derrick gordon finds his freedom, or well, tries to at least.
May 26, 2014 5:35 AM   Subscribe

how one gay athlete's coming out (autoplaying video) led to an activists' war
posted by and they trembled before her fury (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Left wing activists more concerned about ego, making a job out of their activism, and signalling their status as opposed to actually delivering effective change? Leading to infighting and purging? I'm Shocked. I recommend you scroll down to the "athlete ally" press release, it is amazing.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:59 AM on May 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


As a straight ally, I, Etrigan, am appalled at how this situation is damaging the nameless, faceless LGBT people who deserve to be the real story. That is why I, Etrigan, despite being a very heterosexual person, am proud that my organization, The Etrigan Ally Foundation, is establishing the Etrigan Ally Fellowship in Communicating Someone Else's Story. The EAFCSES will provide money, training and living expenses for several brave allies to support their attempts to engage in the stories of brave LGBT persons in exposing themselves to hatred, ridicule, ostracizing and physical danger.

We allies of The Etrigan Ally Foundation, despite being really, really non-gay ourselves, want the LGBT community to know that we are here to do the heavy lifting of translating your gay language into normalspeak, of standing in front of you to protect you from the dazzling flashes of cameras, and of sharing our stories of how difficult it is to choose to be tolerant in this intolerant world.

You're welcome.
posted by Etrigan at 6:01 AM on May 26, 2014 [30 favorites]


It's natural for a person to want to choreograph his own story. But in a culture where people send tweets and e-mails without thinking, and with a 24-hour news cycle ravenous for any tidbit of information, I'm astounded that he thought he could tell 10 or so people and expect it to remain secret. The only way to stay in control is to stay in front of the story. You want to come out? Then make your plans and come out. Don't tell a bunch of people and still expect you'll have plenty of time and power to manage what comes next.
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:13 AM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


You'd be surprised what can remain "secret" if your motives for secrecy are genuine.
Most people are respectful and will keep quiet if asked.

Also, the frustration that a monumental fucking tool like Hudson Taylor causes in his "Allies" must be excruciating. Perhaps they can use him as some sort of test subject. If they can make an ego of that size understand why he's doing it wrong then anyone else will be a breeze.

Edit : Go Derrick!
posted by fullerine at 6:44 AM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know how to feel about this:

It is a victory, measurable in prestige and funding, for an advocacy group to own the story of a gay athlete. Derrick Gordon's coming out belonged to the You Can Play project from start to finish.

and this

It's business—or, in the words of one media member who's dealt with numerous coalition organizations on various stories, "a dick-measuring contest." For a nonprofit, that business is publicity. You can't keep running programs without raising money; you can't raise money without exposure; and you can't get exposure if you don't get your hooks into the story of, say, the first openly gay Division I men's basketball player.

on the one hand I suppose it's progress that sports stars coming out has become something routine enough that there are groups fighting over the right to 'own' that coming out. On the other, god damn is it creepy.

Maybe that's part of what underlines some of the push back against Athlete Ally: an undigested conflict between the politics and the business, where the LGBT groups want to keep up enough of their politics to not admit that maybe it's just as much about the business.
posted by litleozy at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2014


Good for him. Closets suck.

But boy fucking hell am I looking forward to a day when this sort of thing isn't news, it's olds.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:36 AM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maybe that's part of what underlines some of the push back against Athlete Ally: an undigested conflict between the politics and the business, where the LGBT groups want to keep up enough of their politics to not admit that maybe it's just as much about the business.

See also: circuit parties, which were originally intended as fundraisers for HIV/AIDS. They've turned into huge multimillion dollar businesses, and irony of ironies, because of the drug use and rampant sex going on around said parties, have actually contributed to HIV infections.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:45 AM on May 26, 2014


I don't know how to feel about this:

It is a victory, measurable in prestige and funding, for an advocacy group to own the story of a gay athlete. Derrick Gordon's coming out belonged to the You Can Play project from start to finish.


This isn't actually something to feel conflicted about, I think. It's Gordon's story, and he wanted to give it to You Can Play. Athlete Ally are on the same team and also want the best for Gordon, so they should play ball. Ironically, I'd say that Athlete Ally's premature announcement would have made more sense if they were a hate group - an organization who wanted to make the athlete feel powerless.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:48 AM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


"This isn't a movement for straight people to feel good about themselves," says Patrick Burke of You Can Play. "This isn't a movement for straight people to make a career out of."
Quoted for the motherfucking truth. This Hudson dude is an opportunist who saw a way to make money and get his face in front of a lot of cameras. Outing someone before they're ready is just... it's the biggest NO a so-called 'ally' can possibly do.

What an assbag.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:00 AM on May 26, 2014 [15 favorites]


But how to reach that straight community? "The single easiest way to create allies is by having those people know someone who's gay," Burke says. Taylor disagrees. This is a movement still in its infancy, he says, and it needs the participation of those with the power.

"There has never been a successful social-justice movement for a minority group without the support of the majority," Taylor says. "So our theory of change is sort of contingent upon this idea that until that straight player in that Midwestern locker room understands why this is important to him, then we're not going to get there."


And somehow gay athletes on TV won't work? This is like claiming that kids could only look up to white teammates of Jackie Robinson rather than the man himself. That is bullshit and I'm glad to see that his whole condescending organization may disappear soon as more and more gay players appear.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:54 AM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


"There has never been a successful social-justice movement for a minority group without the support of the majority,"

He's uh, not exactly familiar with 20th century American history, eh?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:09 AM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm astounded that he thought he could tell 10 or so people and expect it to remain secret. The only way to stay in control is to stay in front of the story.

What are you talking about? Michael Sam's entire college football team knew about his sexual orientation all of last season. His mistake may have been trusting people he thought were his, ahem, allies. But to say he was foolish to tell people isn't in line with recent history.
posted by dry white toast at 9:21 AM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


He wasn't foolish to tell people. He was naive in thinking that it would stay a secret after he told them. He was foolish in thinking he could choreograph it as he went along. If he wanted to give the story to You Can Play, the time to have done so was immediately after telling the team. Like within hours. Once you tell other people, you lose control over what they do with the story.
posted by Longtime Listener at 9:41 AM on May 26, 2014


He was probably having faith in his teammates that they wouldn't spill the beans, ditto for the members of the administration.

Frankly I hate this whole choreographed coming out bullshit. Get interviewed for your school paper, casually mention your boyfriend, and move on. Celebrities coming out is important in ways I don't even have the words to articulate, but making these events into PR stunts is just... euuurgh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:47 AM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm with you there, FFFM. And I let my irritation get the better of me in my previous comment. The articles make it clear that Gordon was talking with You Can Play even before he told his teammates. What I should have said is that Gordon should have coordinated with You Can Play to go public with the story immediately upon telling his teammates. Get the story out fast and wide so that nobody else can run ahead of you. This is a case where even 48 hours was too long of a wait.
posted by Longtime Listener at 9:55 AM on May 26, 2014


What I should have said is that Gordon should have coordinated with You Can Play to go public with the story immediately upon telling his teammates. Get the story out fast and wide so that nobody else can run ahead of you. This is a case where even 48 hours was too long of a wait.

Coming out to one's teammates and coming out to the world are two very big and very different sorts of things. I can hardly fault a 23-year-old for wanting to see how one of them goes before taking the next step.
posted by Etrigan at 10:17 AM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


He could hire a plane and sky-write it if he wants to.

If you're the type of person who declines to keep a secret in order to personally enrich yourself then you're a tool.
There's no grey area, there's no naivete, Taylor and his group are monumental fucking assholes who cannot be trusted.

Sucks to find out like this but to say Gordon showed naiveté when other advocacy groups, members of the college administration and his own team-mates were perfectly happy to respect his wishes isn't cynical it's lazy victim blaming. It was sensible to assume his wishes would be met because all those who weren't monumental fucking assholes were happy to oblige.
posted by fullerine at 10:17 AM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


The first link - the article actually about Gordon - is really touching.
posted by jb at 10:21 AM on May 26, 2014


espn has an interview (autoplaying video?) with him as well.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 10:29 AM on May 26, 2014


I am sad to read that Chris "Lustful Cockmonster" Kluwe is affiliated with Athlete Ally. I've had a soft spot for Kluwe and his writing since that epic takedown.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:28 PM on May 26, 2014


That was a fascinating set of articles, thanks. It's great to read that Gordon seems to have been supported by his team mates after coming out and that he is reportedly much happier now.

Taylor comes across as a grade A asshole. Almost every quote from him seems to be about his need to grow his organization.
posted by medusa at 12:40 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was outed to my high school at 14 by a person I thought I trusted. It took about 20 minutes, which is remarkable because my school had 40-minute class periods.

I can't imagine what it must be like to have a complete stranger do it with a press release.

I hope Derrick Gordon makes it through the other side of this without regretting his decision, and I hope Hudson Taylor steps the fuck back and learns what being an ally actually means.
posted by spitefulcrow at 1:09 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Once you tell other people, you lose control over what they do with the story.

The news was spread early by a student intern in the university media relations office who now works for Hudson Taylor and Athlete Alley. Everyone else had enough respect for Gordon to let him come out on his own terms, even if another organization had been helping.

Taylor behaved like a jerk in running with the student intern's gossip, just to beat other organizations to the punch. I didn't see where he apologized to Gordon for that. Until he does, he'll remain a jerk.
posted by mediareport at 2:34 PM on May 26, 2014


Yep, it takes only one malicious/careless person out of an otherwise respectful group to rip a gaping hole in a veil of secrecy.

I don't blame Gordon for what happened. His naive trust is no excuse for the intern being a gossip or for Taylor being a jerk. I just think that in the 21st century, a 23-year-old college student would grasp how fast and easily information travels, and plan his announcement accordingly. This may be an unreasonable expectation on my part.
posted by Longtime Listener at 3:25 PM on May 26, 2014


I don't blame Gordon for what happened. His naive trust is no excuse for the intern being a gossip or for Taylor being a jerk. I just think that in the 21st century, a 23-year-old college student would grasp how fast and easily information travels, and plan his announcement accordingly. This may be an unreasonable expectation on my part.

"I don't blame the victim, but he should have known better."

Even though the world is full of dicks, maybe we shouldn't blame people for having higher expectations than that.
posted by spitefulcrow at 3:47 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


You mean we should expect everyone to behave honorably and we should be dumbfounded when some of them don't? I must have been burned unusually early and often by people I trusted, because that Pollyannaish attitude was scalded out of me long ago.
posted by Longtime Listener at 4:23 PM on May 26, 2014


You need to have someone scald the definitions of "everyone" and "dumbfounded" back into you, because I think a much nearer-to-truth summary of this thread is that we should trust people who claim to be allies* to behave honorably and we should be disappointed when some of them don't.

* -- I mean, seriously, it's in their name.
posted by Etrigan at 5:22 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, Etrigan, I sincerely hope you do not automatically place your trust in people simply because they claim to be your allies. Not if it concerns anything you value. Honest Al's Used Car Lot has the word "honest" in the name, but it's going to take a lot more than that before I'll trust Al to behave honorably.

Every day I have to place various amounts of trust in various people. You can't engage in life without doing that. But I do so with the understanding that I'm taking some amount of risk. Right now I'm taking the risk that the people here are discussing in good faith, because I know from experience that most Mefites do. It could turn out that one of more people aren't, because Metafilter has a few of those too. Then I would be disappointed. But I'm not risking much here, so it's easy to dive in. The more I have at stake, the tougher I'm going to be about placing my trust. And even if I can trust some people in some areas of life, it doesn't automatically mean I would trust them in all areas. There are some whom I'd trust with my life savings, but not to keep a secret, and vice versa.

There have been times when I've trusted people uncritically, and some of those times I've been badly burned. Those have been expensive lessons. Sometimes I've had to learn the lesson more than once. And a few of those times, when I looked back to see where things went wrong, I've slapped my forehead for doing something I should have realized was foolish or naive. I still blame the jerks for being jerks, even as I acknowledge that I made myself an easy mark. I think those are two separate things, and that doesn't qualify as me blaming myself for being a victim. Learning those lessons has helped me avoid being the same easy mark over and over again.

Derrick Gordon placed his trust in an organization that had helped him excel at basketball. But he trusted them with something outside that territory. I've called that naive. Well, hell, many people are naive about a lot of things at 23. That's no sin. I was amazed that someone growing up in the Internet Age would not have an organic understanding that once you put information in front of even a small group of people, you no longer have control over what happens to it. But apparently I'm wrong to make that assumption. At least that risk didn't click with him in this instance. He should have been better served by UMass and by You Can Play, which should be very aware of how fast information can be leaked and distributed. He was royally shafted by Athlete Ally. I'm sad that it happened to him.

At least the first link says he's happy. If he can get through this and still be happy, he's ahead. If more people know how Athlete Ally operates, that's a plus. If Gordon ever wants to reveal any other secrets, I'm sure he will make different assumptions about how people will handle them.
posted by Longtime Listener at 7:02 PM on May 26, 2014


He was royally shafted by Athlete Ally. I'm sad that it happened to him.

Your sadness is well-masked by how much you want to tell us, in great detail, about how naive he was. But hey, keep telling yourself that you're not blaming the victim. Maybe some day you'll be right.
posted by Etrigan at 7:09 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, Etrigan, I sincerely hope you do not automatically place your trust in people simply because they claim to be your allies. Not if it concerns anything you value. Honest Al's Used Car Lot has the word "honest" in the name, but it's going to take a lot more than that before I'll trust Al to behave honorably.

\We have, I think, reached the point of fundamental absurdity where we are just wrangling over whether or not someone should or shouldn't have trusted that people who claimed to be on his side were on his side. That said, it would seem that Honest Al's is the sort of organization that one expects to try and screw you over to get a serious deal. A not-for-profit that exists to explicitly serve your community and that is officially allied with the other not-for-profit that you approached about your problems, on the other hand, should not be expected to screw you over. (While it is natural to expect not-for-profits to fight over funds and to expect that this fighting will screw over some of the community to be served, the timing of this particular screwing is much later than might generally be expected. If Athlete Ally had known about Gordon earlier, they might have courted him to try and take control of his story. Had they successfully gotten him over, that would be the screwing akin to Honest Al taking you for a bit more than expected, and might reasonably thought of as all being in the game.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:24 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Last month, just before the draft, the WNBA invited Athlete Ally to address incoming rookies on the topic of discrimination. Coalition members, many of whom had worked with the WNBA in the past, were expecting Taylor to bring in other organizations to help give the talk, or at least an LGBT member of Athlete Ally's board. Instead, it was Taylor, alone, a straight, white male addressing a group of women's basketball players, many lesbian, most of color, on how to tackle LGBT discrimination issues.

Somewhat mind-boggling that this is something that actually happened and not an SNL sketch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:57 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


And he sees nothing wrong with what he did there.

What a complete ass.
posted by mediareport at 7:46 AM on May 27, 2014


Left wing activists more concerned about ego, making a job out of their activism, and signalling their status as opposed to actually delivering effective change?

Good thing there's no one one the right like this...
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2014


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