Thursday, March 09, 2006

Crystal Lake Park District Re-Votes: OKs Gay Games

The Trib covers the re-vote.

Board President Jerry Sullivan, who was absent for the first vote, cast the deciding vote in favor of the games. Now the City Councils of Lakewood and Crystal Lake (the two bordering municipalities) will vote on whether to allow the games by restricting wakes on the lakes during the events.

The same two members of the board, David Phelps and Scott Breeden again voted against allowing the event.

They commented:
"I have been threatened," Breeden said. "I have been called names I do not appreciate. To be called a homophobe and names just because I'm trying to represent the people who elected me, I feel uncomfortable."

"I was not elected to be park commissioner to the world," Phelps said. "I was elected to represent the people of Crystal Lake."

Of course, I am appalled to hear of any substantial threats that Breeden may have received, although I would like to hear what these threats were. After all, the rest of his statement is so ridiculous, it does call into question his judgement. He reflects that part of our society that will happily perform acts of bigotry and then became up said when they are called "bigots". If the people of Crystal Lake are homophobic and these men choose to represent their constituency, I would wish that they at least have the courage to say, "Yes, we have performed homophobic acts, but we did them as proud representatives of our homophobic community!"

As to the common complaint that "sports should not be about a sexual/political agenda", I think this exchange highlights the viewpoints quite well:

George Stasiak of Crystal Lake said the name "Gay Games" is offensive because no one should flaunt his or her sexuality in public.

On Wednesday, Baim said the name is not about sexuality.

"There's not a need for a `Heterosexual Games' because heterosexual people are not oppressed and killed for who they are and who they love," Baim said.

Sadly, we can see this reality even in this victory of Gay Games proponents, Co-Chairperson of the Games, Tracy Baim:

She also pledged that organizers would spend the next four months trying to soothe any lingering concerns about the event.

Think about this: Remember when you reserved the park for your company BBQ, or your child played Little League their during the summer?

There was no need to spend the months preceding the event ensure people that your contingent wouldn't ruin the park and corrupt the community. You weren't stereotyped based on historical prejudices against your group.

If we look at history, one would wonder why we don't prevent straight, conservative, European Americans from using parks--they sure haven't demonstrated a talent at playing well with others and sharing civic resources...


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