Changes in the wind.It's been 24 years since author PATRICIA NELL WARREN Patricia Nell Warren (b. 1936) is a lesbian American author.
Primarily known as an author, Warren is also commonly known as "the mother of Frontrunners" - the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender running/walking clubs that have been started in Los Angeles wrote her classic novel The Front Runner front runner n → favorito/a
front runner n (fig) → favori(te)
front runner n (fig) → , a love story between an out gay college long-distance runner and a closeted clos·et·ed
Being In a state of secrecy or cautious privacy. ex-Marine track coach. In the years that have followed, the lesbian novelist has been asked over and over again what motivated her to create a sensitive gay love story set in the world of sports. For the first time, the writer responds
For me, at age 32 in 1968, distance running started out as a personal female challenge. Indeed, the runner's need to reach deep inside and "find more" spurred my self-discovery as a woman and my consciousness-raising concerning women's rights The effort to secure equal rights for women and to remove gender discrimination from laws, institutions, and behavioral patterns.
The women's rights movement began in the nineteenth century with the demand by some women reformers for the right to vote, known as suffrage, and . Only then, through running, could I finally catch up with those long-festering questions about sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. . It dawned on me that sports are a major arena in which American society hard-wires "traditional" notions about gender roles and orientation into its citizens.
In the words of Bob Dylan Noun 1. Bob Dylan - United States songwriter noted for his protest songs (born in 1941)
Dylan , change was "blowing in the wind" of an America convulsed with all kinds of rights issues. I was in the middle of it--one of a number of women runners trying to break into the 26.2-mile male-owned marathon.
As an adjunct to the civil rights movement, the "athletes' rights movement" was battling antiquated and hypocritical rules that still ran U.S. sports. The United States denied its Olympic contenders any opportunity to earn a living by sport--then sent them into competition with other Olympic teams that were openly subsidized by their countries. A minor rules infraction Violation or infringement; breach of a statute, contract, or obligation.
The term infraction is frequently used in reference to the violation of a particular statute for which the penalty is minor, such as a parking infraction.
INFRACTION. could ruin a career. Women, for instance, could not make an overnight athletic trip without a chaperone chaperone /chap·er·one/ (shap´er-on) someone or something that accompanies and oversees another.
molecular chaperone . In running, females were still limited to 2 1/2 miles. There were few women's track teams--indeed, women were barred from all high-stress sports, including long-distance running, which was the hot new "extreme sport" of the day. Athletes of color were still denied equal recognition. In 1968 an African-American gold medalist dared to raise a fist of black power as he stood on the victory stand at, the Olympic Games.
Already the occasional athlete was publicly rumored to be gay or lesbian--as was golf champion Babe Didrikson (my big teen idol!). In the equestrian world, where I showed hunters and jumpers for a time, a few wealthy amateur riders and horse owners dared to be discreetly out. One gay male rider subtly advertised his different orientation by wearing a rat-catcher that was tailored from sheared sheared
Shaped or finished by shearing, especially cut or trimmed to a uniform length: a sheared fur coat.
Adj. 1. mink. But riders hoping to make the Olympic team kept a strictly tailored heterosexual profile.
In 1969, the year that I and 11 other female outlaws crashed the Boston Marathon and ran the race without numbers, another fist was raised--more quietly. It was the year of Stonewall stone·wall
v. stone·walled, stone·wall·ing, stone·walls
a. . Closeted college jocks of both genders were electrified by that dual challenge--coming out and long-distance running. Students came flooding into the big road races. Here, in the relatively liberal atmosphere of this new and unconventional sport, several years before the first public rumors about gay goings-on in baseball, years before pro football player David Kopay came out, some of these young gay and lesbian runners in their hippie headbands and Adidas shoes dared to be more socially visible.
It was the scene that inspired my 1974 novel, The Front Runner, about a young gay athlete at the Olympics. The story screamed to be told--homosexual athletes defying the sexual conformity enforced through sports. Writing and publishing the book was part of my coming-out. In the New York City Marathon The New York City Marathon is an annual marathon foot-race run over a 42,195 m (26.2 mile) course through all five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon race in the world, and with 37,866 finishers in 2006, was also the largest marathon race ever run. that year, I competed as an out lesbian.
Today, at 62, with bad knees that limit me to walking, I can sit at my TV and watch women run their own Olympic marathon. The frontiers of extreme sport have moved on to sky-surfing, skateboarding, and such. Women (including lesbians) are now invading yacht racing and other remnants of male-dominated sport. Homosexuals enjoy a certain level of visibility and tolerance--mainly in sports based on individual performance. Yes, we've had Martina Navratilova and Greg Louganis. Rudy Galindo is still out there in figure skating. Front Runners clubs help sponsor big mainstream distance races. The city of Palm Springs, Calif., has stopped pretending that 10 million lesbians don't come to town for the weekend of the Dinah Shore golf classic every year. We have our own games, happening now in Amsterdam--though legally the organizers are still barred from calling them "Olympics."
But in team sports, whether pro or amateur, our openly homosexual athletes and coaches still face crass hostility. In high school and college athletics, the old shower-room and pedophile pedophile Forensic psychiatry A person with pedophilia; there are an estimated 500,000 pedophiles in the world. See Child prostitution, Megan's law, Pedophilia. issues are wielded like gay bashers' bicycle chains. Gay coach Eric Gumby Anderson, now fielding the crack Saddleback College cross-country team, is one of the few victorious survivors in this bloody arena. Women's basketball, finally popular on TV, is in constant uproar over the L issue.
Mainstream athletes are pressing ever forward to new performance frontiers--as I write this, the first amputee am·pu·tee
A person who has had one or more limbs removed by amputation. just climbed Mount Everest. From around the world, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered transgendered adjective Relating to a person who has undergone genital/sexual reassignment surgery Transgender health issues Hormonal therapy, cosmetic surgery, fertility options–eg, egg and sperm banking. See Sexual reassignment. Cf Transsexual. athletes are arriving in Amsterdam. But we nonstraights are still struggling at that first frontier of tolerance.
Nevertheless, I am following the fortunes of several college runners who tell me that they hope to stand out and proud on that Olympic victory platform in the year 2000. They are already out to their teammates, who evidently don't have a big problem with it. These hopefuls have their counterparts in other sports. Despite the recent far-right reactions in U.S. society, the gales of change from the '60s are still blowing. Women and people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color
race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important will not likely surrender the sports ground we took--neither will gay and lesbian athletes.
So I have confidence in the growing influence of young heterosexual tolerance in sports--and in the irresistible power of young homosexual athletes' courage, skill, and will.
Warren is the author of the best-selling Front Runner' series. Her most recent novel is Billy's Boy, Editors' Choice winner at the 1997 Lambda Literary. Awards. Her publisher is Wildcat Press.