surprises. :) It's so strange to think that just one year ago my being "Nico Jaye" didn't exist and was nowhere on my radar even.

You see, in 2012, I began writing. Specifically, on February 27, 2012, I began writing, and it has been quite a journey of self-discovery and fun man-loving scandalosity ever since!

How did my writing adventures begin?

Well, a football picture and prompt were presented as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance group's Love is Always Write event, and when nobody picked it after a couple of days, I raised my hand (slowly...tentatively...with my other hand covering my eyes...) to volunteer my then-completely-unknown and -untested writing skillz to write a story for it.  That's how Brad and Cam came into existence, and now I seriously <3 them like none other.  The original picture and story posting discussion threads can be found here and here (note: must be a member of the group to view the thread).

Man-to-Man Coverage has just been re-released as part of the Love is Always Write anthologies, which the Goodreads M/M Romance group recently published and made available for download.  Check out Love is Always Write: Volume Six, downloadable on the Goodreads book page here. I am so proud and honored to be included in this project, and this FREE 500-page anthology includes twelve m/m romance stories for your reading pleasure.

In summary, the year of 2012 was quite a time of transition, from my discovery of writing adventures to my recent decision to enter into voluntary unemployment, and I look forward to seeing what's in store for me in the year ahead.

Best wishes for the new year to all! May 2013 be filled with love, laughter, and more scandalosity (even if it is just between the pages)! :D

Raising her glass of non-alcoholic bubbly,

Note: I'm not expecting; I just don't like the taste of alcohol. Blasphemy, I know! :)