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Australian Football (AFL) considers dropping Brunei sponsorship over Gay rights abuses

allout brunei afl gayDid you know that soon being gay in Brunei could get you stoned to death? That's one of the harsh new penalties the country's leader and richest man, the Sultan of Brunei, wants to impose.

But now we have a chance to hit him back where it hurts – in his wallet. The Australian Football League (AFL) is about to decide whether or not to drop Brunei’s airline as one of their sponsors. People inside the AFL are pushing for its leaders to take a stand and tell the Sultan that killing people because of who they are is not only wrong – it’s very bad for business.

Thousands of Aussies joining together to tell the AFL to drop Brunei Airlines is our best chance to win. And it’ll send a strong message to Brunei’s leader that laws attacking human rights will cost him his reputation and millions of dollars. The AFL grand final is in two weeks: having the AFL drop this sponsor before one of the world’s biggest sporting events would send a powerful message.

The AFL is making its decision any moment – let’s get their attention!  Will you take one minute to sign the ALL OUT petition and share it with your friends and family?

https://www.allout.org/Brunei-AFL

Brunei is small and wealthy, but has international ties that could influence its leader, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. He's linked to some of the world's most exclusive hotels in the US and Europe. And, Brunei is currently negotiating a high-profile trade agreement with countries like the US.

Brunei’s national airline sponsors organisations like the AFL because it helps their image and gets them huge exposure internationally. Together, we could push more organisations to stop doing business with Brunei while the Sultan lets innocent people be stoned to death – and raise a global outcry against this cruel law.
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Bingham Cup madness takes over Sydney

10597298 1473147416273663 2006279091 nThe world cup of Gay Rugby has kicked off in Sydney and the city is awash with burly, sexy, sporty and fabulous people - all vying to take home the cup, or take home a Rugby player.

Over 400 participants participated in a 'pub crawl' on Wednesday night, hosted by drag superstar, and longtime Sydney Convicts "Mascot" - Maxi Shield. The crowd was made up of visitors, players and officials - all having a fantastic time checking out Sydney's limited gay club and pub scene - but many venues do sponsor and support the clubs and the tournament.

The players and visitors to Sydney have been given the 5 star treatment by event organisers, from events at the iconic Opera House, the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) to nightclubs and even the rugby fields.

Slight rain hasnt dampened spirits, with Sydney's iconic Ocford street pumping with visitors, all clammering to catch a glimpse of world famous drag stars, gogo boys and DJs.

The competition continues over the weekend - so if you want to head out and be a part of the action, now is the time.

For all you Sydney siders - why not take part in the #GOCONVICTS campaign, change your social media profile shot or cover image to show your support for your local boys.

The first day of the Bingham Cup also coincides with Wear it Purple Day, when people around Australia will wear purple to support young people in being proud of who they are, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Many people at the grounds will be wearing purple to show their support.

The Bingham Cup is a gruelling tournament of intense rugby with 24 teams playing 6 games over three days.

Almost 1000 players and supporters representing 30 gay and inclusive rugby clubs from 15 countries have arrived in Australia for the Biennial event named after 9/11 terrorism hero Mark Bingham. 

Like Bingham, players at the tournament will smash misconceptions about gay people that often underpin the homophobia, which remains common in Australian sport.

A recent study found 85% of gay, lesbian and bisexual and 75% of straight Australians said they had witnessed or experienced homophobia either as a player or spectator.

 
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Dodgers Take on the Mets to raise funds for HIV/AIDS

Dodgers NightOut-2014Show your pride and join the LGBT community on Friday, August 22 for the second annual LGBT Night Out when the Dodgers take on the New York Mets.

Make sure you arrive early for special pregame activities, including a performance of the National Anthem by Mary Lambert and a ceremonial first pitch by Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Stay after the game and enjoy a Friday Night Fireworks show from the field, set to the music of DJ Manny Lehman.

If you want the all encompassing Baseball experience then there's an All-You-Can-Eat seating option which includes unlimited Dodger dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, Coca-Cola products and water - yummo!

Plus, there's the Bud Light Bar, Think Blue BBQ and Tommy's Trattoria are just a few steps away.

Click here to buy tickets - a portion of these proceeds will go to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).
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Study finds Homophobia common in Australian Sport

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511c47bdb970cPreliminary results from the first study to capture national data on homophobia in Australian sport have put hard numbers behind the stories of discrimination faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) athletes at all levels of sport. The survey results suggest that athletes continue to experience a sporting culture that is hostile towards LGB people. Revelations this week by Australian Olympic champion Ian Thorpe that he is gay, feared the consequences of coming out and was the target of homophobia show this issue affects even the most successful Australian athletes.

Nearly 2,500 Australians have taken part in the study, called “Out on the Fields,” with participation encouraged by a range of sporting stars (eg. Sam and Tom Burgess) as well as the NRL, AFL, Cricket and ARU. The respondents include equal numbers of LGB and heterosexual  people.  The preliminary findings have been compiled by sports market research firm Repucom, which is conducting the research pro bono (data tables available on request)

 - 85% of LGB people and 75% of heterosexual participants said they have witnessed or experienced homophobia in a sporting environment either playing or as a spectator

- The majority of LGB people (64%) agree or strongly agree that homophobia (e.g., comments, jokes, insults or abuse) is more common in team sporting environments in Australia than in the general society. Heterosexual people were split on this question, with 47% agreeing while 43% disagreed

- Half of LGB people said they had been the target of homophobia (85% witnessed others being targeted)

- Interestingly, nearly one in four heterosexual men also said they had been the personal target of homophobia

- The most common form of homophobia reported by all respondents (84% of LGB people and 74% of straight people) was verbal slurs such as the words ‘fag, dyke or poofter’ followed by homophobic jokes and humour and then casual comments such as ‘that’s so gay.’

- More than 1 in 4 LGB people who had been personally targeted said they had experienced verbal threats, ongoing bullying or they were deliberately excluded from social groups. Gay men were more likely to experience these direct forms of homophobia than lesbians.

 
“The results are eye opening, but they also confirm what we have been hearing from our players for the last 10 years,” says David Whittaker, a founding player and president of the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union club. ”Many of our players left their club or sport because of a culture where homophobic comments and behaviour are tolerated and commonplace, such as the slur by the AFL presenter broadcast last weekend. These players join teams like the Convicts to play a sport they love without worrying whether they will be accepted for their sexuality.”

The Sydney Convicts, along with the Melbourne Chargers and Brisbane Hustlers, will co-host nearly 1,000 gay players and supporters from 12 countries in Sydney next month for the Bingham Cup, the world cup of gay rugby. The study on homophobia in sport is part of wider initiatives to tackle homophobia ahead of the international tournament led by Bingham Cup organisers. This includes the historic commitment earlier this year by every, major Australian sport to introduce policies to eliminate homophobia.  It also includes an anti-homophobia video featuring sport stars Nate Myles, Harry Kewell, Paul Gallen, Mitchell Johnson, Libby Trickett, Nathan Jones, and Lauren Jackson

 

The Out on the Fields study is being supported by a range of partners including seven researchers at 6 international universities, the Federation of Gay Games, the You Can Play Project and the Australian Sport Commission.  

One of the researchers who helped with creating the study and will review the final results is Dr. Caroline Symons from Melbourne’s Victoria University. “While gay, lesbian and bisexual people were likely to experience a wide range homophobic discrimination in sport, particularly team sports, the results also show that you don’t have to be gay, lesbian or bisexual to experience discrimination. Casual homophobic language such as jokes and humour is commonly accepted in Australian sport while gay slurs are often seen as a very demeaning way to insult someone, regardless of their sexuality” said Dr. Symons, a pioneer of research into homophobia in Australia sport. This includes a landmark study of Victorian athletes called ‘Come Out to Play’ (http://www.glhv.org.au/files/ComeOutToPlay.pdf)


Alex Blackwell is one of Australia’s only ‘out’ LGB professional athletes. The vice-captain of the national female cricket team, the CBA Southern Stars, is a Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 ambassador. She said, “Whether you are playing elite or amateur homophobia is something we have all experienced at some point. The results of this study show that we still have a fair bit of work to do around changing sporting culture in Australia and making it a safe place for people to be open about their sexuality. Thankfully Australia’s major sports have started working together to achieve this goal and my sense is the general public is also much more aware now of the need for change.”

Although the Australian responses to two sets of questions from Out on the Fields are being released as  preliminary results ahead of next month’s Bingham Cup, participants are asked a wide range of other questions during a 10-15 minute online survey. They are also given the opportunity to share their personal story. The study is being conducted internationally as well, to collect national data for other large English speaking countries. It is also the first international study on this issue. In October the full results will be analysed and released, including comparisons between Australia and countries such as the USA.

People interested in taking part in the Out on the Fields study can visit www.outonthefields.com
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WWE Legend Pat Patterson Comes Out

pattersonSeventy-three year-old wrestling legend Pat Patterson recently revealed he’s been living in the closet more than 50 years.

On the finale of World Wrestling Entertainment reality series "Legends House," the WWE veteran came out as gay.

“For once in my life I’m going to be me,” Patterson told the others, adding that while it was hard to keep his secret, he was proud he survived.

The 73-year-old told his fellow wrestling legends that he had lived with his secret for over 50 years. He also shared that he had a "friend" for 40 years but lost him to a heart attack.

“We love you Pat,” his teary-eyed Legends mates told him, in a heartwarming show of support. “We’ve always loved you.”

Patterson was the WWE’s first Intercontinental Champion and is currently a WWE executive.




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