"That's so gay." As an educator, I combatted the use of this phrase so often in the classroom that the other kids knew my response and would sometimes say it before I did, correcting the other students. Well if you've said, "the high five – that's so gay," I wouldn't correct you, because it's true.
In a recent post from 3tags.org called "The Origins Of The High Five, And Its Inventor – An Unsung Gay Pioneer," I learned a great deal about a simple and worldly understood gesture.
In 1977, Glenn Burke, a rookie outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, lifted his arm high above his head and slapped palms with his teammate Dusty Baker to celebrate a milestone home run, marking what is widely regarded as the first documented instance of a high five.
But perhaps even more fascinating than the high five’s impromptu, exuberant birth is the story of its inventor: MLB’s first openly gay player. The extraordinary story of a largely unsung pioneer, The High Five revisits Burke’s life, a man who quietly challenged traditional notions of masculinity decades before lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes in professional sports became headline news. – 3tags.org
We're blessed to have this video below. So much love and respect was given to Glenn by these men. We wish the whole league was like them. My how things would have been different.
In a NYTimes.com story posted in July of 2014 "M.L.B. To Recognize Glenn Burke As Baseball's Gay Pioneer,"
Glenn Burke was 27 when he walked out on Major League Baseball, his promising career as an outfielder undone mostly by the burden of being a semicloseted gay man. It was 1980, and it was more important, Burke later explained, to be himself than to be a professional baseball player.
“It’s harder to be gay in sports than anywhere else, except maybe president,” Burke said in 1982, when he came out publicly in an Inside Sports magazine article. “Baseball is probably the hardest sport of all.”
More than three decades later, and nearly 20 years after Burke’s death, Major League Baseball still has not had an active player publicly disclose that he is gay. There probably are several gay men currently playing, but the sport awaits its Robbie Rogers, its Jason Collins, its Michael Sam.
In the meantime, Major League Baseball is trying to ease the way for those surely to come. As part of a concerted effort to demonstrate an atmosphere of tolerance and inclusion, the league invited Burke’s family to Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis — its first official recognition of Burke’s early role in a movement just now gaining traction across the sports landscape. – NYTimes.com
Next time you give that high five or see it happening … now you know.