Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Sophia Young steps into equal rights controversy, Silver Stars fan speaks at city council debate

Published on August 29, 2013

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Photo: @SophiaYoung33 Twitter feed.

Photo: @SophiaYoung33 Twitter feed.

Twitter recap

What happens when a WNBA player posts a tweet about a hot button topic while attending a protest on another controversial issue? San Antonio Silver Stars forward Sophia Young found out yesterday. The fan favorite since her college days helping lead Baylor to its first national championship in 2005 took on two topics in one tweet. She followed up her first tweet with photo evidence of her stances. Young is not playing this season due to a torn ACL she suffered while playing overseas in China. However, she attends home games, interacts with fans and is active in the San Antonio community with charity work and her AAU girl’s basketball team, Sophia Young Elite.

While one can argue that adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to San Antonio city’s nondiscrimination code is related to state matrimony laws and gay marriage, legally the distinct issues have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However, Young tweeted that she was against gay marriage while attending a protest at the city council opposing adding LGBT protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

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The sign she held, which has the words “vote no” printed on it, is actually the topic of the council debate held last night on modifying the ordinance, not about gay marriage. As in every other state in the union, marriage is a state matter, not a municipal one.

The reactions from fans came fast and furious on a day the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, an event organized by an African American gay man, Bayard Rustin, a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr.

First, the facts about Texas:

  • San Antonio is the largest city in Texas without LGBT protections in local ordinances.
  • Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso, and Austin prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Houston expanded protections for city workers to include transgendered individuals in 2010. In Waco, home to Baylor, the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee voted last month to add the protections to the city’s EEO policy.
  • Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, has a popular openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker.
  • Dallas is home to the largest LGBT church in the world, Cathedral of Hope.
  • San Antonio is touted as a gay family-friendly city and the local tourist board actively targets LGBT travelers. In fact, the city has the highest percentage of gay and lesbian parents in the U.S. according to the Freedom to Marry Project: “34 percent of same-sex couples in San Antonio are raising children under 18.”
  • The LGBT community in San Antonio is large and vocal with a heavy dose of members of the military and veterans. San Antonio is the home of seven military installations. The proposal under debate would also add protections for veterans and the disabled.

The issue before the city council is in the headlines for many reasons. Just last week, San Antonio City Councilwoman Elisa Chan, went on an anti-gay tirade unaware that her words were being recorded. Her statements created a storm of controversy that effectively derailed her ambitions to run for mayor.

When it comes to the WNBA, Young has lesbian teammates. They are not completely out or vocal but it is not secret information. Tully Bevilaqua, a former Silver Stars player, posted on her Facebook fan page that she “just lost all respect for a former teammate” in reference to Young’s tweets. She also wrote that she stands up “for my family and equality and fair treatment for all human beings.” Bevilaqua married her partner earlier this year.

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Anel Flores. Photo courtesy Anel Flores.

According to game attendees, the leaders of Young’s fan section at the AT&T center include a lesbian couple. Just this year, former Baylor star Brittney Griner came out and went on a highly publicized media junket revealing her wishes to help LGBT youngsters who are the victims of bullying.

There are few other openly gay WNBA players who are in same-sex relationships and married or planning to get married. Some of them may be facing issues of their own with civil liberties and human rights soon when they suit up to play in Russia in the upcoming EuroLeague season. In June Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law that outlaws “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” As a result, the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics is now facing scrutiny from multiple corners of the world. Plus, the anti-gay law is contrary to provisions against discrimination in the Olympic Charter.

The NBA added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy as part of its collective bargaining agreement in late 2011. The WNBA Players Association is set to begin renegotiating its CBA at the end of the season.

But back to San Antonio. While Young took to Twitter to voice her views, San Antonio Silver Stars fan Anel Flores, who was interviewed earlier this year by Katie Couric about LGBT equal rights, took the floor during the city council debate yesterday evening and delivered this speech:

Thank you Mr. Mayor and thank you Councilperson Bernal and all council members who support the Non-Discrimination Ordinance

When I was in college dog sh-t was smeared on my car and the word “dyke” was written on my windows. My dorm was broken into and the words, “you are going to hell,” was written on my mirror.

My second year teaching, I was told I couldn’t take my students to competition because I was a lesbian and I needed a male teacher escort.

In my fifth year teaching, I was working late after school and I heard the football coach yell to his team, “come on faggots! Run!” The following year, the coaches thought it was okay to talk about the female teachers with me like they were sexual objects, and I was just one of the boys. I am not.

In my eighth year teaching a transgender girl, who was my student, was forced behind closed doors to shave her head by a male administrator, “if she really thought she was a man!” I never saw her again after being expelled.

My tenth year teaching one of my gay students, who I reported many times for being bullied at the bus stop and in front of the school library committed suicide.

Three years ago my daughter was not allowed to do a speech in school about her lesbian mother’s fight for the legalization of gay marriage.

Today when I walked up holding my fiancé’s hand I was told I was going to hell, again.

And, as I sit here today many of our council members have discriminated against me, my family and my community with hateful, ignorant, arrogant words.

My name is Anel Flores. I am a business owner, a published author, a tax payer, a consumer, an artist, an activist, a neighborhood association member, a chamber member and I am also a lesbian mother together with mi prometida, Erika Casasola.

Our 14-year-old daughter attends a San Antonio public school, dances professionally, sold the most Girl Scout cookies last year in all of her school, and plans to be a large animal veterinarian when she grows up.

Our oldest daughter, graduated earlier this year at the top of her class with more that 1000 service hours, interned with Women’s Global Connection at UIW, just started at Southwestern University, joined the Latina sorority and is pre-med.

I am here to correct all of you who said that my family is immoral and “disgusting.” Ms. Chan, I am also here to remind you that all religion is rooted in love.

And I am here to remind you that voting yes can save lives of silenced, bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender children and children of LGBT families.

Vote yes on the Non-Discrimination Ordinance and protect your neighbor.


 

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Readers Comments (11)

  1. Phrankie says:

    Good for her! I don't understand why opposition to gay rights always equals hate? You can still treat someone with respect and agape love if you disagree with them. The Bible also states that fornication (sex outside of marriage) is a sin. But the world has decided that it is okay and often necessary before you marry. Same thing, I disagree with people who engage in that, but I don't hate them. I don't have a Heaven or Hell to send anyone. But I choose to follow God rather than man.

    • This is opposition to human rights. There are rights afforded to opposite sex couples that same sex couples don't have. Also, By saying this, She is advocating the denial of her colleagues' rights.

      • Phrankie says:

        I think we may disagree on what is a human right. I think everyone should be able to do whatever they want, but that does not give them the right. Especially, if it is against God's word.
        I also think everyone should be able to designate thier benificiaries to the same degree. The person(s) who gets your property when you die, the person to take care of your children when you die, the person to make end of life decisions, etc. Those should not be based on marital status.

    • Jacob says:

      As others have stated it has nothing to do with censoring of beliefs — if you believe homosexuality is wrong, you're free to believe that. It's another thing entirely to then make your belief into a law that discriminates.

      It sounds like you believe sex before marriage is wrong — should that be illegal to?

      • Phrankie says:

        God's word says sex before marriage is wrong. So yes, I believe it is wrong. I don't think it should be illegal…and I don't agree with anything that promotes it.
        I also believe marriage is between one man and one woman, husband and wife. I support that.

    • WNBA_fan says:

      Perhaps she would support firing teammates who are gay? It's incredible she would be so intolerant of those (like fans and teammates) who, I assume, support her right to work (and love) whom she chooses. Why not the other way around?

  2. Lindsey says:

    @phrankie, it’s one thing to believe that people shouldn’t have equal rights because of religious beliefs, it’s another to actually write that legislation into law in a country where church & state are separate. That’s where the hate you asked about comes in. You’re (the broader you) telling tax paying citizens of a country that they’re not equal.

    • Phrankie says:

      @lindsey, I can see your point. People should be able to do whatever they want…no one should be made to do anything. I just don't have to agree that is the right thing to do. Hat e is such a harsh word.
      I am not saying they are not equal, I am just not supporting what they do. Now that does not give me the right to treat people badly. I won't disrespect them, I won't deny them service, and I will help them if they need help.

  3. Brooks says:

    Young is so DL it is not even funny. The majority of WNBA players are gay . Young was about to get found out

  4. john says:

    this article is beyond bias.

    • HoopFeed.com says:

      You wrote the same thing as "Kayla K." on the social media recap. Please don't troll by trying to use different names. Your IP address is logged. I think you mean "beyond biased" but if you actually meant "beyond bias"…why thanks! :)

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