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December 1, 2008


Matthew Mitcham Named Sports Performer Of The Year...

Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham caps off his stunning victory in Beijing by winning Australia's coveted athletics award as Sports Performer Of The Year.

20 year old Matthew was up against 8 other outstanding Australian athletes but when his dramatic final dive on the 10m platform scored a world-record-breaking 4 perfect tens, beating out the overwhelming Chinese favorites, he forever became a major part of the Olympic's illustrious athletic history.

The great, and now immortal Olympian, Michael Phelps was also honored as the International Performer of the Year.

For those of you who may not know, Matthew came out as a gay man in a Sydney Morning Herald interview prior to gong to Beijing, making him the first and only openly gay Olympic Medalist to ever compete.

There is, unfortunately, an aspect of all of this that the Australian, and even the international, business and advertising industries should be very embarrassed about. Although most of the multinational, mega-corporations have gone out of their way to proudly tout their corporate policies of supporting diversity in an effort to attract GLBT employees and GLBT dollars, the fact is that while Michael Phelps has been deservedly inundated with national and international sponsorship deals, none of those supposedly diverse companies have knocked on Matthew Mitcham's door.

What's wrong with this picture?

Proposition 8 is becoming a PR fiasco for Mormons...

According to a story in the Salt Lake Tribune, the backlash from the Mormon's extensive involvement in the Yes On 8 campaign is beginning to look like a major fiasco for the church.

LDS Church members Gregory and JaLynn Prince, of Washington, D.C., thousands of miles away from California, have felt the sting of their church's actions.

Their daughter, a student at Boston University, has lost friends over the issue and their son, who is doing LDS missionary recruiting work in San Bernardino, Calif., has had a disproportionate number of potential converts cancel appointments.

At a first-ever class on Mormonism at Wesley Theological Seminary, where the Princes have been trying to build bridges for years, students pointedly asked them: "What was your church thinking?"

JaLynn Prince said,
"We are not taking sides on the issue, but the way this was done has hurt our people and the church's image. It reminds me of the naive public relations strategy we had regarding the Equal Rights Amendment."

According to the Tribune:
Just 10 months after the death of LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, who spent nearly 70 years burnishing his church's public image, goodwill toward Mormonism that culminated during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games seems to have faded in a haze of misunderstanding and outright hostility.

All of this has come on the heals of Mitt Romney's unsuccessful presidential campaign and persistent news-media reports linking the Church of Latter-day Saints to the FLDS polygamous sect raided by Texas authorities.

Add to that the almost continuous demonstrations outside Mormon churches throughout the country accusing them of bigotry, lies and stripping gay American citizens of their civil rights. Civil rights that not only had already been granted to us but, according to the CA Supreme Court decision, should have always been ours to begin with.

In the words of Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania, who studies LDS history and culture...
"The Olympics had this nice afterglow for Mormons and, boy, is that gone."

British Rugby League Fights Homophobia...

According to the blog Lez Get Real the British Rugby League is taking bold, very visible steps to combat homophobia in sports.
Inspired by former Australian rugby league player and actor, Ian Roberts, who came out in 1995, the Rugby Football League of Britain is hoping to promote LGBT equality in sport.

League officials say posters and logos carrying the message, "Some people are gay. Get over it!" will be displayed at rugby league grounds, in programs and fan areas, as a bid to promote LGBT integration in the sport.

Forums will also be set up for gay, lesbian and bisexual players and staff.

This will make the RFL the first national governing body of a major sport to sign up and support an anti-homophobia campaign.

Now if some of our major league sports organizations did the same thing here, imagine what kind of long-term effect that would have on sports in our country.

Yes, of course, in the beginning there would be strong resistance to that kind of effort. But, as has been shown over and over again, the more people are exposed to the GLBT community the more they learn about who we are and the less threatened and more accepting they become. It's all about visibility and education.

Finally - Lest We Lump All Catholics Together...

I found this uplifting story at Box Turtle Bulletin. It reminds us not to always automatically think that all Catholics are against us.

Roman Catholic Bishops in the United Kingdom have issued the following instructions to priests and worshippers alike:
Roman Catholic priests have been banned from using ‘heterosexist’ language in their churches in case they offend gay worshipers. They have been told by their bishops not to assume that every churchgoer is a heterosexual and to reflect this ‘in language and conversation’. ‘Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful - a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain,’ say the bishops in a leaflet advising priests and worshippers how to be more welcoming to gay people.

As a popular Bob Dylan song says, "The Times They Are a-Changin'"