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Three gay athletes share stories and dispel myths

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – How widespread is homophobia in sport?

Three athletes who addressed a crowd at a Burnaby high school Thursday night believe the situation is for gay sports figures is much better than it was ten years ago.

But homophobia is still an issue, which is why the organization You Can Play hosted the discussion.

Scott Heggart, who played hockey in high school, says a lot of myths prevail about having a gay athlete in the locker room.

“You hear ‘Oh, you know guys aren’t going to want to change around you. They’re not going to want to shower with you around.’ And really what it comes down to is, it’s a locker room with your team. Your team is your family. When you’re playing, the last thing on your mind is anything sexual.”

He believes the NHL will soon see its first player go public about being gay. Rumours are rife that someone in the NFL is about to do just that.

Moderating the forum was BC Lions wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi. He’s straight, but wants to change locker-room culture to eliminate homophobic slurs.

“Slurs based on race and religion were both dealt with. And now we’re at a point where we just need to crack down on anti-gay slurs. I’ll be in the locker room and if I hear it, I’ll bring it up.”

You Can Play is an organization that aims to ensure equality for all athletes, no matter what their orientation is.

It was launched by Patrick Burke, a son of former Toronto Maple Leafs manager Brian Burke.  Brendan Burke, Patrick’s brother, was a gay university men’s hockey team manager who died in a car accident three years ago.

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Clamping down on hateful slurs like “f*g” is not “actively encouraging” anything. It is creating a safe environment. Gays would be fine minding our own business if straight people weren’t saying “that’s so gay,” calling things ‘homo’, and using the aforementioned f-word every day like it’s no big deal. Imagine if your whole life you saw and heard “that’s so hetero,” “hettttt,” or something about your race, every time somebody said something stupid. Don’t lie to me and say that wouldn’t hurt you. Don’t lie to me and say gays are accepted in society already.

Also people are born gay. When did you choose to be straight?

March 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Don’t know how or why this is even a ‘news story’ being worthy AM1130. It is 2013 and we all have to be equal and not discriminate for someone’s sexual preference. Yes the gay movement and gay rights have come a long way in the past thirty or so years. Has been going on for longer than we could have imagined,enough said.

March 29, 2013 at 11:24 am