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Gay athletes paid price in past

August 02, 2007

Re "Young gay athletes find a place out on the field," July 28

In the 1980s, I was a gay athlete who knew that no one wanted to know. I was captain of Fullerton's Sunny Hills High School swim team in 1980 and the captain of the Carleton College swim team in 1984. It's bruising to always have to lie to your closest friends. My heart is just bursting with pride for the athletes mentioned in this article. What integrity, what sense of fair play, what guts. And now, let the games begin.

Tom Hall

Santa Ana

As a gay man reading your article, I was reminded of my own humiliating experiences in public school physical education classes. I was ostracized, ridiculed and constantly reminded of the perception among my classmates that my athletic abilities were nonexistent. Your article also touched on a troubling misconception often found within homophobic factions of the straight community: that gay people, especially guys, are unable to control their sexual urges and are presumed to be sexually interested in almost anyone of the same sex. If we turn the tables on this notion, we see how absurd it really is. Straight men are not attracted to every woman they see, nor are straight women attracted to all men. Do most straight people fear they can't participate in coed sports or activities because they'll be propositioned or flooded with their own sexual urges and won't be able to control them? Of course not. Neither do most gays.

Richard French

Studio City

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