Stop cross-dressing hazing of major league baseball rookies, urges LGBT org
An LGBT group is taking major league baseball to task. According to a report by TMZ, Athlete Ally, a nonprofit sports organization that supports LGBT, called on baseball teams like Oakland As, Miami Marlins, and Chicago Cubs to stop hazing rookies by cross-dressing them up in women’s clothing.
‘Mocking cross-dressing a dangerous message’
Hudson Taylor, the head of Athlete Ally, said the cross-dressing ritual is “designed not only to embarrass the players but also reinforces the message that men in women’s clothing are something to be mocked.”
“Requiring rookies to dress in feminine presenting clothing like wigs, dresses, and bikinis sends a strong and dangerous message that being a girl, woman, or feminine is somehow less than, and something to be mocked,” Taylor said.
“Regardless of intent, as long as professional athletes participate in hazing of this kind, they will be continuing to perpetuate a culture that isolates, excludes, and marginalizes the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and female athletes,” Taylor added.
With more than 130 pro athletes on its “ambassador” roster like Andy Roddick, Abby Wambach, Kenneth Faried, Martina Navratilova, Donte Stallworth, James Blake, Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe, Athlete Ally pushes for “allyship” in collegiate, professional, and Olympic sports to create more inclusive sports communities.
The organization defines an “Athlete Ally” as any person — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — who takes a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports. These include competitive and recreational athletes as well as coaches, parents, teachers, league officials, sports fans, other sports participants and advocates around the globe.
Likewise, Athlete Ally is a close partner of not only the MLB but also the NBA and the NBA Association, the NCAA, and the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. (Yogi Berra, who recently passed away, was also an Athlete Ally.)
Cross-dressing hazing part of MLB tradition
On the other hand, the MLB teams have a hazing tradition of getting rookies and second-year players go through a rite of passage at the end off the regular season. This hazing includes dressing them up in costumes– like women’s clothing– and parading them around.
This is usually held on a day their team is traveling to another ballpark, i.e. they must wear the outfit going to the airport, on the plane, and going to their next destination. As part of the ritual, the newbies must wear whatever is given to them, including cross-dressing.