Letters to the editor

  • Wednesday December 7, 2011
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Gay softball commissioner responds

We deeply appreciate your coverage on the settlement of the lawsuit filed against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance by the National Center for Lesbian Rights calling into question the legality of limiting the participation of non-LGBT persons in the Gay Softball World Series ["Gay Softball World Series settles with bisexual players," blog post, November 28 and "Moving Forward," Jock Talk, December 1]. In response to the article we would like to reiterate NAGAAA's commitment to both welcoming and encouraging inclusion and diversity. It is one of our core values. It is also important to maintain both the spirit and welcoming culture LGBT athletes experience and enjoy at the GSWS.

We continue to believe and the courts have upheld that we have the legal right to define our organization's participation. Fortunately, judgments in three key pre-trial motions have given iron-clad strength to right of self-governance, leaving only the question of the treatment of the protesters themselves during the protest process.

While clearly winning on the legal rights of our organization to operate within the parameters we ourselves define, the NAGAAA executive committee determined it to be in our organization's best interests to settle the non-legal claims raised by the plaintiffs and have therefore made the following concessions:

NAGAAA recognizes that the disqualification of the San Francisco D2 team was not consistent with our intention of being inclusive of bisexual players and conducting its Protest Hearings in a manner that does not cause undue offense; and

NAGAAA confirms that its records will be amended to reflect the participation of the plaintiffs and their team in the 2008 GSWS, including the results of all games played by D2, and that D2 is recognized as a second place winner, and will be awarded a second place trophy, for that series.

We are pleased the plaintiffs are satisfied and feel strongly that we as an organization have been vindicated. We are also pleased to be able to put this matter to rest, once and for all.

Roy Melani, Commissioner

North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance

Portland, Oregon

What's in a name?

In Seth Hemmelgarn's recent article, "World AIDS Day events offer time to remember" [November 24], he referred to the recent name change of the UCSF AIDS Health Project to the UCSF Alliance Health Project. Mr. Hemmelgarn focused his attention on the loss of the word "AIDS" from the name. He then went on to report that the reason for the name change has to do with AHP's expansion to include the broader mission of providing mental health and substance abuse services to the larger LGBTQ community.

While this is correct, I am writing to highlight what could have been missed by the reader: that while our name has changed and our mission has broadened, we will continue to provide the range of   HIV-related mental health and prevention services we have provided to the community over the past 27 years.

Rather than de-emphasizing our HIV work, our intent was to reflect our wish to build on our longstanding HIV-specific work while broadening our efforts to include the larger LGBTQ community.   We chose "Alliance" as our new name in part because it highlights the alliance between our staff and their clients, and also because it suggests a bringing together, an alliance, of these two communities �" LGBTQ people and people with HIV �" under a single roof.

We are pleased that the change also reflects another big change: our new name focuses on the solution and not on the problem.

James W. Dilley, MD

Executive Director, UCSF AIDS Health Project