Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jason Somerville

Four years ago I wrote this:

[S]ooner or later, inevitably, somebody that we all recognize from televised and/or online poker events (even if it's somebody who is not currently well known) will out himself. Every time this little curiosity has occurred to me, I've wondered how this incredibly macho, sexist, swaggering, "I am the MAN" poker world will react to the news. My guess is that there will be a lot of public quoting of the famous Seinfeld line (a la the title of this post), accompanied by a lot of quiet, private, nasty bashing. You can imagine the kind of things that will be written by the scads of anonymous contributors to the poker forums--those who can't make a comment about a female professional player that doesn't involve judging her attractiveness or lack thereof. I don't envy whoever it is who takes on (voluntarily or otherwise) the role of the first openly gay poker pro. I think it will be a difficult mantle to wear.
It appears that now we get to see if my predictions will come true with respect to Jason Somerville, who today publicly announced his sexual orientation.

(An unstated but obvious assumption in that old post was that I was referring to men. Since writing it, Vanessa Selbst burst on the tournament poker scene, apparently perfectly comfortable with everybody knowing that she has a live-in girlfriend. It's not like I didn't know that lesbians existed in the world, but my focus was on gay men, first, because there are so few women among the top tiers of the poker economy, and, second, because my impression is that gay women are less likely than gay men to elicit cruelty and bigotry from Neanderthal poker players.)

I hope my worst fears prove to have been wrong.


Grange95 said...

Gay rights tend to be a generational issue, so I'm not surprised a relative youngster was the first gay (male) bracelet winner to be openly out. Good for him.

PokerLawyer said...

What Grange said.

Way to go, Jason Somerville.

Gary said...

I dunno, man. This might be a statement of incredible naiveté but I think a lot of the reason that pro athletes are homophobic as a rule is that they are stupid. I was a sports reporter once, I've met baseball players by the hundreds, I know they're stupid. Poker players are smart for a living; I'd guess there'd be less homophobia in the poker community than elsewhere in society. At least I hope so.

Michael said...

Good for Jason, hopefully it is a non-issue, and generates no more press then his announcement.

(I should clarify that statement, my belief is that a person's sexual orientation is their choice and irrelevant for use other then to identify who they 'like' in casual conversation. So by generating no more press, my hope is that the community reacts positively.)

Goondingy said...

I've played with a lot of gay guys. I figured there were a few gay pros.
Without stating the obvious in the team sports world. I think it's easier to accept a gay poker pro next to a gay football player.
Does that statement make me a homophobe?
Gary says they are homophobic because they are stupid...how so?

Heck, I may be coming off as a lunchbox, sorry, if so.

Gary said...

I think that you have to be stupid to be homophobic because no intelligent person could justify homophobia as being anything but a position of ignorance and fear. I think smart people know better, or should.

This does not mean that no smart person is homophobic, nor that every stupid person is. Just that as a rule, smart people generally aren't homophobes, and poker players are generally really smart. That's all.

Anonymous said...

I thought Jason Lester was openly gay.

balt999 said...

As much as want to believe Jason Somerville coming out will be a non-issue...in the Macho, aggressive, cocky world of poker there will be whispers whenever he sits down...I'm sure Jason will be strong when he comes across the "assholes" who'll throw his sexual orientation when they lose a big pot to him..