Pro Sports Can Help to ‘De-Normalize’ Sexual Violence

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson recently signed a huge five-year contract for $230 million, even though he faces 22 civil lawsuits from women alleging sexual assault and abuse.

Children and adolescents often identify strongly with their sports heroes, clinging to their every word on social media, wanting to play like them, dress like them, and act like them. For this reason, it is especially important that the male sports culture—one of the most influential bastions of patriarchal privilege—takes a bold and unflinching approach to star athletes who have perpetrated sexual violence. The powerful message this sends to kids and adults is that men’s sexual violence against women is not “normal,” and will not be tolerated.

This Was Never About Amber Heard

Wednesday’s verdict in the defamation trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard marks the end of the legal proceedings. But the impact of the case will reverberate. The court of public opinion handed a decisive victory to Depp early on, spotlighting huge cultural blindspots that extend far beyond Heard—whatever you may think of her. Until we reckon with these blindspots, ordinary credibility judgments will be distorted in ways that disadvantage everyday accusers.

Four Reasons Men’s Sports Are Not the Gold Standard

As women’s sports make progress (however slow), it is imperative to examine the crucial problems characteristic of the industry and decide what equality can look like. Is the male model of sports really the standard worth striving for?  What does a healthy sports culture look like and how can we foster that with the evolution of women’s sports?

Here are four reasons why men’s sports are not the gold standard—they’re the relic of a problematic past.

Here’s Why The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Won’t Work

I was 25 when I was finally ready to admit I wasn’t straight. I was lucky politics didn’t factor into my journey. It’s a luxury today’s students don’t have, between policies like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the Texas directive that orders state agencies to investigate gender-confirming care. Avoiding these topics won’t stop kids from being queer—it will just leave them feeling isolated. It will leave them closeted and at risk.

Pro-War Rhetoric Around Ukraine Perpetuates the Patriarchy and Plays Right Into Putin’s Hands

Watching cable news coverage of the tragic events in Ukraine, I hear again and again how brave the Ukrainian men who are staying to fight are. But we should be very careful about who we worship because fetishizing the masculinist and militarist response of war will hurt women and LGBTQ people for decades to come.

Putin is a madman, but his regime depends on these century-old notions of binary gender and “normal” sexuality. The way the U.S. mainstream media is covering the illegal invasion of Ukraine is doing similar cultural work.