What does Jason Collins coming out mean for sports?

The male sports landscape is full of players who have come out as gay, but only after their active playing days were over. The thinking has always been that the locker room is not a place to be an openly gay person, and there has always been question about how fans would react to a gay player in the macho world of professional sports.

Strange how many female athletes have been able to come out as gay while they were still playing, but not so much for male athletes.

But today, we have such a player. His name is Jason Collins, which is not a name most sports fans would know. A former basketball player at Stanford University, Collins has had a 12-year career in the NBA. And in a Sports Illustrated article, he says he never wanted to be the first openly gay and active player in the four major sports in this country, but since he is, he’s happy to talk.

As the story develops, it will be interesting to see how many of Collins’ former teammates will talk about how they knew or didn’t know he was gay, or how that knowledge has helped or hurt Collins in his career. And it will be interesting to see how this may help or hurt Collins’ career moving forward. As a free agent, Collins is free to sign with any team. Will teams take a chance on an openly gay athlete, or will they have those quiet conversations in locked boardrooms about team chemistry and not wanting to offend a segment of the fan base? And Collins will surely want to be seen as a basketball player at his next job, not as a public relations stunt.

It’s interesting that Collins’ announcement came in the same month at the movie “42″ documenting the struggles of Jackie Robinson as the first African-American player in major league baseball was released. It’s a huge stretch to say that Collins could be to gay athletes what Robinson was to African-Americans. African-Americans were not allowed to be in the major leagues in the 1940s. Gay players have been allowed to play sports — just not while being open about their sexuality.

But Collins might be a living symbol of the struggle of gays for acceptance throughout society, even as a non-marquee player in his sports. So chances are you had not heard of Jason Collins before today. Chances are you will hear a lot about him in the coming months and years.


Masters week has been kind fo Humana/Hope winners

Through the years some critics outside of the desert has condemned the old Bob Hope tournament for being to easy. Good players played better on tough courses, while anyone can show up and get hot and go 30 under in the Hope, they claimed.

True enough, there has only been one golfer who ever won the Hope and the U.S. Open in the same year, and that was Arnold Palmer in 1960, the year the Hope begin as the Palm Springs Golf Classic. But plenty of golfers who won the Hope also won the U.S. Open, names like Nicklaus and Casper and Pavin and Miller and Kite.

How would a green jacket go with Brian Gay's orange shirt? (Crystal Chatham.TheDesert Sun)

The same is true of the Masters, although in that case, more players have won the desert’s PGA Tour event and the Masters in the same year. Palmer did it in 1960 and 1962, Nicklaus did it in 1963, Mike Weir did it in 2003 and Phil Mickelson did it in 2004. And of course other players have won the two tournaments at various stages of their career, including Casper and Craig Stadler.

Which lead us to Brian Gay, the reigning Humana Challenge champion. Gay has played in the Masters exactly one time, missing the cut in 2010. So there might not be that much “Hope” that Gay can pull off the Humana/Masters double.

Then again, Gay is playing some of the best golf of his career this year, and he’s paired in the first two rounds with a past Masters champion, Larry Mize. So maybe there is some Humana magic in Gay as Augusta National this week.


Magic Johnson ‘proud’ of son walking hand-in-hand with another man

Left to right: E.J, Cookie and Magic Johnson (Bruce Glikas, Broadway.com)

Left to right: E.J, Cookie and Magic Johnson (Bruce Glikas, Broadway.com)

World-famous Los Angeles Lakers player and Dodgers owner Magic Johnson is making headlines again.

Actually, the news is more about his 20-year-old son Earvin “E.J.” Johnson III who was seen walking on the Sunset Strip in a big fur coat, hand-in-hand with what appeared to be his boyfriend.

(TMZ VIDEO: Earvin “E.J.” Johnson III barraged with random questions by TMZ)

It has not been confirmed whether or not the man seen with E.J. is actually his boyfriend.

In a response to TMZ’s video Magic said,

“Cookie and I love E.J. and support him in every way. We’re very proud of him.”

This news not only affects Magic because it’s well… his son but because Magic is familiar with issues facing the gay community. When he spoke about being HIV-positive Nov. 7, 1991, Magic was forced to come to terms with his sexuality, his standing in the black community, problems facing the gay community and the taboo of gays in hip-hop music.

 (RELATED: “As Supreme Court takes on gay marriage, hundreds rally in Palm Springs”)

In an interview with Huffington Post Canada last year, Magic talked about the moment he realized his life had changed dramatically.

In regards to educating the public on issues like HIV, AIDS, the gay community and the black community Magic said,

“[…] I learned a lot from the white gay community because they had gotten their community, rallied them, educated them and did a wonderful job about driving the numbers down. That is the best approach that I’ve seen; it’s been the most effective. So what we try to do in our community is bring those results to us. So I’m working hard to continue to educate minorities about HIV and AIDS and we’ve got to band together. We’re too fragmented right now, but if we can do that, we’re going to do well.”

With intense public sentiment toward gay marriage growing, this announcement from a famous black leader has the opportunity to drastically affect public opinion in the coming months and years.

Human Rights Campaign goes viral in support of same-sex marriage

In what were the coming days before the Supreme Court of the United States was to hear arguments for and against California’s Prop. 8, which constitutes marriage be between a man and a woman, the Human Rights Campaign started an online campaign through various social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, in support of same-sex marriage.

(Check with MyDesert.com for oral arguments in support of and against California’s controversial Prop. 8)

The Human Rights Campaign kept their message simple: Show support for same-sex marriage by changing your social media avatars from HRC’s normal yellow “equals” signs behind a blue background to pink “equals” signs behind a red background.



On their Facebook page on Monday HRC posted,

“Who’s wearing red tomorrow? Show your support for marriage equality – make your profile image red for tomorrow and check out www.hrc.org/StandForMarriage for more ways to get involved!”

They also started the Twitter hashtags #UnitedForMarriage and #TimeForMarriage.

Human Rights Campaign’s Twitter feed retweeted celebrities and businesses in favor of same-sex marriage and against Prop. 8.

The retweets came from Orbitz, Groupon, Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, comedian Whitney Cummings, soccer player Abby Wambach, Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, comedian Amy Schumer, pop singer Lance Bass, Chelsea Clinton, artists Tegan and Sara, Superbowl champion and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, NAACP President Ben Jealous, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, singer Ricky Martin and media mogul Russell Simmons.

Schumer tweeted this around 10 a.m. PT,



As of 4:18 p.m. PT, the hashtag #MarriageEquality was trending across the U.S. The most prominent post that appeared when clicking through this trend was @BarackObama’s tweet with 40,064 retweets and 7,242 favorites. The tweet read,

Palm Springs ranked No. 2 spring break spot for gay college students

Palm Springs spring break

The Spring Break Pool Party at the Wyndham Hotel in Palm Springs is shown in this, April 12, 2009, file photo. (Richard Lui/The Desert Sun)

Palm Springs is the No. 2 most popular destination for gay college students on spring break this year.

So says MissTravel.com, a “travel dating site.”

It surveyed about 15,400 users of their site who identified themselves as gay college students.

(Photos: Gays enjoy Spring Break in Palm Springs)

A total 633 of those survey responders said they planned to head to Palm Springs, according to the Huffington Post report of the survey.

The Top 10 spring break destinations for gay college students:

  1. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  2. Palm Springs, California
  3. Key West, Florida
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. South Padre Island, Texas
  6. Cancun, Mexico
  7. San Diego, California
  8. Panama City, Florida
  9. Miami, Florida
  10. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Blatino Oasis , Dinah Shore and White Party likely helped Palm Springs rank high — all events that have drawn more and more gay college students to the city, said Reggie Cameron, the entertainment director for Greater Palm Springs Pride.

“The [website] that performed the study that commissioned the report is geared toward attractive young people who are interested in vacationing with generous patrons,” he said.

“I suppose in fabulous locales like Palm Springs there is a long history of that sort of thing from the gay and the heterosexual community. However, I was told that the study itself wasn’t of users of the website, but among the LGBT demographic of college students overall.”

Humana Day 4: Gay wins the tournament in a playoff

Brian Gay won his fourth PGA Tour title today by beating Charles Howell III in a playoff at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

Gay, Howell and Daniel Lingmerth all finished tied at 25 under, with Lingmerth falling out of the playoff with a par on the first playoff hole.

The playoff was needed because third-round leader Scott Stallings bogeyed two of his last three holes to finished at 24 under. Stallings shot 70 in the final round to blow a 5-shot lead.

Gay shot 63 in the final round, Lingmerth shot 62 and Howell shot 64.


Humana Day 4: A scoring binge makes for a tournament

Scott Stallings hasn’t so much left the door open at the Humana Challenge as his pursuers are going crazy behind him.

Stallings is now one up on Brian Gay, who is 6-undder on the day. Kevin Chappell is 10 under with two holes to play today. David Lingmerth is 7 under, while James Hahn is 7 under though 12 holes.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still Stallings tournament to win or lose. But his putter is looking shaky. Stallings is 24 under, the winning score from last year. If he ccan get to, say, 27, he will hoist the Hope Memorial Trophy at the end of the day.


Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes: Did she come out as gay?

Jodie Foster spoke Jan. 13, 2013, at the Golden Globe Awards. (AP photo)

Did Jodie Foster come out during her acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards? Or did she suggest she was retiring to protect her privacy?

Foster spoke at length Sunday during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award.

“I just have the sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public, so a declaration that I’m a little nervous about,” Foster said.

The 50-year-old Foster went on:

“I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight, because I already did my coming out about 1,000 years ago back in the stone age in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.”

Before lamenting the loss of privacy in Hollywood, Foster thanked Cydney Bernard: “one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life.”

(Watch the speech in its entirety here.)

Foster’s name began trending on Twitter, and someone immediately edited Wikipedia to say Foster announced a retirement.

She didn’t really clarify backstage, calling it a “big moment” but not explaining what she meant: “The speech kind of speaks for itself.”

Meanwhile, media across the country tried to interpret her speech:

  • “Jodie Foster Wows Golden Globes with Speech,” a ABCNews blogger wrote.
  • “Jodie Foster comes out and maybe retires,” The Advocate wrote.
  • “Jodie Foster Kinda Comes Out at the Golden Globes,” wrote TMZ, which called it a speech that “defies explanation.”
  • “‘Les Miz,’ ‘Argo’ win Golden Globes; Jodie Foster is talk of show,” the L.A. Times wrote.

Foster at least cleared up one thing backstage. LA Times reporter Amy Kaufman tweeted:

Desert Outlook a sophisticated new magazine for LGBT community

It has been four years since 1,200 gay couples married in legal ceremonies around the Coachella Valley.

During those five months, before California rescinded that right, Palm Springs and its sister cities celebrated what many who’ve visited here for decades know to be true: We are diverse and proud.

This week, The Desert Sun will join the party by introducing Desert Outlook, a new magazine for the Coachella Valley and southern California that covers the LGBT community.

Desert Outlook will hit the street — you’ll find it in free distribution across the valley — with a mission to celebrate the people who help “define southern California, our world and the future by living proudly and openly.”

The magazine is crafted to be like nothing that exists here today.

“Desert Outlook meets a significant need in this community — thoughtful, stylish and sophisticated coverage,” Desert Sun Media Group President and Publisher Mark J. Winkler said. “I am pleased that we can deliver relevant content to an important segment of our community.”

Desert Outlook Editor Will Dean and I spent months debating the stories that should inhabit the magazine, discussing tone and vibe.

“We wanted to present a provocative and more complete picture of what it means to be LGBT in the Coachella Valley,” Dean said. “We’re in such a dynamic place in the world, and that’s reflected by the residents — how they live, support their community and love.”

I spoke with many of you about this project. Often, there was an epiphany.

Some neighborhoods in Palm Springs are on the plus side of 50 percent gay and lesbian: Couples, singles and expatriates from San Francisco and Los Angeles, retirees and young professionals fleeing the rain in Seattle, the chill in Vancouver.

More than one resident told me the Coachella Valley needs a magazine that engages the LGBT community in a way that doesn’t make him blush when his parents leaf through the pages.

A woman told me that Desert Outlook needed to be culturally intricate.

It needed to explore twists in legal and political history with intelligence and depth. It needed to be intuitive and reflective of the modernist zeitgeist that informs Palm Springs’ art and architecture, fashion and food.

So, that is our quest, with every issue.

Desert Outlook will challenge and celebrate this community. It will inspire and inform.

It will tell the complete story of LGBT life here, and occasionally elsewhere.

Greg Burton is executive editor of The Desert Sun. Email him at greg.burton@thedesertsun.com
Follow @gburton on Twitter.

Follow @DesertOutlook

You can follow Desert Outlook Editor Will Dean on Twitter @desertoutlook, chat with us at DesertOutlook.com and interact with us on mobile.

We want feedback on how we deliver Desert Outlook. Send us email at desertoutlook@thedesertsun.com or pick up the magazine this Thursday and fill out a postcard inserted in the pages.

To see a projected list of places where you can find the magazine, click on http://lgbt.blogs.mydesert.com