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Well until today, the only state on my boycott list was Utah (for obvious reasons). I’ve now added Arizona.

I cannot believe the extremists were able to get an immigration law passed that allows  police to enforce immigration laws and stop people, using “reasonable suspicion,” for being illegal. Now, I was a cop and have a criminolgy degree and I cannot define what characteristics would describe someone being illegal, and allow a stop, can you? This is racial profiling at its worst.

I am glad I am not dark skinned.

Further, the Constitution does not allow states to enforce federal laws. Does not matter if the feds have failed at their duties, states cannot enforce immigration. Period.

Lastly, it is well known that most illegals are already afraid of the police. This will be the nail in the coffin of the chances that illegals will call or cooperate with police in any way ever again. In Arizona and get robbed in front of an illegal? Don’t expect help. You will not get it. Police and prosecutors looking and needing witnesses to convict a murderer? Forget it.

We have soldiers fighting for us overseas that were born here, and are therefore citizens. However, they have family members that are not. Should we arrest and deport Mom and Dad while Son or Daughter is in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is a subject for another day, but it has happened.

What happens when the state arrests people for being illegal and the feds refuse to take them? It will happen as this country does not have the means to arrest, jail, process and deport every illegal. It is simply not possible with current fiscal constraints and infrastructure.

Oh, get this. This law just passed today. Type in “boycott” in google and the first suggestion that apears before you hit the enter key is “boycott Arizona.”

Washington Post
By Sir Elton John
Sunday, April 25, 2010; B01

Dear Ryan,

Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured.

When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know.

When the media heralded you as an “innocent victim” because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.

When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life.

Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it.

Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society.

Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives.

It breaks my heart that you are not one of them. You were 18 when you died, and you would be 38 this year, if only the current treatments existed when you were sick. I think about this every day, because America needs your message of compassion as never before.

Ryan, when you were alive, your story sparked a national conversation about AIDS. But despite all the progress in the past 20 years, the dialogue has waned. I know you would be trying to revive it if you were here today, when the epidemic continues to strike nearly every demographic group, with more than 50,000 new infections in the United States each year. I know you would be loudly calling for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy that was promised by President Obama but has not yet been delivered. I know you would reach out to young people. I know you would work tirelessly to help everyone suffering from HIV, including those who live on the margins of society.

It would sadden you that today, in certain parts of the United States, some poor people with AIDS are still placed on waiting lists to receive treatment. It would anger you that your government is still not doing enough to help vulnerable people with HIV and populations that are at high risk of contracting the virus, including sexually active teenagers. It would upset you that AIDS is a leading cause of death among African Americans.

It would frustrate you that even though hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive Americans are receiving treatment in your name, more than 200,000 don’t know their HIV-positive status, largely because of a lingering stigma surrounding the disease that prevents them from being tested. It would disappoint you that many teenagers do not have access to science-based HIV-prevention programs in school, at a time when half of new infections are believed to be among people under 25.

I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You’ve been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I’m still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought.

Your friend,

Elton

Sir Elton John, a Grammy- and Academy Award-winning artist, is the founder and chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Trike Mike

My friend from high school, Michael, scored a sweet gig over the next several months. He has been chosen as a contractor to ride a photographing tricycle for google street maps. Below is video with him and a google spokeswoman explaining what he does. Here’s to having the courage to step out and try a new adventure!

One more step, albeit small, towards equality.

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post staff writer
Thursday, April 15, 2010; 8:08 PM

President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.

The president ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. The memo is scheduled to be made public Friday morning, according to an administration official and another source familiar with the White House decision.

An official said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.

The decision injects the president squarely into the debate over gay marriage by attempting to end the common practice by many hospitals of insisting that only family members by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients.

Gay activists have argued for years that recognizing gay marriages would ease the emotional pain associated with not being able to visit their partners during a health crisis.

By contrast, opponents of gay marriage have said the visitation issue is a red herring, and have argued that advocates want to provide special rights for gays and lesbians that others do not have.

The memorandum from Obama to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, made public late Thursday night, orders new rules that would ensure hospitals “respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.”

Obama says the new rules should require that hospitals not deny visitation privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay,” Obama says in the memo.

Affected, he said, are “gay and lesbian American who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”

Obama’s actions are the latest attempt by his administration to slowly advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly supported his presidential campaign.

In his first 15 months in office, Obama has hailed the passage of hate crime legislation and hosted the first gay pride day celebration at the White House. Last month, Obama’s top military and defense officials testified before Congress in favor of getting rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

But the moves have been too slow for some in the gay community, who have urged the president to champion their causes head-on. One prominent gay blogger, John Aravosis, wrote last October that Obama’s “track record on keeping his gay promises has been fairly abominable.”

Another Hypocrite Busted

I love these stories. It is hard for all of us to come out yet these people act holier than thou until they are forced into coming out. Karma is a bitch.

Roy Ashburn, California State Senator, Says He’s Gay After DUI Arrest

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn said Monday he is gay, ending days of speculation that began after his arrest last week for investigation of driving under the influence.

Ashburn, who consistently voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in the state Legislature, came out in an interview with KERN radio in Bakersfield, the area he represents.

Ashburn said he felt compelled to address rumors that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his DUI arrest.

“I am gay … those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long,” Ashburn told conservative talk show host Inga Barks.

The 55-year-old father of four said he had tried to keep his personal life separate from his professional life until his March 3 arrest.

“When I crossed the line and broke the law and put people at risk, that’s different, and I do owe people an explanation,” he said.

Ashburn was arrested after he was spotted driving erratically near the Capitol, according to the California Highway Patrol. Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman from the Sacramento County district attorney’s office, said a breath test showed the senator’s blood-alcohol level was .14 percent, or .06 points above the legal limit.

The next day, reports surfaced that Ashburn had left Faces, a gay nightclub, with an unidentified man in the passenger seat of his Senate-owned vehicle.

“The best way to handle that is to be truthful and to say to my constituents and all who care that I am gay,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s something that has affected, nor will it affect, how I do my job.”

Ashburn had been on personal leave since his arrest, but attended Monday’s brief Senate session, where he avoided the media. Fellow lawmakers greeted him warmly, and he received pats on the back and hugs from some Republicans and Democrats.

Ashburn has voted against a number of gay rights measures, including efforts to expand anti-discrimination laws and recognize out-of-state gay marriages. Last year, he opposed a bill to establish a day of recognition to honor slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Equality California, a group that advocates for expanded gay rights and other issues, has consistently given Ashburn a zero rating on its scorecard.

The group’s executive director, Geoff Kors, said Monday that he hopes the senator’s revelation will lead him to change his voting patterns.

“He’s still the same person, only living more honestly,” Kors said. “I hope his own self-awareness will result in him no longer voting to deny people the most basic rights.”

Ashburn said his votes reflected the way constituents in his district wanted him to vote, not necessarily his own views.

“I felt my duty – and I still feel this way – is to represent my constituents, not my own point of view, not my own internal conflict,” he told Barks.

Ashburn said he planned to continue voting on behalf of what he sees as the majority viewpoint in his district, which includes parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties.

Former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, an openly gay Democrat who was visiting the Capitol Monday, said she hopes Ashburn receives support, not condemnation, from his friends, family and constituents.

“It’s very painful,” she said of the coming-out process. “And mostly it’s painful because you think everyone will be against you.”

In the radio interview, Ashburn said he is drawing on his Christian faith, and he asked people to pray for him.

He said he does not plan to run for any public office after his term ends this year.

Gay Marriage Legal in DC

Never thought I’d see the day so soon. Congress decided it was better not to get involved and the courts have (so far) thrown out every suit against the law.

More here.

Very good read. Worth your time.

By John Buccigross
ESPN.com

“I hope the day comes, and soon, when this is not a story.” — Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke


Imagine this.

Well before you are born, your dad plays college hockey at Providence College and wears the “C” for Friars coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello. Your dad is then a member of the Calder Cup-winning Maine Mariners AHL team. He admits to having little skill, but contributes rough and tough qualities. You know, like pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. He’s a man, baby.

Dad is also driven. And smart. He quickly retires from pro hockey. He knows he will make the NHL only with his brain and mental brawn. He earns a law degree from Harvard in 1981, then practices law in Boston for the next six years, representing professional hockey players before joining the Vancouver Canucks in 1987 as vice president and director of hockey operations. He has made the NHL. You are born a year later in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 1988.

Dad is GM of the Hartford Whalers for a season as a 37-year-old before joining the NHL front office as senior vice president and director of hockey operations under commissioner Gary Bettman in September 1993, staying until 1998. Dad and Mom divorce in 1995, and, as a 9-year old, you move to Boston with Mom in 1997.

Dad then begins a six-year stint on the other side of the continent as president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. Meanwhile, you play hockey while growing up in the Boston area, and you are a goalie. You love Dominik Hasek and still believe he is the best of all time. Dad tries to see you play whenever he can. Goalie is a comfortable position for you on the ice, looking out and hiding behind a mask.

You eventually attend Xaverian Brothers High School, a prep school in Westwood, Mass., and make the competitive varsity hockey team as a senior, but choose not to play. You say it is because you don’t think you would get enough playing time and you are upset at the coach. But you actually don’t play because you don’t think you can go another season without someone finding out your secret.

Your hockey career is over.


“Middle school and early high school is the first time I remember thinking that I could be gay, but I definitely tried to ignore it and didn’t want to seriously consider it. It’s pretty easy to try and convince yourself that it’s not true, but it won’t work, ever.” — Brendan Burke

Brendan Burke
Brendan Burke, standing by the Stanley Cup, after his father won it all with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

You go on to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, after your guidance counselor recommends the school. Miami is well known for being academically challenging and having one of the more visually idyllic campuses in the country. It doesn’t disappoint. The brick buildings and brand-new hockey rink make the small town feel like what college should feel like. Like an old Hollywood movie set. Ohio is a friendly place with warm people who smile a lot and like to get together in groups and laugh. You fit right in. You’ve made a great decision.

You especially enjoy the Miami hockey program constructed by coach Enrico Blasi. You are involved as a student manager. Blasi demands his program and its culture be grounded in family. He calls it the Miami hockey brotherhood. The mission is to be the best one can be every day with a vision to become a champion in everything one does, on and off the ice. Miami’s focus is on three things: relationships, daily behaviors and accountability. You watch and break down the pre-scout videos. You also keep most of the goalie statistics and prepare all the best clips for highlight videos.

While you’re at Miami, Dad is now in Southern California as executive vice president and general manager for Anaheim and the Ducks win it all in 2007. You drink out of the Stanley Cup with Pops in the Anaheim dressing room. You love your father, you’re proud of him, but you are hiding something from him that you will soon hide no more.

In 2008, Dad is chosen as general manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic hockey team and named a recipient of the 2008 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. His résumé is relentless. Today, Dad runs the most profitable NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and is, without question, one of hockey’s more magnetic and interesting characters along with Don Cherry and Alex Ovechkin. Dad televises well.

So, imagine, this is your father. You? Probably destined to be “Burkie’s boy” in Canada even if you resurrected George Harrison and John Lennon and reunited The Beatles. Imagine.


“Brendan is an incredible kid. He and I are incredibly close, even for brothers. In most families, the older brother overshadows the younger brother, but not ours. We went to the same high school and people there still refer to me as “Brendan’s brother.”

He’s exceptionally smart, funny, motivated, successful and happy. He has an incredible way with people.

There’s a genuine kindness about him that really resonates with people. It’s a gift I’m very jealous of.” — Patrick Burke, Brendan’s brother, now a scout with the Philadelphia Flyers

Your dad thinks through everything. Dad is big, confident and continuously radiates a persona that is rough, gruff, unrelenting and unapologetic. He has a cold, expressionless poker face straight out of a Clint Eastwood movie. Yet, he does this all with the most subtle of Irish smirks that says there is more behind this thick skin. And there is. He calls you “Moose” because you have always been a big kid. He cares very deeply about you and your happiness. You say he has always been there when you needed him. And he has a great sense of humor. Imagine that.

But on this night in 2007, you are petrified of your dad. Because you, Brendan Burke, at 19 years old, are about to tell your dad, Mr. Testosterone, that you are gay.

Brian Burke
Said Maple Leafs and U.S. Olympic team GM Brian Burke: ‘I wish this burden would fall on someone else’s shoulders, not Brendan’s.’

It is Dec. 30, 2007, and you are in Vancouver with Dad for the holidays to break the news. His new family lives in Vancouver, and his Ducks are in town. You go to the Canucks-Ducks game, and, obviously, Dad is pretty emphatic about wanting to beat Vancouver, his former employer. You root like hell for the Ducks to win so he is in a good mood. But the Ducks lose 2-1. Of course, Daniel Sedin scores a goal against Anaheim, and his brother Henrik adds two assists to help beat Dad, the man who traded for the twins’ draft rights in 1999 while he was running the Canucks.

You almost don’t tell your dad and stepmom as a result of the loss. But you are flying back to Boston the next morning and you want to tell them in person. You feel as if you are going to throw up as you pace the hallways of their condominium. Just as your stepmom is about to go to bed, your younger sister, Molly, grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go and gives you a look that says, “You can do it. Get it done now. I’m here for you.”

Just a week before, your older sister, Katie, is the first family member you tell. You had targeted telling your family at Thanksgiving but got salmonella and spent the entire week in the hospital. So you push back your announcement to Christmas.

You are driving home from a family event in Marlboro, Mass., when you decide you want to say it during the car ride. Finally, after a 45-minute ride, you pass the city limits sign of Boston and you know you have to tell Katie. It is incredibly difficult, but your sister is very supportive. Of course she is, you tell yourself, she’s Katie. That same night, you tell Molly and your mom. Everyone is great. Mom tells you she isn’t surprised and had expected it from the time you were a little kid. Moms.

You tell your brother, Patrick, a day or two later. Patrick turns off the car blaring “The Hold Steady” CD, and you tell him as you are walking out to the car to bring in bags. Patrick, like Dad, never one to be fazed, says something along the lines of, “I love you. This doesn’t change anything. Now pick up that suitcase and bring it inside.”

But, now, telling your secret to Dad is another story. Molly’s reassuring hand guides you to the couch for the moment of truth. It’s time to tell Dad, a most public example of hockey machismo, that you are gay.

Finally, you say it. Awkwardly. You basically stumble along trying not to make it a big deal before just blurting out, “And I love you guys and wanted to tell you that I’m gay.”

There is a brief silence.

Dad is surprised when you tell him that you are gay. He never suspected at all.

Your stepmom speaks first: “OK, Brendan, that’s OK.” And gives you a reassuring smile. Then your dad says, “Of course, we still love you. This won’t change a thing.”

Your dad and stepmom both get up and hug you and say they love you. You and your dad then sit there alone for about 15 more minutes watching hockey. Your heart rate is still at a snow-shoveling level. You then hug Dad again, and you go to bed.

But now, questions arise:

1. What about Dad’s reaction the next day and beyond?

2. How will Miami react to a young, gay man working on the hockey team?

3. Can an openly gay man play or work for a hockey team?


“I had a million good reasons to love and admire Brendan. This news didn’t alter any of them.

I would prefer Brendan hadn’t decided to discuss this issue in this very public manner. There will be a great deal of reaction, and I fear a large portion will be negative. But this takes guts, and I admire Brendan greatly, and happily march arm in arm with him on this.

There are gay men in professional hockey. We would be fools to think otherwise. And it’s sad that they feel the need to conceal this. I understand why they do so, however.

Can a gay man advance in professional hockey? He can if he works for the Toronto Maple Leafs! Or for Miami University Hockey. God bless Rico Blasi! And I am certain these two organizations are not alone here.

I wish this burden would fall on someone else’s shoulders, not Brendan’s. Pioneers are often misunderstood and mistrusted. But since he wishes to blaze this trail, I stand beside him with an axe! I simply could not be more proud of Brendan than I am, and I love him as much as I admire him.” — Brian Burke

Reverse skate.

The real reason you choose not to play your senior year is because the atmosphere in the locker room gets progressively harder to deal with as you get older. Homophobic slurs become as commonplace as rolls of hockey tape. Pressure to hook up with girls gets more intense. You are really upset for a couple of months. Your mom later tells you she thought you were depressed. Back then, she keeps asking you if something is wrong, but you don’t want to talk about it with anyone.

You say gay slurs have a direct impact on gay people in the area where they are said. You sincerely believe the majority of people who use gay slurs don’t mean them to be offensive; they just don’t realize the words’ meaning and don’t think there might be a gay person sitting right next to them. Questions 2 and 3 cause you some concern.

Enrico Blasi
Miami coach Enrico Blasi said having Brendan Burke as part of his hockey team’s staff has been ‘a blessing.’

Miami, the No. 1-ranked team in college hockey right now, refers to itself as “The Brotherhood,” and Coach Blasi means it when he says it. You say the players on Miami hockey teams are truly unlike most hockey players you’ve met. It’s a group of genuine, intelligent, good guys. They don’t have to, but they make you feel like a part of the team. Their families treat you as if you are one of their sons.

As you start to become better friends with the players and coaches, it becomes more difficult to hide your true sexuality. You are developing genuine friendships with many, and it feels like a huge part of it is missing because you aren’t being honest with them. You feel, in some ways, as if you are disrespecting the Brotherhood philosophy Miami is based on.

The RedHawks take you with them to the NCAA regional tournament in Minnesota this past March, where they beat Minnesota-Duluth and Denver to advance to the Frozen Four for the first time in history.

As far as amazing life experiences go, being at the Frozen Four in Washington, D.C., is right up there with being in the locker room after the Ducks won the Cup. In between the first round and the Frozen Four, you tell one of the Miami players you are gay. Another player figures it out on the morning of the national championship game, and you have to pull him aside and tell him not to tell anyone before the game. You don’t want it to be a distraction. You ask him to wait 12 hours after the game; then he can tell whomever he wants.

After the heartbreaking overtime loss to Boston University, and mainly by word of mouth, your news gets around to the whole team. There isn’t a big emotional sit-down talk, although you do speak with some of the guys personally. The general response is “OK, Burkie’s gay. Who cares? Pass the beer nuts.”

About a week later, you approach your boss, the director of hockey operations for Miami, Nick Petraglia, and tell him. Then, a few days later, you tell Coach Blasi. You are pretty sure one of the players told them both in advance to give them a heads-up, but neither cares, and both are incredibly supportive.

Blasi says that having you as part of Miami’s program is a blessing and everyone is much more aware of what they say and how they say it. He says he is as guilty as anyone and everyone needs to be reminded that respect is not a label but something people earn by the way they live their life. Coach Blasi says you are a great student and an even better person. You say Coach Blasi is a great coach and an even better person.


“Brendan is a great guy, personable and caring. As student manager, he is involved in a lot of things for us — video, stats and community service, to name a few of his duties.

To my knowledge, there has been nothing negative [since he came out to us]. I think it goes along the lines that Brendan is part of our family. Everyone respects Brendan, and that’s all that really matters.

The players are awesome. They are very sensitive to language and how we talk in the locker room. Again, it goes back to our culture and working on relationships and behaviors.

[As far as whether a player could come out and be able to function like a normal college player], that’s a tough one and I don’t want to speak for any other program. As far as Miami is concerned, we are about the person. I believe we would be accepting and honestly not even think twice about it.

I think having Brendan as part of our program has been a blessing. We are much more aware of what you say and how we say it. I am guilty as anyone. We need to be reminded that respect is not a label, but something you earn by the way you live your life.” — Miami University hockey coach Enrico Blasi

The attitude across the team is pretty much the same: “Who cares?” or “I don’t understand why this is even an issue.” Players you don’t even expect to be supportive are. You say it is proof this kind of thing can happen in other places, too. You wish you could say that gay slurs have been banished from the Miami dressing room. It hasn’t happened yet, although serious progress has been made and one player in particular has made it a personal crusade.

But now that you are “out,” can you successfully pursue a job in hockey, specifically in the NHL, if that is a wish?

You are applying to law schools right now. Hockey management and politics are two things you care about the most, and a law degree is required for both, so it leaves the door open for either. You say you would be lying if you said you don’t think sexual orientation affects a job in pro hockey. You believe it would make some things more difficult. There are going to be people who aren’t comfortable knowing they are working with a gay person.


“He’s incredibly brave. He went back to our all-boys high school and gave a speech about the struggles gay teenagers go through and got a standing ovation from 200 kids who spend half their time insulting anyone different than them.

In so many ways, I look up to him for who he is and what he does.

Obviously, there are gay players in hockey right now, just no openly gay ones. And there are gay people in management, whether they’re scouts or front-office people or coaches. We just don’t have any openly gay ones right now. I think it will be a challenge for the first person that comes out, because they’ll be putting themselves under a microscope.

The scary thing for me is that it might be Brendan, if he chooses to go into hockey. I don’t think it’s fair the face of homosexuality in hockey should be a 20-year-old college kid, but Brendan is more than willing to be the guy, which awes me. I think it’s a matter of when, not if, players and management start coming out.” — Patrick Burke

At this point, you are still undecided about your career options. Although you think there definitely would be challenges to being openly gay and working in hockey, you also think hockey is ready for it. There has been a lot of discussion about when a current player will come out. You’ve always viewed most hockey fans as being very well educated and accepting of diversity. You say fans are much more focused on the on-ice product than on the sexual orientation of players or management, and you say hockey is too good to be dragged down by this.

Brendan Burke
Brendan says his family, including father Brian, has been completely supportive since he told them he was gay.

You believe that if an NHL player came out today, he would face a unique set of challenges but would generally be supported. He might face more verbal abuse from opposing fans, but you believe the overwhelming sentiment would be, “If he can play hockey, who cares?” That’s the perspective you’ve encountered at Miami. You say a good way to start would be for ex-NHL players who are gay to be more vocal and talk about their experiences and challenges.

Whatever happens in your life, whatever career path you choose, you know Dad is in your corner. His long shadow of a hockey résumé that once looked like a crutch might now prove to be just the thing you and others need — a powerful and eloquent voice shouting from the mountaintops.

This is far and away more than what you personally expected from your hockey-famous Dad as you prepared coming out to him. When people ask you about your dad’s reaction to your Vancouver sit-down, you initially say, “He’s been great, but I don’t think we’ll see him at any gay pride parades any time soon. But he has been really supportive.”

So, you are startled this past summer when you get a call from Dad saying, “Hey, Toronto Pride is this weekend, you should fly up.” So, sure enough, you fly up, and you and Dad go to the Toronto Pride Parade together.

If someone had told you before coming out that your dad, Brian Burke, would be attending a gay pride parade with you, you wouldn’t have believed it. You never suspected Dad would disown you or anything like that, but the way he has handled it and the way he talks about it now has, honestly, really moved you. He was a little awkward about it at first. Today, he doesn’t even think twice about it.

You want it known that he has been 100 percent supportive of you. It’s important to you that people know that even the president and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has a less than sunny public personality, has a gay son and is a firm supporter of gay rights.

Imagine that.

“Imagine if I was in the opposite situation, with a family that wouldn’t accept me, working for a sports team where I knew I couldn’t come out because I’d be fired or ostracized. People in that situation deserve to know that they can feel safe, that sports isn’t all homophobic and that there are plenty of people in sports who accept people for who they are.” — Brendan Burke

Eliot’s Note: Sadly, Brendan was killed in a car crash last week.

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