This is a story about a friend of ours down in California, really funny and really disturbing, I thought people had changed there narrow-minded ways, we have almost rid ourselves of the bush legacy; obham is coming… and now this.
Some of you know that I played on a dodge ball team consisted of only gay men and we called ourselves Fine Active Gentlemen’s Society (FAGS). We are the only gay team in the league and went unnoticed last season since we did not win a single game. This season, however, we went all the way to the championship and we played at Staple center, the city’s main sport arena, also the home court of the Clipper, professional basketball. We played after the Clipper game, so there was a lot of audience that were not there to see us. In the aftermath of the passing of Prop. 8, the constitutional ban on gay marriage in California, there are a lot of anger, debate and general bewilderment among those who care. In truth, we were just a bunch of gays out to have fun and have no intention to make any political statement.
Lovely Pim made these amazing jersey and shipped them all the way from Bangkok for us. The jersey has a big o FAGS in front in gold with glitter. Throughout the whole process of getting the jerseys made, the thought never crossed my mind that it would solicit such strong reactions both from our supporters and opponents. I guess I took it for granted from the somewhat insulated world of WEHO and Silver lake, that there is still homophobia in a liberal city like LA. In short, I thought the jerseys were fun, ironic and show we could take a degradatory word and owned it, taking the power away from its hateful meaning.
My first encounter was wearing it to lunch and getting strange looks and snickering from people. I was a bit surprised, but it hit me that some people were not okay with this. At Staple, everyone got a lot looks, partly people were not sure what they were seeing, but then came the dirty looks once they realized who were, etc. We got a couple guys yelled out Yes on Prop 8. A few of the team members got harassed in the bathroom where guys were banging on their doors, yelling faggot. The moment that got me was when we were surrounded by security guards, asking us to cover up as they said we were offending the audience and that they are concerned about our safety. Our team was silent, a few covered up and a few of us were ready to put up a good fight for our freedom of expression. I looked around and sensed a bit of fear, and that made me angry as no one should be fearful to be who they are. It was a loaded feeling that I could only guess the root of it.
At any rate, there was a sweet moment when we were running into the stadium and random Clippers’ fans were cheering us on and followed us. That was a bit emotional as I realize there were people who with us, on our side too. The best part is that we emerged victorious and won the championship! It was a great night at the Staple!
Thought I share this special moment with you all. Attached see our team photo (the guy in the middle is our maskscot, a peacock).