Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two Sides of the Gay Divide



How's this for a list of charges?

Seven years for defending the rights of gays and lesbians.

Three years for being aware of homosexuality in your neighbourhood and failing to report it within 24 hours.

And the prize goes to...

Life imprisonment on anyone who “penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption.” The same penalty would apply if he or she even “touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”

I had no idea our penises fell into the category of "sexual contraption," but so be it.

Of course, you can't make up stuff like this. A hundred comedy writers trapped in a room off Sunset Boulevard with Sprite and nachos for three weeks couldn't top this.

It comes from the government of Uganda.

That's the smiling face of the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, one of the acknowledged great leaders of the modern world. But we just call him, "Yow!"

In contrast to all of that...

Let's instead cheer a man for whom we have had little use over the years.

This is what can happen when you don't really know someone and leap to conclusions based on public persona and media coverage and water cooler b.s.

I plead guilty in my previous assessment of Brian Burke, the hockey man.

Yesterday a good old friend sent me a powerful and moving article, written by John Buccigross for ESPN.

The story details how Burke's son, Brendan, has dealt with being gay. The young man is, like his dad, completely involved with the world of hockey. The story tells how he came out to various family members and then recently to his dad.

And how beautifully his dad reacted. And how honorably he has conducted himself since.

Turns out, Brian Burke is a mensch, a real mensch.

It is unlikely that the Burkes will be vacationing or playing hockey in Uganda soon.

That's Brendan Burke with the You Know What after the Ducks won it all in 2007.

5 comments:

Gavin said...

Reading the whole story is a must, very inspiring. It's very true that the media creates personalities and profiles of people that are unrealistic and don't reflect their true selves. Brian Burke is one of them. The same thing happens to movie stars, musicians, politicians and people in the public eye. Good luck to Brendan Burke in his pioneering odyssey.

Anonymous said...

David,

Thanks for introducing the great article and story. I completely support gay rights.

Unfortunately, there still are a lot of people struggling for being a gay and coming out. It's sad to see so many wonderful people like Brendan to have this kind of burden in their lives. I hope oneday people just think like this: Being a gay is being a gay, you don't have to be so great and so smart and intelligent or so, even you don't have to have a famous and testosterone father like Brian Burke. The point is you feel comfortable to be yourself and be a gay.

Jeff Taylor said...

I'm a hockey fan. Have been for years and years. I played also, for years and years. I've never really cared much for Brian Burke on a personality level. All that has now changed. This man stands by his beliefs and his son and nobody can fault him for that. Here in Toronto, Burke has been quoted as saying that if the people that organize the Pride events and parade ask him to march in the parade, he'll be there. Now that's guts and standing up for what he believes to be true. Too bad there isn't more men and woman like Brian Burke. 3 cheers, just don't beat the Canucks.

Norman Farrell said...

Some years ago, I edited a minor hockey newsletter. Having heard Burke give some interesting views on kids sport at a hockey convention, I wanted to convey his thoughts to our home association members. How to do it in unique way was the question.

I asked two teenage players to interview Burke and write a report about meeting him from their point of view. The young guys agreed but the Canucks' press office said no, that Mr. B. was too busy.

Days later, I got a call from Burke's assistant asking me to name a day for the meeting. I asked what changed. Her reply, "When Brian heard the request had been denied, he immediately said call them back. I want to do it."

Early one morning, Burke hosted the boys at his office, accompanied by their Mom and me. He was quiet and reassuring and made the young people as comfortable as he could - he knows his reputation - and said, "Ask me anything."

About half an hour later, Burke says, "Do you want a tour of the building? He didn't call for a flunky, he led the group himself, going in and out of everywhere in the rink. We laughed at the shower facilities in the former basketball player's dressing rooms. Seven footers need much higher plumbing fixtures than little guys.

I listened to all the positive things Burke says about kids in sport. He pisses off parents of 10 year old superstars because he says, forget about bodychecking and fighting, teach the kids the fine skills and love for the game. They will learn the rough stuff later.

In a number of dealings with him for minor hockey, I found Brian Burke to be a real gem. It doesn't surprise me that he's a great Dad too.

Gary L. said...

Norman's Post was very interesting. I don't know Mr. Burke, nor does he know me. I have always had a "knee jerk" reaction to the gentleman, the odd time that I have seen/heard him on the television. My quick to judge reaction was " I don't like that guy, he is bombastic, ego driven, and is no doubt annoyed by us unwashed".
Norman's Post is a reminder to self, don't judge a book by it's cover................
It was very enlightening.

Cheers