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Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Gay Athletes and Rappers: It’s Not In To Be Out"

Written by Rachel from Indiana

“That’s so gay,” is a phrase that is commonly used to downplay or mock another person or idea. Pink shouldn’t be worn by men, motorcycles shouldn’t be ridden by women, homosexuality shouldn’t be accepted by others. These are the contemporary thoughts permeating the culture. Homophobia: fear or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. Today, Tyra’s discussion was on the focus of homosexual discrimination. Clip after clip displayed suggestions and thoughts from both sides of opinion. “You weren’t born that way.” “I need to be who I am.” What way should we be? Tyra’s first guest and pro athlete, John Amaechi, admitted knowing he was gay at the age of nine. Because the NBA could possibly suggest a problem with his sexual preference, he decided to keep his personal life away from topical discussions. “The locker room is homo erotic,” John explained in his book Man in the Middle. But he admitted that it actually bothered him that men would be nakedly displayed. “Every time I walked into the arena it was work. And I kept my social life very separate.” Even thought retired NBA star Tim Hardaway said hateful things about homosexuals, John doesn’t believe his view is the same for all NBA players. One man’s words don’t always represent the whole of a group.

Retired NBA player John Amaechi

Former NFL player Esera Tuaolo, wrote the book Alone in the Trenches about the struggles of being gay while participating in the NFL. He was a former defensive tackle who played for five teams during his nine year NFL career. He announced he was gay after retiring. Esera strutted down the runway as he came out to greet Tyra. Acknowledging that he was born gay, Esera claimed he knew it at age five or six. He found his life partner during his years in the NFL – even though that was a plus, he said those years were terribly frightening for a homosexual male. A fight broke out right in front of him due to homosexual allegations between the fighting duo. That was the moment he knew not to confess. John and Esera both agreed that the goal would be for professional players being enabled to confess while still in their career.

Esera Tuaolo discusses the NFL’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy

Tough. Promiscuous. Straight. These are the guidelines for male rappers in the industry today. Gay hip-hop artists Deadlee, Tori Fixx, and transgender rapper Foxjazell said that it’s not just a struggle to be gay in this business, it’s also dangerous. Deadlee is a counselor working with gay youth and he said that it takes more courage to be out. “I feel if a famous rapper were to come out, he’d get killed,” Tyra said with deep concern. The three agreed but Tori said that it doesn’t scare him anymore. “I refuse to live my life in fear.” He added, “But I’m not very feminine so a lot of people don’t know that I am gay unless I make that clear.” Foxjazell lost the label connection when they found out that she was a transgender singer. Host of My Two Cents, Keith Boykin, said that hip-hop is homophobic because society is homophobic. It isn’t all about stereotypes and Tyra made sure to point that out.

Rappers reveal the dangers of being gay in the industry

Homo Rap Revolution, coined by Deadlee, is just the beginning of the homo culture permeating the world of rap. Ajaxx, a rapper against “homo hop,” thought it would be difficult to get gay rap into the business because hip-hop culture is all about street credibility and respect. The hood gives the rapper the credit and Ajaxx seemed to think it would be too difficult to get the hood to back up that lifestyle. “We’re a homophobic society at this point,” he asserted. Debates broke out and tempers flailed. Two separate views collided in front of Tyra and apologetically, she took the audience to a break.

Ajaxx and Deadlee disagree on the issues of gay rap

John Smid is the president of Love-In-Action, a Christian ministry founded in helping individuals overcome the struggles of homosexuality. The program focuses on group work and one-on-one counseling, giving individuals the opportunity to work through issues or tough questions. Josh and Mario joined John on the show to discuss their struggles and their successful recovery from the homosexual lifestyle. Admitting that they both still notice men, Mario explained how he shuts off thoughts before they become avenues of action. Josh said that the biggest change happened in his view towards himself, other men, and other women. Tyra was surprised that they admitted to still struggling with homosexual thoughts – she prepared herself for an unnecessary fight because these men were nothing but honest. John explained that homosexual behavior is a decision and that this decision is one that has to be made every day.

Participants discuss the organization, Love-In-Action

Steven Fales and Peterson Tuscano both went through an intensive reparative therapy program that resulted in more harm that repair. This program forced them to play sports, cut off connections with their mothers, and eventually forced them to be exorcised. “It wasn’t that I came out of the closet I simply came to my senses,” Peterson said. “What if I just accept myself for who I am? What happens then?” Both men at one time were married to women and said how unfair it was for their spouse. Afraid of being launched to Hell or banned from the church, Steven and Peterson attended this program. Thousands of dollars and extensive damage later, they left and accepted their inherent nature. “They don’t trust us, ex-gay or gay,” Peterson finished.

Two guests discuss their time in a controversial intensive reparative therapy program


Blog about today’s episode

Get involved with John Amaechi’s foundation

Buy a copy of John’s book, “Man in the Middle”

The official website of Esera Tuaolo

Pick up Esera’s book, "Alone in the trenches: My life as a gay man in the NFL”