Hey Straight Boy, You Just Don’t Understand


A “drink-up” is a gathering at a pub after a rugby game when the two teams come together to share food, drink and fellowship. My rugby teammates have now figured out that I don’t drink so they’re kind enough to take up the slack in that department. I try to make it up to them by eating more than my share of pasta. So much for paleo on Saturdays.

     We get to hear so often about when things go wrong in the world around systematic and governmentally sanctioned homophobia, I thought I’d share a positive story.

     Last Saturday we played Brooklyn. Yes, I guess that makes me a little bit of a trader since I actually live in Brooklyn but I knew I would play for the Gotham Knights long before I moved to New York. Even though about a third of our players are straight, we are part of the International Gay Rugby Association and Board. (Yes, it does spell IGRAB, huhu.) I enjoy being on a team with a bunch of guys, many of whom had an experience similar to mine where they didn’t necessarily feel welcome in the world of sports. Even if a guy has athletic ability, at least in my case I wasn’t particularly eager to join a team made up of the same guys who were calling me faggot in the hall every day.

     But I digress.

     Saturday, at the drink up, I was sitting there talking to one of the Brooklyn guys. He was a real nice guy, a hulk of a man and he’d definitely held his own on the pitch (rugby field) that day. I can’t really remember what exactly he said but it was about one of his teammates’ husband. It was something like, “One of the guys on our team’s husband went to Iraq.” or “One of the guys on our team’s husband writes plays.” Just a single word in passing. “Husband.” It didn’t have to become the topic of conversation– that they had a gay guy on their team, that marriage for same-sex couples in now legal in the great state of New York, not even that homos play rugby too. He’ll never know this but he did me a good turn in that moment. It means more than he’ll likely ever know. That subtle recognition of our relationships and his demonstration that it was no big deal to him certainly was a big deal to me.

     I loved sitting there with this guy who happens to be straight in a gay sports bar (who knew?) and simply doing what guys do without having to hide who I really am and to know that he accepts me for who I am. It may not sound like a big deal to a lot of you but I know that some of you also will get it in a big way.

     Thanks Brooklyn Rugby Guy! You just don’t understand how much this means– and thanks to all my straight allies out there. Way to step up. 

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