The National Center for Lesbian Rights represented three Men who played softball together in the San Francisco Gay Softball League for years. Their team competed in the Gay Softball World Series organized by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (“NAGAAA”) and made it all the way to the championship game. At that point, they were shocked to learn that their eligibility to play was being challenged based on a NAGAAA rule limiting the number of non-gay players who could play on a World Series team.
The players were called into a conference room and questioned in front of more than 25 people, most of them strangers, about their sexual orientations and private lives. The players, who are bisexual, were forced to answer whether they were “predominantly” interested in men or women, without being given the option of answering that they were bisexual. In response to a player’s statement that he was attracted to both men and women, a NAGAAA member who was in the room stated, “this is not a bisexual world series—this is a gay world series.” NAGAAA’s protest committee voted that the three plaintiffs were “believed to be heterosexual,” and their team was disqualified from its second place finish.
NCLR sued, challenging NAGAAA’s rules, the intrusive and humiliating protest process inflicted on the players. In November 2011, the players and NAGAAA agreed to settle the case. In the settlement, NAGAAA recognized that disqualifying the players from the 2008 tournament was not consistent with NAGAAA’s intention of being inclusive of bisexual players.
As a result of this case, NAGAAA changed its rules to be fully inclusive of all bisexual and transgender players, permitting an unlimited number of bisexual or transgender players to participate on a Gay Softball World Series team.
A legal organization with the name LESBIAN represented three Men to tell other Men that they were wrong for limiting an activity to Gay Men.