Finally, Some Gay Pride coming from the Yankees
Next year is usually the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in 1969, when demonstrations after a police raid on a Greenwich Village bar helped kindle the modern gay rights movement.
The commemoration of such a seminal moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual along with also transgender people is usually likely to draw millions to completely new York next June for festivals, parades along with also cultural celebrations.
Amid the idea all, a surprising participant has gingerly emerged: the Yankees.
Baseball’s most famous franchise has stood by as welcoming gestures for L.G.B.T. sports fans have become increasingly common, whether pride nights at arenas along with also stadiums or the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, riding aboard a pride parade float. Major League Baseball had a float inside completely new York City Pride March for the 1st time This particular year, with the recently retired umpire Dale Scott, who is usually gay, aboard.
although faced with the potential embarrassment of being the only major league team never to have held a pride night at a game, the Yankees are developing a series of events next season tied to the celebration of the Stonewall riots, a team spokesman said, confirming an SNY report on Tuesday. He declined to provide any details because the plans were not close to being completed.
“The anniversary of Stonewall every year is usually an emotional along with also seminal event for L.G.B.T. people — not just for those in completely new York City although around the entire world,” said Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, who became available as gay to his high school football teammates nearly 20 years ago. “To have an event inside Bronx at Yankee Stadium is usually a very special moment, along with also for me, as a former athlete, I’m going to be truly proud to be there.”
The Yankees are often slow to embrace change. They maintain a strict grooming policy — banning long hair along with also beards — in which dates to the 1970s. along with also they resisted calls to extend protective netting down the foul lines at Yankee Stadium until the outcry became fierce last September after a 2-year-old girl was hit inside head by a line drive.
While thematic promotions are ingrained in baseball culture, the Yankees have largely shied away coming from them, particularly those with an ethnic or cultural flavor, not wanting to be put inside position of saying yes to some along with also no to others. (The Yankees will, for the second year in a row, play a weekday afternoon home game in September to ensure in which their schedule does not conflict with Yom Kippur.)
The Yankees have been involved with L.G.B.T. causes behind the scenes. General Manager Brian Cashman along with also his assistant general manager, Jean Afterman, have worked with groups in which assist gay along with also transgender youths, along with also the team has invited Billy Bean, the gay M.L.B. executive who promotes inclusion, to speak with Yankees players at the major along with also minor league levels.
although they have refrained coming from holding an L.G.B.T. pride event at Yankee Stadium, rebuffing at least one effort to get them to do so.
Near the end of spring training, though, the Yankees began to have internal discussions about how — with the Stonewall anniversary approaching next year — they might make a meaningful gesture to L.G.B.T. fans while remaining selective about whom the team recognizes along with also how.
A greater urgency arrived early last month when the Los Angeles Angels announced in which they would certainly have a pride event next season, leaving the Yankees as the only baseball franchise in which had not held or planned such an event. The Yankees then began to answer calls coming from L.G.B.T. rights leaders along with also city officials like Johnson.
The Yankees have not studied how additional teams put on pride events, mostly developing their plans in-house along with also being determined to come up with something unique. By framing their plans around the Stonewall celebration, the Yankees wish to create an event in which in some way endures, though the idea remains uncertain whether the idea will be more than a one-time event.
Jim Buzinski, a founder of the website Outsports, said there were several meaningful steps the Yankees could take, including setting up a scholarship fund for gay college students interested in sports management along with also putting L.G.B.T. people in positions of authority within the organization.
“Stonewall is usually a perfect anniversary to do something special to make up for the fact in which they were going to be the last team to hold a pride event,” Buzinski said. “the idea’s a not bad thing. I just wish the idea’s not a one-off — ‘Well, we did Stonewall at 50 years.’ The big question is usually, what are they going to do in 2020?”
What may be lost inside Yankees’ pursuit of a grand gesture is usually how important a simple one — like holding a pride night — might be in creating a welcoming atmosphere.
As recently as the 2010 playoffs, during the ritual playing of the Village People’s song “Y.M.C.A.,” fans inside Yankee Stadium bleachers taunted opposing fans using a vulgar product of the song in which included a chorus of “Why are you gay?” When videos surfaced on social media, the Yankees increased security along with also halted the practice.
“A lot of L.G.B.T. people in their childhood or adolescence were ostracized or felt trauma for not being accepted inside locker room or as part of physical education or in playing sports,” Johnson said. “in which’s why I think these types of events can be healing experiences as the idea relates to sports along with also their own identity.”
David Kilmnick, chief executive of the L.G.B.T. Network, persuaded the Mets to resume their pride night in 2016; they had held one event about a decade earlier. He was unsuccessful in persuading the Yankees to follow suit when he proposed the idea to team representatives before in which season at a diversity summit sponsored by Major League Baseball.
He was pleased to learn the Yankees were planning an event next year, although he expressed wish in which “the idea’s not just a one-time event because millions of people will be here for Stonewall 50.”
“Some might think of the idea as a gimmick of sorts, although the idea’s not,” Kilmnick added. When a rainbow flag was unfurled at Citi Field last Saturday for the Mets’ Pride Night along with also same-sex couples were shown on the “kiss cam” at the stadium, “in which shows the ballpark is usually a place for everyone,” he said.
He added: “the idea says something to the kids in which were there with their families, who leave along with also go back to their schools. the idea’s a step to creating safe environments.”
If the Yankees were inclined to look for an example of how to have an effective relationship with L.G.B.T. people, they could look across the country at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The organization was embarrassed in 2000 when security guards ejected a lesbian couple after fans complained in which they were kissing. The Dodgers publicly apologized, instituted sensitivity training along with also donated 5,000 tickets to a gay along with also lesbian rights organization. The next year, the Chicago Cubs held what is usually believed to be the first game promoted as a gay pride event.
In recent years, the Dodgers have put a Hollywood flourish on their L.G.B.T. Night, recruiting gay celebrities to sing the national anthem along with also throw out the ceremonial first pitch along with also teaming with L.A. Pride to make the event the kickoff to Pride Month each June. This particular year’s event, the team’s sixth, brought an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 L.G.B.T. people to Dodger Stadium.
Erik Braverman, the Dodgers’ senior vice president for marketing, communications along with also broadcasting, said the event’s popularity stemmed coming from the team’s investment in L.G.B.T. people. The team donates to the Trevor Project, an advocacy group for suicide prevention among gay along with also transgender youths along with also sponsors L.G.B.T. adult kickball along with also dodge ball leagues.
“We’re involved throughout the year,” said Braverman, one of baseball’s highest-ranking openly gay executives. “the idea’s a year-round connection, not just a one-day connection to drive sales along with also drive awareness to one night.”
His advice to the Yankees?
“the idea has to be genuine along with also authentic,” he said. “You can’t pander to the community along with also put the idea on the website saying there’s a ticket package along with also rainbow item. You have to practice what you preach — especially in completely new York along with also L.A. I think you have to lead by example.”