Winners and losers of the week in LGBTQ sports

Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.

We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at the week’s winners and losers.

Winner: USWNT advances to final round of Women’s World Cup without Megan Rapinoe

On July 2 in Lyon, France, USA Head Coach Jill Ellis decided to replace Megan Rapinoe, reported to have a leg injury, with Christen Press, to face England in the semifinal. Thanks to goals by Press and Alex Morgan, and a clutch save by Alyssa Naeher, the United States sweated out a 2-1 win over England Tuesday to earn a place in its fifth World Cup championship match, scheduled for Sunday, July 7 at Parc Olympique Lyonnais against the Netherlands.

Losers: Linda McMahon and Ari Emanuel

“Red flags” that could reflect poorly on the Trump administration were revealed by Axios, including profiles of nearly 100 individuals, including a number of current and former Trump administration officials. Among the leaked files were vetting documents focused on former WWE president and CEO Linda McMahon and current UFC owner and Endeavor co-CEO Ari Emanuel. According to the readily available documents, both McMahon and Emanuel’s files included numerous red flags, including each candidate’s association with homophobic acts. While Emanuel’s candidacy didn’t move beyond the vetting process, his file highlighted accusations of sexual harassment and “anti-gay and racist remarks” from a 2002 lawsuit filed by Endeavor agent Sandra Epstein. Emanuel denied the allegations but the suit was ultimately settled out of court. McMahon’s list of red flags was extensively longer. Among the WWE’s questionable employment practices, duplicitous attitude toward government subsidies and late personal property tax payments were multiple examples of homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic and misogynist content on WWE television during her time with the company.

Winner: SonicFox

Dominique “SonicFox” McLean ended Pride month in style Sunday by taking home the Mortal Kombat 11 championship at Community Effort Orlando 2019. The win marks SonicFox’s first victory in the 2019 Mortal Kombat Pro Kompetition and widened his lead atop the league standings. But the victory wasn’t his only highlight of the weekend. SonicFox warmed the internet’s heart by delivering on a promise he made to a young fan at CEO 2018. After taking home a 5th place medal in last year’s DragonBall FighterZ tournament, SonicFox gave the medal to a young black fan and promised to give him a first place medal in 2019. He fulfilled that goal by giving that young man his MK 11 medal.

Loser: Outsports

Five trans women athletes criticized Outsports for including tennis icon Martina Navratilova in our “Stonewall Spirit” series. “Outsports seemingly not only broke ranks with trans athletes in recognizing Navratilova,” wrote Christina Ginther, “many felt violated by its long-standing ally who intertwined the kudos given to the tennis icon with the symbolic and deeply meaningful Stonewall Rebellion.” Ginther interviewed Outsports cofounder Cyd Zeigler. ”I am so sorry. It was a mistake to call it ‘Stonewall Spirit,’ Zeigler told Ginther. “In hindsight we should have called it something else. We just wanted to recognize LGBTQ athletes who made an impact in sports. For 20 years Outsports has been committed to being an ally and supporter of trans inclusion. Again I am so sorry.”

Winner: Trans girl roller skating sensation Maria Joaquina

11-year old Maria Joaquina is a Brazilian trans skater who competes in competitions with other girls. As the BBC reported, this past year, she finished second in Brazil’s national roller skating championships, a placement that would ordinarily guarantee her a slot at the South American regionals. However, because her birth certificate still bears the male name she was born with (João), the South American Skating Confederation contacted Joaquina to let her know she would not be allowed to compete. Her family immediately responded by taking the Confederation to court and won a last-second injunction that would allow her to skate in the girls’ regional. Then in a bizarre move, on the day of the competition, the skating order was changed without notice and Joaquina was moved from her originally scheduled last slot of the round to the very first. Without any time to prepare physically and mentally, she had to go out and put on her performance. It did not go well. Joaquina fell four times throughout her routine and she started to cry as she attempted to push through and continue skating. According to her father, the abrupt and unexpected slot change combined with “people saying that you’ve not been accepted and [we] don’t want you to compete” put too much pressure on her and it showed in the results.

Losers: England and Sweden in Women’s World Cup

The battle for bronze is on the line between England and Sweden in today’s third place match. Sweden finds themselves in the third place match after pushing Netherlands into extra time during their semifinal. A goal in the 99th minute of extra time would be all that was needed to push the Netherlands through to the World Cup final. Sweden find their tournament journey nearly over, with a chance to medal for their country for the fourth time. England’s arrival to the third place match comes after a thrilling semifinal match against the United States. It was a game the Lionesses lost, 2-1, but the game held opportunity for them to carve their path to the final. Unfortunately, a missed late game penalty kick was the difference between potential extra time and a loss. No strangers to a third place match, England won the World Cup bronze in the 2015.

Winner: Esera Tuaolo is “Polly Lava”

Former NFL player Esera Tuaolo, a former contestant on The Voice, enjoyed dressing in women’s clothes as a kid growing up in a Pentecostal family. It’s something he talked about in his memoir but has otherwise buried for his entire adult life. This summer he’s bringing his inner child out of the closet for audiences in his new one-man show at the Pilgrim House in Provincetown, with laughs and vulnerability in tow. “It was one of those closets I shut a long time ago, trying on my sisters’ clothes and trying on their makeup and then getting beaten by my brothers and cousins for doing it. Last year coming here to Provincetown and seeing the culture, it was so incredible that I had an idea to bring that character back out.” The character that’s emerged is Polly Lava, who harkens back to his roots in Hawaii. In addition to introducing the audience to Polly Lava and giving a tour of his life, Tuaolo also shares in his show a fun football 101 tutorial with pictures of athletes he played with and others who just might be on the audience’s “wish list.” There’s comedy, music and even some sing-alongs. “We all have something where we wish we could be somebody else or try something,” he said. “For me it’s letting go of that masculinity and being vulnerable to the sensitive side of me. It doesn’t make me less of a man, it doesn’t make me more of a man, it just opens me up to be free and be happy.”

That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram,tweet at us, message us via any social media, or just plain email us at outsports@gmail.com Thanks!


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